What does the Bible say about dying your hair?

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.

References:

  1. 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 []
  2. Ibid. []

91 thoughts on “What does the Bible say about dying your hair?

  1. Terrill

    We must be careful that we as Christians don’t get off into debate which is never ending. This site was started by a disagreement between a person and a particular church. There is no need for us to go and try to put out fires that are beyond us. Many will believe what they choose. Only the word of God and his Spirit can change someone not your personal interpretations. For there is no private interpretation. We have to walk peaceable with all men and not go on a bashing frenzy tearing down the people of God. These websites are vanity! Romans 1:28-29

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Terrill,

      If we follow your logic then your own comment is vanity :)

      This web site is just sharing an opinion, just like your comment was doing. The only difference is the length of opinion shared.

      I moderate all comments on this web site and keep the discussion civil. I actually don’t allow debates here, and I hold no enmity against the UPC.

      In Christ,
      Josh S.

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  2. cindy

    1 Peter 3:3
    Do not let your adorning be external the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear
    Matthew 5:36
    And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
    Deuteronomy 22:5
    “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
    1 Timothy 2:9
    Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire

    For me all of this tell us that dying and changing our appearance is sin

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  3. Nasarah

    To me, it all depends. In everything you do, do it to the glory of God. If there is something that will take away from his glory ( aka become a distraction) don’t do it. As Christians we have to be in the world and not of the world. We should always strive to have the appearance of Christ, so that someone can look at you and daddy, wow that person is different she doesn’t look like the world. You don’t want to carry yourself in such a way that when people hear That you’re a Christian, they think no way I would have never known. Also remember that you’re body is a temple. You wouldn’t go into a temple and destroy it would you? Nooo. So give or take what I am saying is that bright loud hair like purple and green although very pretty does not belong in your hair. If you are going to dye it, go for natural colors and try to use natural alternatives to dye.

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    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Nasarah, dying your hair green or purple doesn’t destroy it, so the analogy of not destroying the temple doesn’t really apply here :). Also, if we interpret having the “appearance of Christ” to mean dressing like him then we should all be wearing robes and sandals.

      The point is that there’s nothing in the Bible against dying your hair any color. If a person wants to dye their green or purple then they should go for it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

      In Christ,
      Josh

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  4. Angela

    When The Bible states in Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image”, the reference was not to the human form, but to a likeness. A resemblance. That may sound contradictory, but isn’t when you understand that God has no form. God is omnipresent which means He is everywhere at once. He is a Spirit. He robed Himself in flesh and BECAME a man. The human form simply houses His attributes.
    When you really begin to take a look at the scriptures and how God describes Himself, you’ll start to realize what was meant when He said, “Let us make man in our image.”
    God’s “image” is all that He is. His grace and mercy and goodness, righteousness, etc. His characteristics are His image.
    The definition of image is: A representation of the external form of a person or thing in art. Synonyms are likeness, resemblance. The word is also a simile or a metaphor and if used as a verb would be to make a representation of the external form.
    You have to keep in mind through this that God is a Spirit.
    The Hebrew from Genesis 1:26 is tselem. It is from an unused root meaning “to shade; a phantom-illusion, resemblance, hence, a representative figure.
    The definition of phantom is: Something seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.
    When you apply these definitions to God, you realize His image is not a human form….the human form is what holds the image!
    God created Adam and Eve in complete perfection, just as He is. He communed with them in the garden until sin entered. Once there was sin, there had to be atonement in order to commune with God without death. You see this in the cleansing ritual the priests had to go through in order to enter the Holy of Holies. If they were not clean, they would die.
    All of God’s qualities He housed in our human bodies. When the New Testament speaks of being conformed to the image of Christ….well, if we took that to read in a manner of outer appearance, ….it simply would not be possible. We have no picture of what Jesus looked like. :o)
    We move to Greek in the New Testament and the word there is eikon, which again means a likeness, profile, or representation. We are representatives of Christ! We represent the Kingdom of God!
    So when The Bible speaks of God’s image and being conformed to Christ’s image, it speaks of our inner man. How we are to conduct ourselves in this world.
    It is not speaking of not changing hair color or donning lipstick. It’s not referencing what we put on our bodies to clothe them. It is speaking of how we treat others. How we treat ourselves. Our reactions to the things of this world, etc.
    It is so important to “study to show THYSELF approved”. I think if more folks took that to heart, there would be such a unity in the Body of Christ!
    There are some issues that are not heaven or hell issues, and yet we are not unified because everyone thinks their particular interpretation is right and everyone should do it their way.
    There is one truth. That is God robed Himself in flesh and lived among us. He became the living sacrifice so that through Him we could have life more abundantly and eternal life with Him! So we could commune with Him just as Adam and Eve did before sin entered. That abundant life doesn’t start when we get to heaven! It’s NOW! Its the moment you give your life to Him!

    In Love,
    Angela

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  5. christine

    god wants you in you natural image. he mad us In his image therefore you don’t need to change anything about your self bc you at beautiful

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  6. ANDREW PETER

    Dying of hair is a sin even though it was not specifically condemn in the bible. The truth is that if u are trully born of christ Jesus, u will be filled with the spirit of God and the spirit of God would not allow u dye u hair because is a fake identity. Moreover, dying is of different colour, what would one said aboutsome people who dye their hair to either red colour or blue? etc… is good for someone to dye his or her hair to red? During the days of Jesus Christ on earth does He dye His Hair?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

    1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

      Andrew, the “Jesus didn’t do it, therefore it’s wrong” line of thinking doesn’t make a lot of sense if we follow it to its logical conclusion. Is it wrong to drive a car? Jesus never did it. Is it wrong to fly in an airplane? Jesus never did it. The list could go on and on. Just because Jesus didn’t do something doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to do.

      The idea that any true believer knows it’s wrong to die their hair is equally fallacious. Common sense tells us that there are many, many people who truly believe in Jesus who still dye their hair. Therefore, your claim is self defeating. You’re claiming that THEY don’t really believe because they don’t agree with you, and if they DID really believe then they would agree with you. They, on the other hand, could say that YOU must not really believe because if you did then you would agree with THEM. It’s circular logic, and it can go around and around.

      The test of a true believer is to examine the fruit of the Spirit–or lack thereof–in their lives. (I’m short on time right now so forgive me for not citing references, but I’ve dealt with that topic on other pages in this Web site. A search for “fruit of the Spirit” should help you find the applicable articles and comments.) If your claims are correct then we should be able to look at the life of every believer who dyes their hair and realize that they are not displaying the fruit of the Spirit. That claim is absurd. It fails the common sense reality test–a test that is given to us in the pages of Scripture.

      To answer your question about dying hair a different color, there’s nothing wrong with dying your hair blue or pink or purple or anything else.

      In Christ,
      Josh

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 9

      1. James

        Dyeing of hair is a form of fake identity. What does a true believer need from dying his or her hair? We are fearfully and wonderfully made IN THE IMAGE OF THE MOST HIGH. Dying of hair is worldly. Bible says, The grey hair represents wisdom. Why should an old man dye his hair? To look young or what? That does not change his age but iit shows how much you disappreciate God. Moreover, I have heard testimonies about dyeing of hair. It is simply worldly.

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        1. Josh (Site Admin) Post author

          James, there’s nothing in the Bible against dying your hair. Period. Being made in the image of God does not refer to our physical appearance. There’s no Scripture to backup the idea that dying our hair is “worldly”. The idea that gray hair represents wisdom does not mean that an elderly person has to have gray hair. (Proverbs also shouldn’t be interpreted as immutable laws anyway–after all, we all know people who have plenty of gray hair and no wisdom.)

          Point is, there’s no Scripture to backup anything that you wrote. You’re approaching it from the perspective of “dying your hair is wrong, so let me come up with some things that prove my view.” I’m approaching it from the perspective of, “Some people say dying your hair is wrong but is there any Scripture back their view up?” It’s easy to see that there aren’t any Scriptures against dying your hair. There are no Scriptures that even hint against it. It’s a non-issue Biblically.

          In Christ,
          Josh

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