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Hair


This sounds rather a strange subject for an article. However it is worth remembering that Scripture covers a vast range of subjects and it would probably be right to say that it would be more difficult to find a subject that Scripture does not touch on than one that it does. It is also important to remember that if we fail to consider a subject that Scripture speaks of because we do not consider it important, then we may well be leaving a chink in our armour that the enemy can exploit.

The Scripture dealing most with the matter of hair is 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16, though it is touched on in other places.

As to men's hair (men in contrast to women) the only reference is in verse 14 where it says: “Man, if he have long hair, it is a dishonour to him". It is thus clear that the apostle did not normally expect men to let their hair grow long. In the Old Testament Nazarites let their hair grow for a certain time, the reason for which we will not go into now, but it may be noted that Samson had to keep his long hair as a lifetime thing. When he let it be cut it was a disaster for him (Judges 16). On the other hand Absalom's long hair apparently resulted in the loss of his life (2 Samuel 14:25-27; 18: 6-18). However, we are not required in this dispensation to become Nazarites in the literal sense and to perform the relative physical rites. There is no exhortation to do that sort of thing in the New Testament.

However, there is an interesting passage in Ezekiel in which the priests are instructed as to their hair: they were neither to shave it off and become what today would be called skinheads, or on the other hand to just let it grow. They were to poll their heads, that is, as we would say today: to have a haircut. The relevant passage is as follows:-


"Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long: they shall duly poll their heads." (Ezekiel 44:20).

Someone may say that this was Old Testament priests, but we must remember that we are "a kingly priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9) and therefore the standards required of the priests in the Old Testament are much closer to those required of Christians today than the standards that were required of the common people (consider the matter of marriage to a divorcee in Ezekiel 44:22, and compare this with what Christ says in Luke 16:18).

To sum this up, a Christian man should neither go around on the one hand with a bald head or on the other with female length hair. Of course a man may have a bald head due to disease or age and this he may have to accept, but the Scripture deals with what is normal rather than with abnormalities. A man is to be distinguished from a woman. The idea of unisex is not of God. Man, for instance, is not to wear woman's clothing (Deuteronomy 22:5). It is not right to make abnormal cases an excuse for not following Scripture in normal cases.

As to women's hair we have it said in verse 15 of the chapter we are considering: "But woman, if she have long hair, [it is] glory to her; for the long hair is given [to her] in lieu of a veil". It is understood that usually a woman's hair grows longer than a man's. However some races do not grow long hair and no doubt because of this the passage contains an "if". Not all may have long hair. Some people have a defect which means that their hair does not grow much (I have known one such) and some people lose their hair for some reason such as a shock or as a result of medical treatment for an illness. However, because hair can be a glory we have it said in Song of Songs 7:5 -


"Thy head upon thee is like Carmel,
And the locks of thy head like purple;
The king is fettered by [thy] ringlets!"


However, the second part of the sentence we have been considering indicates that a veil is not required by a woman


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