Does the Bible say anything about hair length? Are men supposed to have short hair and women have long hair?

A dispute in the town of Corinth caused the apostle Paul to write directly to the church there about culture, authority, and rebellion.

In Corinth it was common for women, Christians and others, to show their submission to their husbands by wearing a veil. Those who did not were either pagan temple prostitutes or rebellious women. A woman who attended a Christian gathering, such as church, without a veil would be confusing at best, and dishonoring her husband and others at worst. A man wearing a veil was not culturally acceptable in Corinth.

Paul addresses the issue in his first letter to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 11:3–15. There he equates the veil with the naturally long hair of women. He writes that women who unveil themselves may as well shave their heads (verse 6). Men more naturally have shorter, thinner hair (and are much more prone to baldness), therefore it would be odd for a man to wear a veil or have long hair (verse 14).

Paul is urging the Corinthians to fit in with the culturally acceptable standards of male and female appearance.

Some read his letter and think hair length is his main point. The broader view is that Paul is saying women should look like women and men like men. God created two genders. Paul may also be counseling Christians to avoid rebelling against cultural norms just to show off our "Christian liberty" and that it matters how we present ourselves. He indicates that women should show honor to the male leadership of the church and men and women should not mix or confuse the God-ordained roles of men and women.

Today, in the West, few use veils or head coverings to show submission or gender. The heart-issue is our submission to the authority of God and how we show that to those around us by the way we present ourselves.


Related Truth:

Is physical appearance something Christians should care about?

Is it okay for a Christian man or woman to wear earrings?

Does the Bible say anything about cross-dressing / transvestitism? Is it sinful to cross-dress? Is it wrong to be a transvestite?

What is a man of God? How can I be one?

What is a woman of God? How can I be one?


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