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Is shaving your beard a sin?

Is shaving your beard a sin in the Bible?

Introduction

Some Bible verses have become the subject of debates among Christians.

Some of these verses touch on the issues of Christian men shaving their beards or leaving them untouched.

The famous Bible passage Leviticus 19:27 says, “You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.”

This verse has caused countless debates because many popular preachers across different Christian denominations shave their faces and even heads clean.

So, are they walking against God’s Word?

Does Leviticus 19:27 mean a different thing, or is it not addressed to Christians?

These are some of the questions this article will address.

Is shaving your beard a sin?Is shaving your beard a sin in the Bible

Context

It’s common for people to interpret the scripture out of context to suit their personal agenda or simply out of sheer ignorance.

For example, some Christians interpret Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” as God’s permission to do whatever they like, including cheating, hurting people, etc.

Leviticus 19:27 falls into the category of misinterpreted Bible verse.

To fully understand what that Bible verse addresses, it is crucial to start reading verses 29-28.

In verse 26, God warned the Israelites through Moses not to practice divination or soothsaying, which involved eating meat with the blood, shaving around the sides of the head and edges of the beards, and making cuttings in the flesh for the dead and tattooing marks on oneself (Leviticus 26-28).

Therefore, this command was issued to the Israelites, who had the intention of worshiping pagan gods and engaging in their rituals.

It appears that idol worshippers maintained certain haircuts and tampered with their beards in certain ways so they were distinguished from other people.

On the other hand, God wanted His chosen ones to be clearly different in appearance from those who practiced evil.

That was why the emphasis on physical appearance was a big deal in the Old Testament, so Christians would not be mistaken for pagans but stand out as God’s elects.

Old Testament Practiceis it a sin for a man to shave his legs

In Numbers 6:1-5, those who separate themselves to the Lord were instructed to refrain from cutting their hair, allowing it to grow uninterrupted until their period of separation was over.

Also, only the Levites were to shave clean, as stated in Numbers 8:5-7, to prepare for their role as priests.

Deuteronomy 21:10-13 outlines that if an Israelite took a captive woman as his wife, she was required to shave her head and remove all makeup, nail polish, and jewelry before becoming his wife.

According to Ezekiel 44:15-20, priests who served the people were not allowed to shave their heads.

All these and many other laws have been replaced by the new covenant Jesus brought. We are no longer bound by all these laws but by Christ’s blood and love (Hebrews 8:13).

Therefore, we are no longer justified by the countless laws given to Moses, including the shaving of the beards. Instead, they are “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)

READ MORE: Why don’t Catholics eat meat on Fridays?

God is interested in our hearts.what does the bible say about beards

Many stories and scriptures in the Bible emphasize God’s position about our appearances.

God is not after how we look physically.

Instead, He cares about our hearts.

When it was time to choose a new king of Israel after King Saul messed up by disobeying God, God told Samuel to not focus on physical features.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

According to Psalm 24:3–4, only those with clean hands and pure hearts can come into God’s presence.

So, while people tend to focus on people’s dress, hair, and beard styles, God is interested in the condition of their hearts.

However, we must dress decently as God’s Children. Our heads must be neatly shaved and beards well groomed.

We must cover ourselves well and be clean.

When Joseph was brought out of prison to be presented before Pharaoh, the Bible records that Joseph was shaved and given new clothing (Genesis 41:14).

Our appearance, whether we have beards or not, is instrumental in achieving success and accessing certain opportunities.

When cutting hair can be considered a sin.clean shaven in the bible

Shaving beards or cutting one’s hair might not be considered a sin because hair plays no role in one spiritual journey and relationship with God.

The style of hair worn cannot hinder one from entering heaven.

However, certain people are bound by the covenant to never cut their hair during the Old Testament.

These groups of people cutting or shaving hair might be considered an act of sin against God.

They are the Nazirites.

The Nazirite vow stipulates that no razor be used on the heads of some people God has called or who have chosen the Nazirite’s path.

The Nazirite vow can be lifelong, like in the case of Samson (Judges 13:5) and Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11).

It could be temporary, like in the case of the apostle Paul (Acts 18:18). 

God warned that no razor should touch Samson’s head as long as he is a Nazirite (Judges 13:2-5).

One unique thing about Samson was that God gave him supernatural strength.

This strength would remain as long as he maintained his Nazirite vow.

However, Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman who enticed and deceived him into disclosing his source of strength. She told his enemies, and his hair was cut off.

is it a sin to shave your beard christianity

The death of Samson.

Samson’s situation can be classified as sin because he blatantly flouted God’s rule of not shaving his hair and paid dearly for it.

His eyes were gouged out, and he was subjected to the manual labor of grinding grains in the enemy’s camp.

The reality of sin is that it attracts divine punishment. Samson’s own was instant.

Therefore, in this peculiar context, it can be said that cutting hair, including the beard, is a sin.

However, what does being a Nazirite mean to believers today?

We are no longer to show outward proof of our stand with God.

We are no longer expected to leave our hair fully grown and untouched like Samson or live in the wild like John Baptist. Instead, we must have a clean and holy life.

Our hearts must not be dedicated to God forever.

We must understand that our outward appearances are good and can be used to identify who we are, but we must know that God does not look at how hairy we are.

He is only interested in our temples being clean and habitable for Him because that is where He dwells.

Shaving of beards was a sign of mourning. is having a beard a sin

Many people in the Old Testament expressed pain, sorrow, and genuine repentance by shaving their hair and beards (Deuteronomy 21:12).

For example, in the book of Job, when Job received news of his great losses and afflictions, he tore his robe and shaved his head. 

“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.” (Job 1:20)

The prophet Jeremiah mentioned shaving the hair and beards as signs of mourning when declaring judgment upon Moab.

 “Every head is shaved and every beard cut off; every hand is slashed and every waist is covered with sackcloth” (Jeremiah 48:37).

In this case, shaving the beard has an entirely different meaning.

It represents a point of vulnerability in one’s life when nothing matters, including hair and beards, but to approach the throne of mercy the way they are to seek the face of the Lord for forgiveness and for Him to ease their burden. 

Can this be considered as a sin? No.

One must be willing to show remorse for their sin.

This shows that they are guilty and not pleased about their actions. However, guilt must lead to repentance.

That is what God is interested in. Joel 2:13 says, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” 

What does shaving beards mean today?what does the bible say about beards

Many people or believers adopt various beard styles for many reasons.

Some choose to shave or maintain a beard for personal expression and grooming preferences to feel comfortable and confident in their appearance.

Others grow or shave their beards as part of their gender identity or expression.

Irrespective of what we choose to do with our beards, we must understand that God sometimes does not care about some acts but the intention.

For example, eating is not a sin. But eating in the presence of the needy to mock them might be considered a sin.

This was one of the sins that led the rich man to hell in Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Therefore, are we styling our beards to rebel against our parents or the church?bible beard shaving

Or are we shaving or maintaining our beards to intentionally sexually provoke the opposite gender?

Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

 So, when you shave or trim your beards, seek to know what motivates you because God discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

We must be led by God’s Spirit and not fleshly desires.

The fleshly desire to look masculine based on society’s standard compels those naturally not blessed with beards to go the extra mile to get beards, including wearing artificial beards.

Those who prioritize irrelevant things like beards might struggle to please God because they will spend time and effort satisfying their cravings and desires (Romans 8:8).

It is a human’s flaw to love celebrities or famous people to the point they begin to idolize them.

They become like small gods in their eyes, influencing their lifestyles, including how they style their beards.

When what we do to our beards is motivated by our love for a man, then we must begin to consider what the Bible says about idolatry.

Our focus should be pleasing God and doing His will. 

READ MORE: Truth Revealed: Is God And Jesus The Same Person?

bible beard shaving

Shaving your beard is not a sin in Christianity.

No specific teaching in the Bible prohibits shaving one’s beard. However, some passages in the Old Testament mention the importance of beards in Jewish culture.

For example, in 2 Samuel 10:4-5, it describes how David’s envoys were humiliated when their beards were cut off by the Ammonites.

So much importance was attached to beards to the point that it caused embarrassment to David’s men when theirs were shaved.

These passages were directed toward the Israelites during a specific time and context and were not intended to be a universal law for all people at all times.

In the New Testament, there is no mention of the importance of beards, and therefore there is no reason to believe that shaving one’s beard is a sin.

Whether or not to shave one’s beard is a personal choice and not a matter of sin or righteousness.

It is essential to focus on the more significant aspects of the Christian faith, such as loving God and loving others, rather than getting caught up in minor details like facial hair.

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