Be Careful About Judging a Man With Long Hair

By David J. Stewart | July 2017

1st Corinthians 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”

       Many people make the mistake of superficially reading a Bible verse, and then basing an entire doctrine or attitude upon that one verse lifted out of context. I agree with the following helpful information...

It is ALWAYS a shame for a man to have long hair?
1st Corinthians 11:14, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”

Many people see this verse and leave it at that. No exceptions. They judge all men with long hair. Period. However, let's take a look at some other Bible scriptures.

Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

Numbers 6
1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
3He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
4All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
5All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor 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.

So we see in Numbers 6 that there is a special holy vow that a man or woman can make with GOD, that they would not cut their hair, but let it grow long. We see this in Samson in Judges 13 and Samuel in 1 Samuel 1, that they were Nazarites from birth. But we see in Numbers that it does not have to be from birth, the person can make this vow any time in their life. You may say this is in the Old Testament. But notice the Apostle Paul took this vow!

Acts 18:18, “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.”

Numbers 6:13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

Acts 21:17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

It is clear that Paul AND 4 other men had the Nazarite vow in Acts 18 and 21.

It is clear that a man who has long hair due to a vow unto THE ALMIGHTY is not in sin. But what if he does not have a vow?

Notice that Paul never says that it is a sin. He only says that it is a shame. He never said that GOD said it was a shame or that this was thus saith THE LORD. Sometimes Paul, like other ministers, speak from their opinions concerning what they think is best for the local congregation. Notice in verse 2 that he said that this is his teaching and tradition. NOT thus saith THE LORD.

1 Corinthians 11:1 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.

The Greek word for ordinances in this verse is G3862 paradosis which means tradition. Paul was encouraging that particular congregation of that day and time to follow HIS TRADITION OR CUSTOM. Paul, although of Israelite blood and taught by a famous Jew, was still raised in the Roman culture, having been born in Tarsus. The culture of Rome was that men had short hair. In his opinion, men with short hair was the natural thing. But we must realize that in the Hebrew culture, men with long hair was considered a sign of strength, honor and wisdom. When the Hebrews looked at a man with long hair, they saw a man of GOD. There are NOT any other verses in the entire Bible that teaches that men should have short hair. THE ALMIGHTY never told anyone to proclaim long hair as a sin. We should never make a doctrine based only upon one chapter. We must look at the entire Bible in order to make sure that we understand that verse correctly. We must look at the context and previous verses as well. Notice verse 16: But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such CUSTOM, neither the churches of God.

So we see in both verse 2 and again in verse 16 that Paul clarifies that this is NOT thus say THE LORD.

So what about 2 Timothy 3:16? All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Does this verse proclaim that EVERY word that Paul ever wrote was THE WORD OF GOD? No! Paul wrote this verse and we must also consider what else Paul wrote. Look at 1 Corinthians 7:6, “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”

So Paul himself said that some of his teachings were NOT THE LORD. Paul was a man of GOD. He was a minister ordained by THE ALMIGHTY. But he was NOT GOD. He was not perfect and he did not perfectly understand everything in all of eternity. Just like all human pastors, he had liberty to lead and direct the congregation the best he could including using personal judgments. Not everything was Thus Saith THE LORD. The Scriptures that Paul referred to in 2 Timothy 3:16 were the Scriptures that Timothy was raised with, the Greek Septuagint of the old testament. Paul was NOT referring to his own writings. Paul did not understand that his own writings would later be considered Scripture by others. The bottom line is that we do not have any scripture, that says that THE ALMIGHTY said, that men with long hair is a sin. In fact, we have just the opposite! Long hair on a man can at times be seen as Honor toward THE ALMIGHTY.

We should never judge any person based solely on the length of hair.


I say Amen to that! I agree with the preceding interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.

The Holy Bible teaches that it is a shame (dishonor) unto a man to have long hair, only if it is a reflection of a rebellious heart. Absalom (David's son) grew his hair long because of a rebellious heart against God. However, I grew my hair long years ago for a very different reason. I had the same reason Samson did, as a rebel for Christ (aka, a Nazarite vow). There's a big difference. Some of the best Christians had long hair, such as Jack Chick. Although he was confused on repentance, caught between grace and works, I DO sincerely believe that Jack was saved from reading his statement of faith on his website. Check out this cool photo of..

Evangelist Jack Chick With Long Hair

That long hair enabled Jack Chick to witness to a lot of people, whom he otherwise never would have been able to talk with. The average person is afraid of church people, and would feel very comfortable speaking with a Christian man with long hair.

Many of the founding fathers of America had long hair, honorable men, rebels for a noble cause. I have always thought it was far more of a shame the way some judgmental believers condemn a person for their outward appearance, while knowing nothing at all about the person's heart. It is a sin to judge (Romans 2:1-2; James 4:12). James 4:12, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” It is easy to judge from a distance. So be careful about judging others.

For several years in my own life, I let my hair grow long. I was right with God. Put that in your craw!!! I was witnessing for Christ. I cared about others. I wasn't a rebel against authority. I was a normal person. I just felt like letting my hair grow long for a time, to be a real person, not conforming to what others thought I should be. I wanted to be an INDIVIDUAL. I eventually became tired of the hassle of tangled long hair, such as when driving with the window down, and I went back to short hair.

David J. Stewart playing steel guitar at Ypao Beach Park on Guam

People are so quick to judge by the outward appearance, but only God can see the heart. Since only God can see a person's heart, we ought not form an opinion solely on outward appearance, since we don't know the whole story. I've never drank one drop of alcohol. I've never smoked one cigarette. I've never taken illegal drugs. I've never taken a toke on a joint of marijuana. I've lived a clean life. I'm far from perfect, to be sure, and I've made plenty of mistakes and sins, but I've never been a rebel against God or authority. I'm as real a person as you'll ever find. I have nothing to hide. I am what you see. If you want to judge me, then judge me, but I judge no man. I am the biggest sinner I know. 1st Corinthians 4:3, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.” I stand before the Lord, and He is my only Judge.

Philippians 2:2-3, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Just because a woman dresses like a prostitute doesn't mean that she is one (or maybe she is). Since we don't know, we shouldn't condemn her as an evildoer (other than that she dresses immodestly). I choose to always give people the benefit of the doubt.

Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) taught that men shouldn't even have beards, but the Lord Himself had a beard long enough for soldiers to rip it out (Isaiah 50:6). So I disagree with Dr. Rice on that issue. Beards on men are perfectly proper and acceptable. Some of the best charactered men that I've known had long hair. And I know short-haired pastors who are cowards and dishonorable. My point is that you can't judge a book by its cover.

Everyone has their own take on things. As Jesus said, let he who hath ears to hear, hear him hear. People can be such hypocrites. Dr. Hyles has often said that some of the worst Christians do the most for God. Redeemed sinners make the best Christians! I'll take a handful of long-haired men who love the Lord, but are flawed and rough, any day; than I will a bunch of arrogant, snobby, pious, Pharisaical religious men who condemn others for being different. 1st Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

To clarify, I think as a Biblical principle men ought to have short hair; but when a man does let his hair grow, for his own reasons, we ought to love him and not condemn him for being an individual. I had grown up under strict religious conditions, not allowed to have long hair. So as an adult I needed to find myself, and I did, and I like who I am. I feel comfortable with longer hair. That is my personality. But I keep it short now, for convenience sake. I wrote this article (knowing that some people who lack understanding will criticize me) so that others who are nonconformists can relate to me. I do not judge you. It is typical of sinful human nature, how a Christian man with short-hair will harshly critique a man with long hair; yet the very same short-haired hypocrite will go home and treat his wife like garbage, fail to pay his bills on time, and be lazy on the job. We're all hypocrites when we judge anyone!

I do support Dr. Hyles' preaching that Jesus had short hair and so ought Christian men. I am simply saying that the Bible never calls it a “sin” to have long hair. So we should never look down upon, condemn or shun a man for the length of his hair. Samson was a man of God, despite his sinful ways and flaws, and he had long hair. God would never tell a man to do something that is sinful. I think Evangelist Jack Chick looked sharp in his long white hair. It tells me that Mr. Chick was a real person, not a conformist, an individual, and I admire that about him tremendously. Let him who hath ears to hear, hear what I say. Romans 14:22, “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.”

We'll come much closer to making an eternal difference in people's lives, if we'll love people unconditionally with God's love, instead of nitpicking their flaws, faults and differences. The Holy Bible does condemn gluttony as a sin. It is interesting how believers will quickly condemn a man for having long hair, which the Bible doesn't call a sin; but they'll overlook being a 250 pound glutton, obese by all established medical standards. So be careful about judging others, which is all I am saying. Dr. Hyles is so right... If church members would spend as much time soul-winning, as they do criticizing, we'd save the nation.

ABOVE: Cartoon Evangelist Jack Chick. I do believe that Jack Chick was saved, but I also disagree with his emphasis on being willing to turn from sin to be saved. I like his long white hair. That is one thing I loved about Jack Chick, he was what sincere black people call “real people!”

Why There's A Hell (MP3 sermon by Pastor Danny Castle)

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8

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