What The Bible Really Says About Beards

For many people around the globe, their religion informs much of how they live their daily lives, from what they eat or don't eat, even to how they wear their hair, including (for men at least) their facial hair. For example, as the American Civil Liberties Union notes, for men who practice the Sikh religion, having a beard is not an option, as it's mandatory. Similarly, a U.S. Army soldier convinced his superiors to allow him to wear a beard because he practiced an ancient Norse form of paganism that required him to sport facial hair, according to Army Times.

Many religious groups whose dogma is informed, in whole or in part, by the Bible (or parts of it) also wear their facial hair according to their faith. Some sects of Judaism, for example, require men to wear beards, as do some Muslims, and even some Christians (the Amish in particular).

However, some of the Bible's teachings about facial hair and head hair are actually rather vague, and in the cases when they're specific, they only apply to certain situations.

The Bible mentions hair in a couple of places

The Old Testament is actually rather clear about beards: They're basically required. As Christian question-and-answer website Got Questions noted, for priests, having a beard was mandatory, and for non-priestly men, to be beardless was considered a disgrace, as noted in 2 Samuel 10. Citing these verses and similar ones, many Jewish men still sport beards to this day, according to My Jewish Learning.

Of course, for Christians, the Bible doesn't end with the last verse of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the teachings on hair are largely limited to instructions about hair care for men vs. women. Specifically, 1 Corinthians 11 instructs women not to shave their heads, calling a woman's hair her "glory." Further, the same chapter encourages men to keep to "masculine" hairstyles and women to keep to "feminine" ones. Further, Got Questions noted that these passages offer the readers quite a bit of flexibility and that the readers' culture must be taken into account.