How Tall Was Jesus? According To Researchers, Not Very

Published April 13, 2022
Updated March 14, 2024

While the Bible says nothing about Jesus Christ's height, scholars have a good idea how tall Jesus was based on how average people looked when he was alive.

How Tall Was Jesus

PixabayHow tall was Jesus Christ? Some scholars think they have a good idea.

The Bible is filled with information about Jesus Christ. It describes his birthplace, explains his mission on Earth, and paints an intense picture of Jesus’ crucifixion. But how tall was Jesus?

On this matter, the Bible provides few details. But scholars who have studied the question think it is possible to guess Jesus Christ’s height.

By studying what the Bible does not say about Jesus and by examining the physical attribute of people who lived during his time, scholars have a pretty good idea of how tall Jesus was.

What Does The Bible Say About Jesus’ Height?

The Bible offers a couple of sparse details about what Jesus Christ looked like. But it doesn’t say anything about how tall Jesus was. To some scholars, that’s key — it means that he was of average height.

Last Supper Painting

Public DomainBecause Judas had to point out Jesus to the Roman soldiers, it’s likely he was neither vey tall nor very short.

In Matthew 26:47-56, for example, Judas Iscariot has to point Jesus out to the Roman soldiers in Gethsemane. This suggests that he looked similar to his disciples.

Likewise, the Gospel of Luke offers an anecdote about a “short” tax collector named Zacchaeus who seeks to see Jesus.

“Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like,” explains Luke 19:3-4. “But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree.”

If Jesus was a very, very tall man, Zacchaeus might have been able to see him, even above the heads of others.

In addition, the Bible often explicitly states when certain people are tall (or short, like Zacchaeus.) Biblical figures like Saul and Goliath are both described in terms of their height.

So, how tall was Jesus? He was probably of average height for his day. And to figure out his exact measurements, some scholars have looked to people who lived in the Middle East in the first century.

Exactly How Tall Was Jesus Christ?

If Jesus Christ’s height was average for his day, then it’s not too hard to determine.

Jesus Christ's Face

Richard NeaveIf Jesus looked like other men of his day, he may have looked something like this.

“Jesus would have been a man of Middle Eastern appearance,” explained Joan Taylor, who wrote the book What Did Jesus Look Like? “In terms of height, an average man of this time stood 166 cm (5 feet 5 inches) tall.”

A 2001 study came to a similar conclusion. Medical artist Richard Neave and a team of Israeli and British forensic anthropologists and computer programmers examined a skull from the 1st century to better understand the characteristics of ancient people.

Based on that skull, they surmised that Jesus Christ — if of average height — was probably around 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 110 pounds.

“Using archaeological and anatomical science rather than artistic interpretation makes this the most accurate likeness ever created,” explained Jean Claude Bragard, who used Neave’s image of Christ in his BBC documentary Son of God.

Over the years, scholars have used methods like Taylor’s and Neave’s to get a better idea of what Jesus looked like, from his height to his eye color.

What Did The Son Of God Look Like?

Today, we have a fairly good idea of how Jesus Christ probably looked. Living in the Middle East in the first century, he was likely between five-foot-one and five-foot-five. He probably had dark hair, olive skin, and brown eyes. Taylor postulates that he also kept his hair short and wore a simple tunic.

Jesus Height

Public DomainA depiction of Jesus Christ from the sixth century in Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt.

But we’ll never know for sure. Because Christians believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected after his crucifixion, they also believe that there’s no skeleton to find — and, therefore, no way to run an in-depth analysis of Jesus’ height or other characteristics.

And if archeologists did come across a skeleton, it would be difficult to know for sure who it belonged to. Today, even the location of Jesus tomb is up to debate.

As such, guesses about Jesus’ height and what he looked like are just that — guesses. However, based on the evidence available, scholars can make an educated estimate.

Given that the Bible made no blatant statements about Jesus’s height — calling him neither tall nor short — it’s fair to assume he was about as tall as other men. And because men of Jesus’s time were between 5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 5 inches tall, he probably was, too.

Jesus Christ may have been extraordinary in many ways. But when it came to height, he was likely about as tall as his peers.

After learning about Jesus Christ’s height, see why most depictions of Jesus Christ today are white. Or, discover the story behind the real name of Jesus and when he was born.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.