Question 242

By: Robert Serreyn

Question? Why did the Apostle Paul shave his head?


The verse where this is recorded is found in Acts 18:18 which states:

Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

We are NOT TOLD WHY the Apostle Paul had taken a Vow or chose to follow this Jewish practice which INCLUDED shaving off his hair, this Vow was part of the Nazirite Vow found in Numbers 6:2-21.

In V21 of Chapter 18 the Apostle Paul stated that he was headed for the city of Jerusalem

But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

It might have been possible that Paul might had thought that by following part of this custom that it would give him opportunity to talk to his fellow Jews about Christ but we are simply not told.

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

The Apostle Paul knew that he and all believers we NO LONGER under the Law for he (Paul) had wrote By Divine Inspiration -( 2 Peter 1:21,22) Romans 10:4 which states:

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I believe that this Just shows us that the Apostle Paul JUST LIKE US was subject to Failures, Wrong Decisions and Struggles of the Flesh.

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to wanting to do his best for the Lord but falling short of that goal on many occasions BECAUSE OF the Old Sin Nature in which also EVERY BELIEVER has and will continue to battle UNTIL they Die and enter heaven or get Raptured.

Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.


The word CANNOT is a MISTRANSLATION, This is WHY we do not make the claim as some teach that the King James Version Bible is without error and should not be corrected.

The word CANNOT in the Greek is OUCH and it carries the meaning “IN THE ABSOLUTE SENSE” as it is correctly translated in Galatians 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 15:50.

(Galatians 3:17) And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

(1 Corinthians 15:50) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

The word “Cannot” SHOULD HAVE been tranlated as the Greek word ME which carries the meaning “NOT IN THE ABSOLUTE SENSE” as SHOULD NOT, this is the REASON FOR and the DIFFERENCE in proper bible study and interpretation.

Galatians 5:17 SHOULD BE RENDERED as such below that it would place it into proper agreement with other scriptures dealing with the battle between the sin nature and the new nature of the believer.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye SHOULD NOT do the things that ye would.

In Conclusion:

Whatever was Paul’s motivation to feel that he needed to follow a vow that was CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD and taught under the Old Testament Law we will never know on this side of heaven.

The Apostle Paul was NO STRANGER to blunders like us, he was human and he Fell Short of the Glory (absolute perfection) of God – Romans 3:23, and did things that he ADMITTEDLY ACKNOWLEDGE that he wish that he WOULD NOT DO – Romans 7:15.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to know IS Jesus Christ as savior, just simply believe that Jesus Christ went to the cross and DIED and shed his blood, was BURIED and three days later RESURRECTED from the dead to pay for your sins.

-Christ DIED for you – Romans 5:8

-Christ PAID your sins in full – 2 Corinthians 5:21,1 Peter 2:24

-BELIEVE (Trust In Completely) in Christ ALONE as the complete payment of sin for salvation – John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8,9

“For the wages(payment) of sin is death (eternal torment in hell); but the GIFT(salvation) of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord”. Romans 6:23