Bible Question:

I have been wondering if there are any biblical references to Jesus' skin color. I have been taught that Jesus had skin the color of a penny and hair of wool. Is there any proof in the Bible?

Bible Answer:

Are there any biblical references to Jesus’ skin color? No! All of the Renaissance paintings, drawings, and movies about Jesus Christ cannot be trusted to accurately reveal what Jesus looked like. The reason is that the Bible does not give us a description, a hint, or any suggestion about the color of Jesus’ skin or hair. We are not told if he had long, short, braided, or curly hair. We do not know if Jesus had a beard or mustache.

Are there any biblical references to Jesus’ skin color?

Since Matthew 1:6, 16 and Luke 3:27 reveal that His parents were descendants of King David, we know that Jesus was a Jew by race. Romans 1:3 also states that He was a descendant of King David. That reveals His skin color was like the skin color of Jews today. Since the predominate skin color of Jews varies from olive to white, His skin color was most likely either olive or white. But, again we do not know Jesus’s precise skin color. We cannot be positively certain since the Bible does not describe it. What was the color of His hair? The Bible does not tell us.

Every reference to Jesus refers to Him as a male. When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, the angel told her that she would give birth to a son (Luke 1:31) and used pronouns such as “he.” Gabriel referred to Him as the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32) and the Son of God (Luke 1:35). So, He was a Jewish male.

The Bible provides no additional information about the visual appearance of Jesus Christ, except for the following statement in Isaiah 53.

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. Isaiah 53:2 (NASB)

Here we are told that Jesus was not especially attractive. He was not a handsome man. The paintings of Him are just guesses as to what He looked like. Are there any biblical references to Jesus’ skin color? No!

In contrast, Revelation 4: 2-11 describes the appearance of our God, Jesus Christ, since His ascension and return to His Father in heaven. His appearance now is as a blend of colors and His throne is surrounded by a rainbow. The description of God in Revelation 4 agrees with John 4:24 and 1 John 1:5 where God is described as spirit and light. In reality, God is a blend of color. God does not have a preference for one skin color over any other! God is not a respecter of skin color. Originally, He created one man and one woman. Every person is a descendant of the first parents. God is not a respecter of persons. Since we are commanded to be as holy as God (1 Peter 1:15-16), we should also not be respecters of people!

Suggested Links:

Searching For God
God's Great Passion
Vision of God
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