Static behavior of composite beams with arbitrary lay-ups using various refined shear deformation theories is presented. The developed theories, which do not require shear correction factor, account for parabolical variation of shear strains and consequently shear stresses through the depth of the beam. In addition, they have strong similarity with Euler–Bernoulli beam theory in some aspects such as governing equations, boundary conditions, and stress resultant expressions. A two-noded C1 finite element with six degree-of-freedom per node which accounts for shear deformation effects and all coupling coming from the material anisotropy is developed to solve the problem. Numerical results are performed for symmetric and anti-symmetric cross-ply composite beams under the uniformly distributed load and concentrated load. The effects of fiber angle and lay-ups on the shear deformation parameter and extension-bending-shear-torsion response are investigated.