Scriptural to trim nose hair?

Scriptural to trim nose hair?

Here is another parody of JW reasoning written by Subir Kaunds and published here with his permission. Thank you so much!


Is it scriptural to trim nose hair?

A Christian is governed by conscience. And some Christians may feel, in the absence of any specific prohibition in the Bible, that trimming nose hair does not go against their conscience. But is that the correct view?

Since we hold the scripture as our unfailing guide, we want to be “full grown in our powers of understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:20), and understand “the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

To understand the issue under discussion, three things have to be taken into consideration. The meaning of ‘nose’ in the scriptures; the figurative use of ‘hair’; and scriptural principles that have a bearing on the matter.

First the nose or nostrils.

When God created Adam, he proceeded to “blow into his nostrils the breath [form of nesha·mah’ in Hebrew] of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) This “breath of life” not only filled the lungs with air but also imparted to the body the life-force that is sustained by breathing. The breath being drawn into the body through the nostrils is essential to life; it sustains the life-force. At the Flood, “everything in which the breath of the force of life was active in its nostrils, namely, all that were on the dry ground, died.” (Genesis 7:22).

The Hebrew word for nose or nostrils (´aph) is frequently used to refer to the entire face. Adam was sentenced to earn his livelihood from the ground ‘in the sweat of his face [literally, “nose” or “nostrils”].’ (Gensis 3:19) Lot bowed down with his face (nose) to the ground before the visiting angels.(Genesis) 19:1.1

So it is clear from the above that when the Bible speaks of the nose it actually refers to the entire face and that the nose is the fundamental organ that keep us alive since it is the genesis of the life-force. Keeping this point in mind we now have to see what the word ‘hair’ means in scripture.

One may be forgiven for thinking that all hair in the human body is the same. It is the same as saying that the toes are the same as the fingers (both being digits) or that the elbow is the same as the knee (both being joints) or that the scalp is the same as the soles of the feet (both being skin).

The hairs of the head, facial hair and pubic hair though fundamentally the same in substance, have different textures and uses. This dissimilarity becomes more pronounced when we consider the other hairs on the body like those which are found in our ear or inside the nostrils. About the hair in our ears consider the following information that appear in The Awake magazine issue of January 22, 1990 (published by the Watchtower Society).

“[In one of the walls in the inner ear known as] the basilar membrane, is the highly sensitive organ of Corti, named after Alfonso Corti, who in 1851 discovered this true center of hearing. Its key part consists of rows of sensory hair cells, some 15,000 or more. From these hair cells, thousands of nerve fibers carry information about the frequency, intensity, and timbre of the sound to the brain, where the sensation of hearing occurs… thus sound of a specific frequency produces waves that flex the basilar membrane at a specific spot, causing the hair cells there to react and send signals to the brain. The location of hair cells would correspond to the frequency, and the number of hair cells triggered would correspond to the intensity.”

In the light of this scientific fact can we conclude that the hairs inside the ear are the same as those on the head?2 A ear specialist would laugh at the suggestion. The same is the case with hair inside the nose. Consider the following facts:

“The olfactory area is located in the upper part of the nasal cavity, where the olfactory nerves terminate in hairlike endings; also fine endings of the trigeminal nerve are found in this area. The sense of smell in humans is very acute. According to an article in the Scientific American (February 1964, p. 42): “The sense of smell obviously is a chemical sense, and its sensitivity is proverbial; to a chemist the ability of the nose to sort out and characterize substances is almost beyond belief. It deals with complex compounds that might take a chemist months to analyze in the laboratory; the nose identifies them instantly, even in an amount so small (as little as a ten-millionth of a gram) that the most sensitive modern laboratory instruments often cannot detect the substance, let alone analyze and label it.” The nose also plays a large part in taste. There are four primary tastes: sweet, salt, sour, and bitter. These the taste buds in the mouth recognize. But much of the flavor in food is enjoyed because of the sense of smell. For example, a person whose nostrils are stopped up finds difficulty in distinguishing between two kinds of food, as most things then taste more or less flat. 1

These facts prove that the hairs in the ears and in the nose are actually nerves and not hairs at all. Can you imagine pubic hair helping us to smell and taste? But nasal hair does. We smell and taste due to the “hairlike endings” which are actually nerves.

This is also proved by the fact that some of us may even find that bright sunlight is enough to cause sneezing. This is because the eye nerves are closely connected with the nerve endings in the nose. (Awake 90 6/8)

In fact nasal hair may also have a part to play in digestion. Awake of February 8, 1987 (page 30) had this to say: “According to Dr. Volker Schusdziarra from the University of Munich, peptides (chemical compounds) that control digestion and arouse feelings of hunger and satiety and that are normally found in the stomach and intestine have recently been detected not only in the brain but also in the nerve cells of the retina. The German medical magazine Zeitschrift für Allgemeinmedizin reports that new variations of these substances are discovered continually. It appears that they carry messages between the sensory organs (eyes, nose, tongue, and so forth), the brain, and the digestive system.”

To sum up, we see that the nose often refers to the face and nasal hair is not hair at all but nerves. Hence, trimming nasal hair is actually like cutting the nerves of ones face. In the light of this let us turn to the Bible to understand the scriptural principles.

Christians are aware of scriptures like 1 Corinthians 11:14: “Does not nature itself teach YOU that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him.” And Leviticus 19:27: “YOU must not cut YOUR sidelocks short around, and you must not destroy the extremity of your beard.” However these commands cannot be applied to nasal hair since we have seen that nasal hair is actually nerve.

However two scriptures have a bearing on the matter under discussion. God’s law to the Israelites stated: “YOU must not make cuts in your flesh.” (Leviticus 19:28). As we have seen trimming nasal hair is tantamount to cutting the nerves of one face.

Moreover wise King Solomon observed: “For the churning of milk is what brings forth butter, and the squeezing of the nose is what brings forth blood, and the squeezing out of anger is what brings forth quarreling.” (Proverbs 30: 33). Here tampering with the nose is equated with provocative wrath. Remember that the Bible repeatedly warns against wrath and anger (Colossians 3:6).

In view of the foregoing, mature Christians may take a dim view of trimming nasal hair. In fact trimming of such hair could only be allowed as part of an emergency surgical procedure. Cosmetic trimming of such hair may not be proper. The principle found at 1Timothy 2:9 would apply: “Not with styles of hair braiding.” Here it is the principle of avoiding cosmetic procedures that is important, rather than the type of hair. Also as Matthew 10:30 assures us: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Obviously the hair here is used figuratively and includes all hair not just on the head.

An important point to keep in mind is that God’s law prohibited certain ones from the assembly. We read at Leviticus 21:18, “In case there is any man in whom there is a defect, he may not come near: a man blind or lame or with his nose slit or with one member too long.” Since the scriptures show that trimming nose hair is like maiming the face one who indulges in such practices cannot be appointed to privileges in the congregation.


1 Insight on the Scriptures, vol ll, pg 509-510, (published by the Watchtower Society).

2 Hair on the head is also a marvelous product of intelligent design. Awake of August 22, 1989 (pg 31) reported: “Drugs such as cocaine and heroin, for example, will not be found in the urine even a few days after use. Yet these drugs will show up in a hair analysis months later. This is because drug residues remain embedded in the hair as it grows. Bernard Gropper of the National Institute of Justice observes: “Hair has the advantage of long-term memory. It’s a permanent record, like tree rings.” A three-inch [8 cm] strand of hair will give a six-month history, since head hair grows at a rate of about a half inch [1 cm] a month.”

And this passage from Awake of November 22, 1972: “Your hair actually can indicate the condition of your health. This is due to the fact that hair is one of the fastest growing tissues in the body, and any abnormalities in the chemistry of your body will show up in the growth structure of your hair. Some doctors are even beginning to think that it is possible to diagnose a person’s illnesses by examining a strand of hair.”

More JW humor


3 thoughts on “Scriptural to trim nose hair?

  1. Surely no one who calls themselves a Christian would ever condemn a woman with nose hair to letting it grow? That is just an awful thought; it’s bad enough for a man to have long straggly nose hair but for a woman (and many women have nose hair too) it would be both disfiguring and embarrassing.

    Furthermore, what is a woman with facial hair to do? Upper lip hair – do you suggest she allows herself to grow a moustache? Hair on her chin – grow a beard? Hair on the sides of her face – grow sideburns? Sorry, but any religion that says that it’s wrong to remove hair that is seen as ugly and totally unnecessary would have to be very weird indeed. And I don’t think Jesus himself would condemn any woman to a life as the bearded lady.

    You need to think a little bit more of what you’re saying, rather than making sweeping statements that come across as totally absurd. IMO, of course!

  2. Shirley, it’s just parody, satire – it imitates and exaggerates the style of argumentation with an absurd topic to draw attention to what’s wrong with that kind of line of thought. Having said that, though… maybe there’s not quite enough exaggeration. Sigh.

  3. Shirley take it too serious. I think nose hair cut is a must, if they’re popping out and everybody can see it in the first sight. Awww, what an embarassing and awkward moment.

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