I was very surprised about a year ago to find out that at least some UPC churches teach against people dying their hair. I do not recall ever hearing anyone preach against people dying their hair until about a year ago, but since then I have come into contact with other people who have heard the same thing preached. It seems to be a fairly common doctrine in UPC churches, even though I cannot find any official UPC position about it.
Since it does seem to be such a common doctrine, I have decided to write a brief article on it.
The first time that I heard anyone preach against people dying their hair was when my last UPC pastor mentioned it in during a church service. He used Mat 5:36 as his argument, which says: "Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black" (Mat 5:36 KJV). Now it is obvious to any casual reader that Jesus is not speaking against people dying their hair. He is saying that people do not have the ability to turn their hair from white to black or from black to white. That is all that He is saying, and nothing more.
I do not know what arguments other UPC pastors use to preach against people dying their hair, but I do know that there is no Scripture in the Bible that says that people should not dye their hair.
Of course, some people might think that the reason the Bible does not say anything about it is because people did not dye their hair during Biblical times. It is a mistake to think that, however, because dying and highlighting the hair was quite common during Paul’s day. Nelson’s Bible Manners and Customs has this to say:
Paul…would have noticed that many men had blond hair. A few of them could have been slaves from Germany, but Italian Roman citizens should have had dark hair. Puzzled, on inquiry he might have found out that a considerable number of men dyed their hair because blond hair was fashionable. He would have seen some brown tints too1.
Of course, just because the Bible does not explicitly teach against something does not make it right. The Bible does not say anything against abortion, even though abortion and the killing of unwanted or deformed children was very common in the Roman Empire2. Just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that you shouldn’t have an abortion does not mean that it is alright to do so. However, the fact that the Bible says nothing for or against women dying their hair–whereas it does say something against murder, by implication making abortion and the killing of newborn children unacceptable–leads me to believe that God has no problem with women or men dying or highlighting their hair.
- Nelson’s Bible Manners and Customs: How the People of the Bible Really Lived, "Rome and Italy in the Career of Paul," ed. Howard F. Vos [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]