The only relevant verse here is in 1 Corinthians:

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him . . . (1 Corinthians 11:14)

In first century Greece, long hair identified a man as a homosexual.

For example, in Juvenal’s Satires (8.112-131) he refers to a “long-haired catamite” in Corinth. So I think the hair-length here is based on the cultural implications and expectations. Some interesting and relevant discussion on sexual identity in Corinth is given in Sexual identity in Corinth

I tend to think the principles are still relevant, but the specific practices are probably based on local culture. Therefore, it depends on how long hair for men is seen in the culture in which you live. For example, in some parts of India, long hair identifies you with particular Hindu religious groups and is therefore best avoided for Christians. In our own western culture, long hair is not seen as an indication of your sexuality or religious beliefs, so this verse does not provide a compelling reason for Christian men to avoid long hair. On the other hand, it does suggest that we should avoid behaviours that are commonly associated with immorality.

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15 Responses to Does the Bible say men should not have long hair?

  1. Robin says:

    1 Corinthians 11:14 could have been just as easily translated with the opposite meaning.
    A scholar of Greek showed me. The greek words don’t come in the order they appear in english. When they translated to english they had to interpret the order based on which made sense to them.

    The Greeks and early Romans had long hair. Latter the Romans changed to the short hair custom they are well known for. Since then the custom has gone both ways.
    In the bible Man and womans hair was identified consistently with glory. In the 1 Corinthians passage Mans head is identified with Christ and so the logic follows Mans hair with Christ’s glory. The whole reason a womans head was to be covered was to cover the glory of the thinking of man. If she didn’t have hair then the covering was no longer needed.
    The Nazaritish vow too identifies the mans hair with glory to God.
    So when you look at the evidence there should be no doubt on the issue.
    Will people get in trouble for not understanding it. I very much doubt it. For one God looks not on the outward appearance. And for two more mention of it would have been made.

    • Rob J Hyndman says:

      It’s easy to claim a verse should have been translated some other way, but unless there is a mainstream English translation that supports the view, it is not a very convincing argument. Every (mainstream) translator who has looked at the passage has opted for something like what is quoted in the answer.

    • Guest says:

      A pastor I had is Greek…and he even stated that yes the translations are correct….

  2. Robin says:

    I don’t believe in democracy in that the majority are often wrong.
    If it can be equally translated the opposite technically and context supports it and doesn’t support the majority then the majority are clearly wrong.

    • Rob J Hyndman says:

      I wasn’t suggesting we go with the majority, only that you need at least ONE mainstream translation to justify your position. When you have NONE, the argument looks shaky.

      • Wade Burkett says:

        The word written is “Nature”. If we look to nature we find the opposite is true. Lions, /r*owspeacocks, horses. Hair grows naturally, it is unnatural to smolt steel into a pair of scissors, nothing else in nature does this. Many other sites use the Greek translation to mean “Culture” instead of the written word “Nature”. Saying Culture determined the length and “nature” means other than Nature. However, this defies Biblical inerrancy. A “Mistranslation”. The Majority of Christians freak when any new versions come out with translations other than they are used to. Seems Christians are all over on this one, and translate things to fit their beliefs. My hair grows naturally as God programmed it to. I have to go out of my way to cut it. Adam had no scissors in Eden.

  3. Robin says:

    I am interested in truth not looks. If every translator is biased by the translations they already have at hand to assume a particular translation without thought for the alternative. Then I can easily understand there error. They had no reason to question it as the current culture is a short hair culture. They didn’t make the connections to other biblical passages and look into history properly.

  4. Hans says:

    It would not make sense to translate it as long hair for men, because then it should be translated as short hair for women. It would follow that it would not make sense to say that a woman’s short hair is given to her for her glory. So the way that it is translated throughout the verses is the only logical way.

    • Robin Hughes says:

      ¬†Disagree.¬† It says she should shave it off or wear covering.¬† For him to have long hair makes perfect sense. For him to have short hair doesn’t fit the passage and the rest of scripture.

  5. Acharya Brahmananda says:

    Equating “catamite” with homosexuality is wrong. “Catamite” generally refers to the younger, often just-pubescent partner in a pederastic relationship (such as the sort spoken of in 1 Corinthians 6). These relationships were often between mentors and pupils, or other adult authority figures and their young male subjects. Equating this with consensual, loving homosexual relationships is not entirely accurate.

  6. I Corinthians 11:14 “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? If we read I Corinthians chapter 11. You can get all the answers to your questions…. But as a wise Bible scholar once quoted, “If the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it make nonsense.”

  7. And in response to Mr. Robin Hughes..The Bible does say that if she has her head shaved then she should wear a covering. This is still referring that a woman who is bald, or has her hair short is a shame!!!!!!

  8. GMAlonzo says:

    It says “Does not nature itself” nature meaning life lessons teach us. So its telling us something about i guess what happen with people with long hair, so i don’t think it applys to all, just something that happen with some folks. I think if a man has a long hair though, its a gift from GOD and it should never cut off unless its needed. I see people like Ice-t who had beautiful long hair and he cut it off because he’s a fan of Obama . sigh a very dumb reason. All i know if i had long hair, i would never cut it off. I think its beautiful how women and men have long flowing hair.

  9. john ferguson says:

    I think we have made a legalistic issue out of a cultural one. God did not make a mistake when he created a mans hair to grow out as well as a womans. What we have to be concerned with as Christians is what a particular way of dressing, wearing our hair, behaving may associate us with the sinful world. Long hair today is most recently, in North America any way, associated with the hippie movement of the 60’s. This movement represented a rebellion against God, country, establishment, etc., and is the reason most Christians today, at least those associated with that generation, are vehemently against men wearing long hair.

  10. Spiritnewsdaily says:

    Duck Dynasty. lol.

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