Biblical Hair

What About Long Hair

What does the Bible teach about the length of hair

In the church, I attended our pastor had an office with an odd triangular-shaped closet. A few men decided that they should remove the closet to expand the size of the room. As they remove the outer wall, something terrible happened! See, our church was made of large, heavy stones, and the wall was holding a bean with two stories of stones. The beam drop into the room. Fortunately, by the grace of God, the building did not come down. A steel beam had to be put in place, and we had to apply for permits to finish the project. The moral of the story is do not remove walls until you know why they are there.

We often remove things from our religion without really knowing why we did it in the first place. Even the fact that I used the word religion will bother some people. American’s have come to despise religion; even Christians will say Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship. That is partially true and is told with good intentions, but it has also done damage. The reason I say this is because, without religion, churches become profane. When I say profane, I mean the opposite of holy.

Holy things

My wife was recently cleaning a Catholic church, and she saw a place where they had the holy water, and then right next to it were water bottles from the grocery store. She made a comment to me that how can that be holy water. Don’t think I am defending the Catholic church here less you let your mind wander from the topic. I explained to her that there is no such thing as holy water as in water from heaven. All water is H20.

And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

Numbers 5:17

Holy water is water that is set aside for particular use. That is what holiness is. I would love to keep going on holiness, but I only bring this up to lead into my topic. We have to understand that we need to honor things because they represent something special, and when we treat things special, God will honor them also. Just like we should observe the things that are special to others. This brings me to my topic.

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

1 Corinthians 11:1–2

Traditions are not bad.

The word ordinance can be translated as tradition. Paul wanted the church to keep the traditions that he gave to us. So we should, like the wall in the church, unless there is good reason to remove them. Traditions serve as material reminders of some spiritual principle. Baptism is one thing we still perform, as is communion. They are physical acts we do to affirm in ourselves and before others of something special. So what was the tradition that Paul wanted us to keep? He wanted us to have our heads honor the Lord. Instead of copying and pasting all the text here, please read it in your Bible or click here (1 Corinthians 11:1-16).

Paul had a very unique job as an Apostle. He had to take the scriptures, which was the Old Testament, and help the gentile church know how to apply them to their lives. So what Paul is dealing with here is not some cultural thing of his day; it is rooted in the way God created things. This is understood by verse fourteen. The understanding can be traced back to a vow of holiness in the Old Testament.

The vow of a Nazarite.

All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

Numbers 6:5

Notice two things in this verse. First, the person taking a vow to not cut their hair, and second, they are to be holy unto God. The reason for not cutting the hair was because they humbled themselves before God. To cover the head was to say I am not the head. God had given Adam a limited headship over the earth.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:28

Gender roles.

Paul uses this fundamental understanding of Genesis to establish what he is saying. God created man and then the woman for the man. Man is the glory of God, meaning we were to be His sherif over creation and a woman was his deputy. So Paul’s reason goes if the man covers his head, he is making a statement that he does not want this position. He is refusing to accept this role

This was actually played out in my lifetime. When I was young, the hippie movement was in full swing. Part of that movement was to have long hair, and the other part was not to be tied down to any responsibility: free sex, free drugs, and living off the land. So long hair in the hippie movement was precisely what Paul was addressing in his day. 

Conversely, the opposite is valid with the woman. Since the woman is an undersheriff or deputy, she is supposed to have long hair as a sign of submissiveness. I know women just hate to hear talk like this, but it is true. Paul knows that some women, even in his day, would have a problem with this. So he appeals to nature. He said, okay, you want to be in charge, then go ahead and shave all your hair off. He knew that the vast majority of women would not be willing to do that because it is in our nature; it is the way God created us. If the woman is not willing to be shaven, then that is a sign of this truth. 

I had long hair back in the ’70s and when I joined the US Air Force it came off as well as everyone else’s. As I sat in the chow hall and observed the men with the shaven heads who previously had long hair, I said I would never have long hair again because they all looked so manly. This is the heart of what Paul is speaking to about the angels.

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 11:10

The angels are very much living out their roles in heaven. When they look upon humans defying their roles, they are possibly perplexed or in sorrow for our disobedience. 

How long is long, and how short is too short?

This is where legalism comes into play. There are no exact rules for this, but there are rules in our hearts given by the Holy Spirit. Each of us knows when our hair is not the correct length for who we are. If someone has trouble telling your sex from the back of your head, it probably is not the right length or style. This is going to be a heart issue. If you are upset at what I have written, then there is already is an issue. You are not going to be concern about the length of your hair.

Remember, what makes something holy is how you treat it. If you don’t respect it, others will not, including God. If you don’t count having your hair as representing your God-given role, you are destroying walls that are holding up society. I hope this made some sense and that you gleaned something that will help you. Thanks for reading!

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