Have you ever stood next to a really tall person and worked up the nerve to ask them how tall they are? People are fascinated by height, so it makes sense to wonder, “How tall was Jesus?” The quick answer to this question is, “No one knows.” There is no mention of Jesus’ height in Scriptures.
Most scholars think Jesus was of average height for his generation. If Jesus’ appearance was remarkable in any way, the writers of the Gospels would have commented on it. For instance, the Gospel of Luke describes a tax collector named Zacchaeus as short.
“Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like. But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree.” (Luke 19:3-4, CEV)
If Jesus was taller than the average people in the crowd, Zacchaeus would have been able to see him above everyone else.
In the Old Testament, the future king Saul is described as good-looking and tall.
“Kish had a son named Saul, who was better looking and more than a head taller than anyone else in all Israel.” (1 Samuel 9:2, CEV)
In 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath was described as a giant who was six cubits and a span tall, this translates into over nine feet tall.
What Does Research Say about How Tall Jesus Was?
Though the authors of the Bible didn’t record Jesus’ height in cubits or centimeters, that hasn’t stopped Bible scholars and scientists from researching the question, “How tall was Jesus?”
Joan Taylor, a professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at Kings College London, wrote a book called What Did Jesus Look Like? She explained in her book “rather than towering over others in Judea, Jesus was about 5 foot 5 inches (1.7 meters) tall, or the average height seen in skeletal remains from males there at the time.”
British and Israeli forensic anthropologists also addressed this question in their research. Forensic anthropologists used archeological and anatomical science to simulate what Jesus would look like by using an Israeli skull dating back to the 1st Century. They estimated that Jesus would have stood 5’ 1” and weighed 110 pounds.
What Does the Resurrection Have to Do with Jesus’ Height?
Neither forensic anthropologists nor Biblical scholars have been able to determine Jesus’ actual height because Christians believe Jesus was resurrected after being crucified and has ascended into heaven, so there is no remaining physical body to measure.
“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)
The Apostle Luke wrote about Jesus’ followers who visited the tomb after the crucifixion.
“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:2-5)
Christians believe that Jesus died by crucifixion and was buried in a tomb, which was covered with a large stone. Roman soldiers guarded the grave so that Christians would not take Jesus’s body. On the third day after the crucifixion, Jesus’ followers went to the tomb to carry out their burial tradition, but when they arrived at the tomb, the stone was rolled away, but the body wasn’t there. Following the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days (Acts 1:2) before ascending into heaven.
The first chapter of Acts describes Jesus’ ascension into heaven, he was “lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Many people have been curious about Jesus’ height. Though the Bible doesn’t mention his height, scholars and scientists estimate that Jesus’ height was about 5’1” to 5’5.” This estimate is based on average heights for men during the 1st Century. However, these are just approximations that will never be proven true or false because Christians believe though Jesus died on the cross, he is alive and has ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God.
CNN.com, “From Science and Computers, a New Face of Jesus.” Jeordan Legon, 2002.
LiveScience.com, “What Did Jesus Really Look Like? New Study Redraws Holy Image.” Owen Jarus, 2018.
Penny Noyes, M.Ed. is the author of Embracing Change - Learning to Trust God from the Women of the Bible and two books about Hezekiah. You can follow Penny on her blog and on Instagram @pennynoyes.
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