There is no physical description of Jesus Christ in the Bible. All current evidence and portrayals of his appearance are based on cultural settings, political settings and theological contexts.

The Ongoing Mystery of Jesus’s Face

For centuries, the most common image of Jesus Christ, at least in Western cultures, has been that of a bearded, fair-skinned man with long, wavy, light brown or blond hair and (often) blue eyes. But the Bible doesn’t describe Jesus physically, and all the evidence we do have indicates he probably looked very different from how he has long been portrayed.

What Does the Bible Say?

The Bible offers few clues about Christ’s physical appearance. Most of what we know about Jesus comes from the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. According to the Gospels, Jesus was a Jewish man born in Bethlehem and raised in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee (formerly Palestine, now northern Israel) during th… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

14 thoughts on “There is no physical description of Jesus Christ in the Bible. All current evidence and portrayals of his appearance are based on cultural settings, political settings and theological contexts.”

  1. TheUnspeakableh

    I believe that he was in one passage described as larger than the baby and he is also described as entering the temple at Jerusalem.

    Using these as an upper and lower bound we can say that he was small enough to fit through the doorframe of the temple and larger than a small baby. He is also specifically described as having feet, lips, and a cheek. So, we have some information.

  2. sgste

    Isaiah 53 tells us that nothing about his appearance was attractive… The idea I think being that he wasn’t popular because of his charisma or looks, but the words he said…

  3. Spdrjay

    My Mormon grandmother kept a portrait of Jesus on the wall where he had blondish hair and blue eyes.

    I grew up thinking that Jesus must be Swedish.

  4. Capable-Sock-7410

    The reason Jesus is white in western culture is because in during the renaissance artists used local models the same happened in Ethiopia, this is why in Ethiopian Tewahedo churches Jesus portrayed as black and in churches in Asia he is portrayed as Asian

  5. schaumkoenig

    I think it’s pretty safe to say he probably looked middle-eastern.

  6. CC_Zephyr

    False.

    “He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” – Isaiah 53:2

    We know he looked average, at best.

  7. uaPythonX

    I guess he should look…. Jewish?

  8. JanetSnakeholeKarate

    Personally, I think that he would look something like Jason Mantzoukas.

    How long til we get a sitcom where he plays Jesus in the modern world?

  9. NightOfTheHunter

    I remember reading a theory that makes sense to me: that, by the fact that Jesus had to be pointed out to the Roman soldiers by a kiss from Judas, we can assume he didn’t stand out in a crowd. Therefore, he must have been average looking for the time and place, making him about 5′ 1″ with dark complexion, short black hair, clean shaven.

  10. TywinDeVillena

    The fact that Judas had to clearly point him out is an indication that he was unremarkable in his appearance. Otherwise, Judas could have simply told the authorities that Jesus was the tall guy, the fat guy, the blond one, the redhead, the bloke with a scar on his cheek, or whatever.

  11. Zestyclose_Heart1

    I think it’s pretty safe to say he probably looked middle-eastern.

  12. MonstroParrandero

    There’s a description of him by John in the book of revelation.

  13. foreverunknown20

    To all those using this post as a means to disregard each other’s religious beliefs, y’all are missing the point. I do not consider myself to be in any position to deny or approve the existence of a 2000 year old religion.

    The point here, however, is the impact of dominant cultures in shaping historical narratives. Due to political and cultural influence, our historical perspective (religious or not) heavily relies on who were the superpowers of that time. These cultures have shaped the way we think of the world, exerting their soft powers in the process.

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