A Kerfuffle over Skin Color

October 1, 2017



When you imagine what biblical people looked like, what skin color do they have? For instance, what skin color do you imagine David and Solomon had? Or Ruth and Naomi? When you read the letters of Romans, Galatians, and Philippians, what skin color do you suppose Paul had? When you meditate on the stories about Jesus, do you picture him with white skin, brown skin, or black skin?

When I was a child, I thought people in the Bible were white, just like me. After all, everyone in my family was white. Everyone in my congregation was white. Everyone in my lower-class neighborhood in Elkhart was white. And when I toddled off to Sunday school class, all the illustrations in our Sunday school materials depicted white people, just like me. Moses and Miriam? I thought they were white. The apostle Paul? He was as white as my daddy. Jesus? White like an Easter lily. I grew up supposing all the folks of the Bible looked like white European-Americans.

Bible References

  • Numbers 12:1 - 15