Neither Mar the Corners

In showing us how to live, God provides guidelines for our personal outward appearance: Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. (Le 19:27)

The Hebrew for round the corners seems to mean to shave the sides, and mar the corners seems to mean to disfigure the edges. Initial applications may have been related to hairstyles intended to honor pagan deities, or ways to express deep anguish or grief, as when mourning the deceased. (Le 21:1-5)

Similarly, in the same context God tells us: Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (Le 19:28)

The general principle suggests any voluntary self-mutilation or disfigurement of ourselves is a desecration of God’s workmanship (Ps 119:73), disrespectful to Him making us in His image. (Ge 9:6) As children of JEHOVAH (De 14:1), we should treat ourselves and each other with honor and respect (1Pe 2:17a), in both our appearance and conduct.

Further, our outside should reflect our inside: our physical appearance is how we first communicate and reveal ourselves and we shouldn’t send mixed messages; the initial impression we present to others should be consistent with who we are and what we represent. (2Co 5:20) We are the light of the world (Mt 5:14), and our physical appearance should align with this identity. (15-16)

So, to reflect who we are in God, we’re to maintain a clean (Ep 5:3), orderly (2Th 3:7), moderate (Php 4:5), sober (1Th 5:8) outward appearance; we ought not needlessly offend (2Co 6:3), distract (Co 3:17) or align ourselves with any unwholesomenesss or darkness. (Ep 5:11)

Further, we must also carefully avoid applying these principles governing outward appearance in a superficial manner, looking for arbitrary, extra-biblical ways to separate ourselves from the world. In the same way God doesn’t call us to believe differently from the world just for the sake of being different, He doesn’t call us to appear visibly different from the world as an end in itself: this would be divisive, a spirit of variance, unloving and therefore sinful. (Ga 5:20)

To the extent cultural norms are compatible with godliness, conforming helps us relate with others in community and set them at ease, which is consistent with loving our neighbors as ourselves. Yet when we’re tempted to emulate the world in ways which are inconsistent with holiness we should resist. (Ja 4:4)

articles    blog

4 thoughts on “Neither Mar the Corners”

  1. Brother Tim,
    My son Nathanael, & I appreciate the teaching, & instruction,(found on your site), that encourage us in our walk with Messiah. Thank You, for generously sharing. My son receives your emails,
    & shares with me.

    Our paths have crossed numerous times, (over many years), in various congregations, & home study groups. I believe the last was, in 2015. I doubt that you would remember us though.

    Is there a place of fellowship you would recommend currently, that is a home group setting in the Dallas area, or no ?

    May YAH Bless you continually, with Shalom,
    Le’Faye, & Nathanael

    1. Hi Le’Faye,

      I do remember both you and your son Nathanael very well.
      I hope Nathaniel is doing well, I recall him being very earnest, and then hearing that he was struggling with his faith.
      I am glad he is edified in the posts and is sharing them with you.

      I moved out of the Dallas area 6 years ago and currently reside in St. Augustine, FL. However, I have kept in touch with Rusty and Diane Acheson and have continued to go to Eitz Chaim whenever I am in town for the weekend, which had been multiple times per year until last April. That is the best place in the area I know of personally, and it is not home group style as far as I know. However, Rusty has been working on that and has been meeting with some young men from E.C. on occasion. I with I could tell you about more, but I don’t know of any great places to fellowship except the small fellowship I am in, which is amazing, but it is only 3 men, for now anyway.

      I do hope you can find something out there that suits you. I know how difficult it is to do so.


      1. Dear Brother Tim,

        Thank you for your kind, & considerate response. It is great to hear from you. We didn’t know you were in FL. ! Praise Abba, you have Brothers to fellowship with there.

        As for Nathanael, we ALL,” hear” things. Unfortunately, “Tares among the Wheat”, are not lacking. I am a close witness- as are others- to the fact, that he has remained solid in his faith in Messiah, & constantly amazes with the insights Abba shares with him, regardless of trials in this life. He is a prolific, eloquent writer , & entertaining speaker. Thankfully, he is strong in his convictions, which is a constant encouragement.

        We are indebted to Abba for the gifts He has endowed you with, that inspire us to,” Hold Fast”, to the precepts we find in HIS Word. Thank you for so willingly sharing your wisdom, & insights that Abba has imparted to you so liberally !

        We count ourselves BLESSED to share in the, “Fellowship of His Sufferings”. Whatever draws us into a deeper walk with our Abba, is our Friend. We look forward to the day that ,”The Body”, will be found ,”Spotless,& without blemish”, so we will be known by our love one for another.

        After I wrote you, Abba has since directed us to a very small group as well, close to home. E.C. is quite a trip for us. 635 is under heavy construction the entire way from Mesquite, where we live. HE is Always Faithful ! Thank You for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer.

        May YAH Bless you continually with His Shalom in Messiah,
        Le’Faye, & Nathanael

        1. Dear Le’Faye,

          Thank you so much for the update. Very glad to hear Nathanael and you both are staying grounded and settled in the faith, and that you have found fellowship. Jehovah is faithful.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.