We have four books which describe the life of Jesus Christ from His birth to His death and resurrection. All the four Gospels are silent about the physical appearance of Jesus. It won't take much words to describe the appearance of Jesus. At least some few words for His height, complexion, hair color, hair length, hair style, ugly or handsome, voice and body size will suffice.

Is there any explicit/implicit reason why the Gospels are silent on the physical appearance of Jesus Christ?

  • Do you consider Isaiah 53 to be a valid "Gospel"!account of his appearance? Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 11:39
  • "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart" from 1 Samuel Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 11:39
  • 4
    Because we're to walk by faith and not by sight!
    – hookenz
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 21:12
  • The only physical appearance of this male is that He would be Jewish, though which physical Jewish traits are not known.
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 15, 2013 at 0:44
  • He grew in wisdom and stature. Stature means physically fit, which He would have to have been as a day laborer. The mere mention of His occupation would have given anyone an idea of his appearance.
    – James Bush
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 1:54

4 Answers 4


The prophecy of Isaiah 53 asserts that Jesus would not have any extraordinary physical attributes.

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 NAS

Thus, this affirms that there was nothing extraordinary in His physical appearance, so He was not likely seven feet tall nor did He likely have the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As to why this was the case, the second of the Ten Commandments asserts that we are not to even make any images that could be used in worship. The lack of description of Jesus' appearance seems to have a preventative effect to this end.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them... Exodus 20:4-5a NAS


Appearance is hardly ever mentioned in the Bible, unless the person's appearance is unique, e.g. Goliath, King Saul, King Og, Samson, etc.

Maybe it's just not that important.

  • Welcome! Not bad for the first answer.
    – Mawia
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 12:34
  • Thanks. I might be new to the site, but I'm not new to the faith. Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 13:20
  • David was described as extremely handsome by Samuel; and, His half-sister eluded to it in her tirade against his underwear parade. Hardly mentioned doesn't describe David's looks at all.
    – James Bush
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 1:56

For Eastern Orthodox Christians (and, it seems to me, that for Catholics also) this question is not an issue: we consider Gospels equally with "Sacred Tradition". That means for us, that not everything what is known about Jesus Christ was written in Gospels, but was also represented in oral and iconographic tradition:

John 21:25 (KJV) And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

This Sacred Tradition includes iconographic description of Jesus appearance, given by

  1. Image of Edessa (Mandylion), which gives us the presentation of Jesus face
  2. Shroud of Turin, which gives us the photographic presentation of Jesus body and face

The some insulting allusion to JC’s physical appearance by a pre 220AD critic of Christianity Celsum in Origens ‘Contra Celsum’ along with a response from Origen with a cross reference by Origen himself to the Isaiah prophecy;


To the preceding remarks he adds the following: [ie Celsus says]

*"Since a divine Spirit inhabited the body (of Jesus), it must certainly have been different From that of other beings, in respect of grandeur, or beauty, or strength, or voice, or impressiveness, or persuasiveness. For it is impossible that He, to whom was imparted some divine quality beyond other beings, should not differ from others; whereas this person did not differ in any respect from another, but was, as they report, little, and ill-favoured, and ignoble."

[Origen responds]

Now it is evident by these words, that when Celsus wishes to bring a charge against Jesus, he adduces the sacred writings, as one who believed them to be writings apparently fitted to afford a handle for a charge against Him; but wherever, in the same writings, statements would appear to be made opposed to those charges which are adduced, he pretends not even to know them! There are, indeed, admitted to be recorded some statements respecting the body of Jesus having been "ill-favoured;" not, however, "ignoble," as has been stated, nor is there any certain evidence that he was "little." The language of Isaiah runs as follows………

ie that he may have been physically deformed himself in some way.

They may be a reference to that in the gospel material itself Luke 4:23 King James Version (KJV) 23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself:

  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites? Commented Dec 15, 2013 at 0:30

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