Is it a Sin for a Man to Have Long Hair?

jesus had short hair

It is in the B-i-b-l-e.

In 1 Corinthians 11:14 the Bible says:

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

According to this verse:

  • It is a shame for a man to have long hair
  • That nature teaches us that a man having long hair is shameful

Most Evangelicals believe homosexuality is a sin, a sin against nature. The Bible says in Romans 1:26, 27:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

It is clear from Romans 1:26, 27 that when homosexuals engage in homosexual sexual activity they are going against nature. Preachers scream from the pulpit, homosexuality is an abomination. It is unnatural!

The word nature that appears in Romans 1:26,27 is the same Greek word that appears in 1 Corinthians 11:14. According to the Christian Bible, human nature tells us that homosexuality AND a man having long hair is a sin and unnatural.

Why is it Evangelicals are so fixated on homosexuality but rarely say a word about men having long hair? Both are against nature. Surely, they would not want to neglect preaching about what the Bible calls s-h-a-m-e-f-u-l.

The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, a subset of Evangelicalism, is not ashamed to preach against homosexuality AND long hair on men.

IFB pastor, Jack Hyles, wrote a booklet titled, Jesus Had Short Hair. Hyles wrote:

I Corinthians 11:14 says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The Greek word for “shame” in this verse is translated elsewhere in the New Testament as “dishonor,” “vile,” “disgrace.”

In Romans 1:26 the same word is translated “vile”, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” You will notice that these “vile affections” have to do with homosexuality.

It is very interesting that as the trend toward long hair increases, the acceptance of homosexuality increases. This is not to say that long hair and homosexuality always go together, but it is to note the fact that both are on the rise in our generation. Several of the major denominations have now accepted homosexuals. In some cities there are churches for homosexuals pastored by avowed homosexuals. At least one major denomination has ordained a homosexual preacher and others are considering following suit.

Answering the question, Did Jesus have long hair, Hyles wrote:

The paintings of Christ are simply artists’ conceptions and have no Scriptural authorization. At least one historian of His day described Him as being a tall man with chestnut-colored hair, parted in the middle, with short hair which turned up at the end.

In the book, THE MODERN STUDENT’S LIFE OF CHRIST by Irving Vollmer, published by Fleming H. Revell, the author says, “Archeologists object to the conventional pictures of Christ because they are not true to history.” A German painter, L. Fahrenkrog, says, “Christ certainly never wore a beard, and His hair was beyond a doubt a closely cut. For this we have historical proof.”

The oldest representations going back to the first Christian centuries and found chiefly in the catacombs of Rome all pictured Him without a beard. All the pictures of Christ down to the beginning of the first century and even later are of this kind. Students of the first century and of Roman history are aware of the fact that the time of Christ was characterized by short hair for men.

This author has seen many coins and statues which bear the likenesses of emperors who reigned during and after the time of Christ. Such likenesses reveal that the Caesars and other rulers and emperors had short hair, and of course, the subjects followed the example set by the emperor.

The plain simple truth is that during the life of Christ, short hair was the acceptable style. That Jesus wore the conventional style of His day is proved by the fact that Judas had to kiss Him to point Him out to the soldiers. Had Jesus been somewhat different, as a long-haired freak, Judas could have simply told the soldiers that Jesus was the One with the long hair. This, of course, is not true, as Judas had to place a kiss on Him in order to identify Him.

Answering the question, What should a Christian’s attitude be about long hair, Hyles wrote:

The only long haired person other than a Nazarite mentioned in the Bible was Absalom, a son of David. It was he who rebelled against his father. It was he who started a revolution. It is worth noting that even in Bible days rebellion, revolution, disobedience to parents, and long hair were associated.

Now what should the Christian’s attitude be concerning male hair styles? First, we men should follow the admonition of the Scripture and have short hair. It should be short enough as to be obviously contradictory to the revolutionary symbol. Many Christians allow their hair to become longer in an effort not to be identified as fundamental believers. Why shouldn’t a Christian be just as proud of his identity with the Word of God as the hippie is to identify himself with the revolution? Men, let us wear our short hair with pride as a symbol of our belief in the Bible and its Christ.

Parents, start your son with haircuts and short hair when he is a baby. With discipline and, if needs be, punishment, see to it that as he grows up he uses his hair as a symbol of patriotism and Christianity, thereby following the admonition of the Scripture that says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed (fashioned) to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Hyles’ booklet reflects the standard IFB thinking about long hair on men. As a youth in an IFB church, a student at an IFB college, and an IFB pastor for many years, I heard a lot of preaching against men having long hair. (ironically, I heard very little preaching about short hair on women, which the Bible also condemns)

IFB men are taught:

  • Long hair is a sign of rebellion against God
  • Long hair is effeminate
  • Long hair is worldly

What hair styles are considered godly?

  • Hair off the ear
  • Hair off the collar
  • Tapered, rather than block cut

The preaching against long hair on men finds its impetus in the rebellion against authority of the 1960’s and 1970’s. IFB preachers were alarmed that church youth were being drawn into the hippie culture. Preachers spent many a Sunday preaching against premarital sex, rock music, mini-skirts, drugs,  and yes, long hair.

Their preaching did little good.

Fast forward to today. Many IFB pastors still preach against premarital sex, rock music, mini-skirts, drugs, and long hair. And just like their bellowing father’s in the ministry, they find their preaching largely ignored.

IFB preachers who preach against long hair have a real problem on their hands when it comes to suggesting that long hair is a sign of rebellion against God. While some men still have long hair, many of the rebellious worldlings now have short hair or shave their head. This conundrum is what happens when a preacher determines what is Biblical or “godly” based on the whims and trends of culture.

Besides, how l-o-n-g is long? Where does the Bible state exactly how short or long a man’s hair should be? If long hair on a man is “against nature,” why were Nazarite priests forbidden to cut their hair in the Old Testament? Was their long hair a “shame,” against nature? Some of the most revered preachers of the past were men with long hair. Was their long hair a “shame,” against nature?

This whole subject might seem silly to many Christians and most non-Christians. But, let’s not forget, it IS in the B-I-B-L-E.

Notes

IFB preachers often use the same logic to preach against men having facial hair.

The Against Nature Christian Long Hair Hall of Fame

john wesley
John Wesley

charles spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

dl moody
DL Moody

george whitefield
George Whitefield

john bunyan
John Bunyan

jonathan edwards
Jonathan Edwards

Comments (33)

  1. Howie

    Hi Bruce – I always wondered about this passage myself. Do you know what the mainstream or more moderate evangelical response to this is. Do they say the Greek means something different, or do they use some other interpretive gymnastics to conclude that long hair isn’t a big deal?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Mainstream Christians tend to dismiss the passage based on its cultural context. It was applicable 2,000 years ago but not today. Of course, this hermeneutic leads to all kinds of problems. Perhaps Jesus is not applicable today? :) It seems to be an inconsistent way of looking at the Scripture but it is better than the Fundamentalist’s literalism.

      Reply
      1. Howie

        That does sound like a very problematic hermeneutic. This was one of the biggest problems I had while I was a Christian – not only did I find hermeneutics like this as well as the “it’s symbolism”, “they are being figurative”, or “it’s poetry” so incredibly subjective, but I found that there were just way too many different types of hermeneutic techniques that could be decided on being applied that I just ended up in a huge tizzy on trying to find out what was actually trying to be communicated in the Bible. Since I thought it was the “word of God” this was a terribly frustrating experience when I had such a strong desire to properly decipher the truth that was trying to be communicated.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Howie,

          Same here.

          I wanted to get it exactly right. A perfect God, a perfect book, surely my interpretation should be perfect too. After all, God was living inside of me.

          Bruce

          Reply
      2. Vivienne

        But you have a beard Bruce?

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          Please read http://brucegerencser.net/about/

          I do not think having long hair is a sin. In fact, I don’t think anything is a sin. I am an atheist,

          Yes, I have a beard.

          Reply
  2. NeverAgainV

    Love it!

    Reply
  3. Paula

    Love the pictures, especially of Wesley. I wish we had been more aware of them when my friends and I were teens!

    Seriously, someone needed to tell Jack Hyles that hair is too far down the list of the world’s serious problems to even register. Today, at age 61, I STILL feel the same outrage when I remember the snotty old coot voices talking about how they’d like to grab someone and cut his hair.

    As for going against nature, NATURE would have everyone, male or female, with hair like Crystal Gayle, and mens’ beards would be all the way down their chests. To get any kind of hair style of any length, or a hairless face, you have to go against nature. It’s called custom, or culture, not nature.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Correct. Of course, the problem is their literalism and their inability to see the Bible in its cultural context. Since the Bible is a “timeless” book, everything is still applicable today.

      Reply
  4. Scott

    Speaking of the evils of “rock and roll”, I miss the guys talking about the “back masking” where one could find secret satanic messages imbedded in records that you could find by playing the record backwards. As near as I can tell the CD did them in by not allowing them to play it backwards anymore. Or maybe it’s because we’re all possessed. Ah another bit of craziness done in by modern science and technology.

    Scott

    Reply
    1. Appalachian Agnostic

      I really got worried there for a while when the back masking craze was in full swing. One of my family members told me that one of my albums was on the suspect list. There had been a “lock in” at a local church where they talked about it. These days, the idea of a lock in is far more sinister to me than anything any rock artist has ever come up with.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ah yes, back masking. Heard Bob Larson preaching on the evils of backmasking. One Evangelist said the theme song to the Mr Ed show had a Satanic message when played backward. If I remember right, Petras actually did a Christian rock song with backmasking. Their way of poking fun at the idea. Some Christians find the devil under every rock. It is a terrible, fearful way to live.

      Reply
      1. Paula

        Bob Larson was a nut. He was like the McCarthy of sin. I heard him go into a rage about the song “That Old Black Magic” promoting witchcraft. Sigh.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          I heard Larson the first time in 1972. He is nothing more than a con-artist.

          Reply
  5. Dale

    I’ll bet there’s also research and biblical foundation that says Jesus wore a navy Brooks Brothers suit with a white oxford collar shirt, red power tie, and a neatly folded hanky. Further research will indicate he also wore an American flag lapel pin.

    Reply
    1. Angiep

      LOL, I love the imagery that conjures, especially the flag pin!!

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yes he did. :) Surely you learned this in Sunday School? :)

      Reply
  6. gimpi

    “The word nature that appears in Romans 1:26,27 is the same Greek word that appears in 1 Corinthians 11:14. According to the Christian Bible, human nature tells us that homosexuality AND a man having long hair is a sin and unnatural.”

    I hate to break it to them, but there is no natural difference between hair-length of men and women. Both have the hair on their heads grow at about the same rate. Men are much more subject to male-pattern baldness (thus the name) but hair-length is not naturally gendered. Oh, wait, that’s science. My bad, never mind.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      The whole hair thing was a reaction to the rebellion of the 60′s and 70′s. I heard countless sermons on long hair, mini-skirts, and rock music. I may have been a good Baptist boy, but I sure did enjoy the mini-skirts. :)

      Reply
  7. jabrown1216

    I remember our Junior High Boys Sunday School teacher would bring in coppies of ‘The Sword of the Lord”, puint to all the preachers photos and proclaim, “See, all of these fine men have short hair”.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ah yes, the Sword of the Lord. YOu mentioning this provoked me to ad Sword of the Lord to my list of future posts. :) Lots of Sword of the Lord memories.

      Reply
  8. Paula

    A lot of the same older conservative Christians who think beards, mustaches, and long hair on men are sinful, ALSO prefer fairly short hair on women. The women talk about long hair on women looking “messy”, “stringy” or say the woman is too “old” to wear her hair long.

    Could it be that the real problem is that all these things are secondary sexual characteristics and these people would prefer that they be obliterated?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Perhaps. I think all of us bring cultural, social, and environmental baggage into discussions about things like hair, tattoos, etc. As a 56 year old man I am quite a traditionalist. I would never think of getting my ear pierced or getting a tattoo. However, I have learned NOT to judge people who think differently. Two years ago, I tried to grow my hair long. I was fine with it until my hair started getting wavy and it flipped up in the back. I looked silly. Bald on top with long hair. :)

      Reply
  9. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    Did you have your beard back in your IFB days? If not, what do IFB people make of it now? Ah! I know. Satan got you,and made you grow it. (Smiley face)

    Their preoccupation with long hair and beards is simply preposterous. Surely, they have better things to do than preach against long hair and beards?

    Shalom,
    John Arthur

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I had a mustache in the 80′s. Many IFB preachers thought any facial hair was a sin. After I broke away from the IFB I grew a beard and I have had one for going on twenty plus years.

      Reply
  10. IFBfree

    I have always wondered what in nature teacheth that it is a shame for man to have long hair. Maybe it’s male-pattern baldness!! Someone told me that it was a reference to Absalom’s hair getting caught in a tree (2 Samuel 18:9). Oh, the lengths people go to try to make all the Bible fit together!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Come on. You know it perfectly fits together with no contradictions. :)

      Reply
  11. Beth Uncapher

    I’ve never understood that nature thing. If nature is teaching us something, that should mean that all we have to do is look at plants, animals, the earth itself, etc. and it should be clear, right? I can see plants and terra firma not being directly related, so let’s look at animals. Nope, I don’t see a lot of follicularly-challenged males in the animal kingdom, in fact if you observe some species we see the opposite-lion’s manes, anyone? So using the lion-king of the beasts, right?-as an example one could draw the conclusion that a MAN’S hair/mane is his glory.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Great points. The whole nature argument about hair is quite irrational.

      Reply
  12. -eivindOttarEivind Ottar Hanssen

    New International Version
    Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,

    Roles in Worship
    …13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.…

    But, the contradiction here is, if her hair is given to her for a covering, why does Paul keep arguing that she should cover up? He even says that if she doesnt cover up, she could cut all her hair of.

    So then I will argue that if a man have long hair, he isn`nt covered up already, since the women obviosly arent, even though thay HAVE long hair, Pauls says:” Still cover up!”

    From : http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/11-14.htm

    Doth not even nature itself teach you,…. By nature is either meant, the law and light of nature, reason in man, common sense, or rather custom, which is second nature; and which, in this case, must be restrained to the Greeks and Jews; for though among the Grecians the men cut their hair, and did not suffer it to grow long, as also did the Jews, yet there were many nations (k) who did not, even at that time, observe such a rule or custom; but as the Jews and Greeks were the persons chiefly, if not solely, known to the Corinthians, the apostle signifies, that the usages of these people might direct and inform them in this matter:

    I never undestood the reference to nature eiter. I am an Norwegian who are in a charismatic church and work as an journalist. I was having an interview with to catholic fathers/priest and asked them, because no- one in my own church has been able to share some light over the issue, What the catolic priests told me was that it was only the rich people in Israel that wore long hair. Somewhat they claimed that it was expensive to maintain long hair, How it could be expensive I don`t know.
    If nature shows us its a sin maybe its because it would get full of dust or dirt because of sand coming through the wind, and that it would be hard to keep it clean because of little access to water? And that we would look rather shady?

    What the priest ment, obviously, is that you would be assosiated with rich people, who had an upward-down attitude against poor peole or the averrage man, which would be a sin itself. And if you had long hair as an christian you would push poor people away from you automatically. A bit far fetch maybe. The catholich fathers/ priest also said taht at the same period in Italy it was only reach peole who could afford to get a hair cut, and the poor and the slaves had long hair. But I dont know, the slave owners could easyly have cut off the ponytale with a knife for free.

    Many refer to the Turin cloth of Jesus, and says that this shows he had long hair. I dont know what the Rabbi/Sadukee or Farisee lokk was at the time, except that they shouldnt cut the hair by the ears.

    What about Samson, his power was in his hair. God didn`t seem to have any problems with that.

    Me myself has long hair at the time, because I refuse to pay 80 bucks, yes you heard me righ. to get a hair cut in the wealty, overprized, high cost- country. And I believe in the spiritual gifts and the other day I put my hands on my neighbor who had a jumpers knee. He was instantly healed. Next day he came back and told me the he had muscular issues in his lower back. After I heldt my hand right on the spot for a minute or two his muscles started shaking, and he got healed. Now I se him running all the time with his dog. So does God have a problem me having long hair? I dont think so. He still choose to heal people through me.

    It`s so many other things that makes you holy and sacret to the Lord, and so many other things First of all you need to have a relationship to Him and get your sins washed away. And not just live after a christian church culture where a certain set of rules apply. You can struggle to keep alle the commands and rules through your hole life and do your best, but if you never repent and get you spirit alive in the Lord so you can have a relationship with Him, you aint gonna make it to heaven. Hard and brutal truth. He loves you despite of your failures, if you have gone home to Him, so to make a doctrine about if men ae allowed to have long or short hair is just plain stupid. Thats just my opinion. And its a rather harsh one, That said, to make a connection between men having long hair, and that being a sign of being homosexual, is even more far fetched. Not all homosexual men have long hair. Maybe they did when Jesus walked this earth, but then applying this concept to the Corinthians in Greece? Well maybe all the homosexual in Corinth wore long hair, I still dont know. Only ONE biblevers says that it`s a sin to have long hair, because of nature showing us that. No other verses gives me a chance to make an thesis about the issue. But I just don`t buy the translation, even though I DO beleve the hole bible to be true, buts something here smells fishy. And writing a book out of ONE biblevers and making a connection to the homosexual having long hair, and that what they are doing a sin, I understand. But the Bible does`nt say that. The bible says that having long hair is a sin. Because nature shows us that. The verse doesn`t mention homosexuals at all.

    Reply
  13. Rob

    Exactly how long is long, when it comes to hair? Say, didn’t God command that Samson should never cut his hair? Hmm.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Well according to the picture on your blog, your hair is too long, sinner. REPENT!! :)

      I am 56 years old, and quite bald on top. I wish I COULD grow my hair long, but alas those days are gone. In the days when I had a full head of bright red hair, I kept it cut according to the Baptist standard of the day.

      Reply
  14. o.m.

    Hello.i m very new at internetting. And don’t know if i should try and enter or type anything here. i don’t consider that i m anything or anybody. i m not. i ma sinner and a mess. a former extreme mess. but still a mess and still a sinner. but..i m a redeemed sinner. for this to God through Christ i am more than so very very extremely thankful. Being human,very human..and very unique due to birth disorder/defect and lifelong struggle with it-doesn’t make make me right necessarily at all i do acknowledge. i think that our problem begins when we forget..or dont remember who we are-and who God is. God does want the genders and those traits to be distinct and seperate. The Bible tells us in warning because of Gods love for us about these things. Imagine can you if a person is born in a male female body.Chromosome karyotype of xy-xx46. And has lived as an androgenous person as well as both a female and male distinctly seperately. Growing up in the old world world of Christianity of Amish etc.Living as a male i even kept my hair long.All the men had beards.Excuse me politely and respectfully but of course the Lord Jesus had a beard.As a semetic Hebrew and Jewish and Nazarite…His beard being also pulled out in the Bibles account in the text of some of the abuse and suffering and abuse He took on my account.This was also prophesied in the old testament that this would happen. And it did of course. i believe what is meant is that it is shameful for a male to have hair as long as or in a feminie way. genetically-yes absolutely there is a dramatic difference in the growth and hair growth length and cycle between male and female absolutely.both fortunately and unfortunately my hair grows fast thickly populated luxurious and extra long growth cycle.unfortuantely that when i lived as a male,which i did not want to-it was too hard of my will to cut it male. because of my will.and it it so female and beautiful if i dare say so and apologise to do so.Anyway. i have often been wrong. and a sinner. and it was in just one way of many that i did. i left the amish sime years ago now. i only rarely miss some things. only Christ saves by us being born again individually one by one.Personally. Christ saves. Religion can’t won’t hasn’t.never is going to. but religion divides.makes fights.blinds.decieves. that the difference between relationship with Holy God through Christ as the door ..versus religion. yes beards no beards longbhair short hair..it matters to God as a point of obedience to Him but its not a salvation issue. it is an issue of obedience to Him for those who are born again,obedience out of love and thanksgiving to Him remembering who HE is and who we are.please excuse my poor style of writing.and my poor use of internet and the english language..and typing mistakes that i tried but couldn’t correct. and yes like i said I’m a mess.and also a sinner.but thanks to Christ alone a redeemer sinner.yes I’m also a natural born redhead.and crasy.ha ha upon me. sincerely,o.m.
    i hope i filled this all out properly. I m sorry if not and thank you very much

    Reply

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