Tattoos And Religion Part : What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos
A lot of Christian believers probably ask themselves or others if it is a sin to get a tattoo. Well, this depends on who they ask. There are some Christians that believe it is a sin. One verse in the Bible confirms that is Leviticus 19:28, which says: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. So, why is this verse in our Bible?
The desire of God is for His people to be set apart from some other religious practices, such as pagan worship and sorcery. Looking at the verse in context, we can see that it is specifically dealing with some pagan religious rituals.
However, does this verse have any relevance for people today? It has. Anyone that gets a tattoo has to ask himself or herself why they get the tattoo and what is the meaning of that tattoo. They should also think whether the tattoo is an expression of witchcraft, pagan symbolism, or worship.
- What does the Bible say about tattoos?
Tattoos are very popular in the world, now more than ever. The number of people with tattoos increased dramatically in the last several years. Tattoos are not only for delinquents or rebels anymore. The edginess of rebellion, which is historically connected with tattoos, starts wearing off.
A lot of Christians struggle with the question of whether tattoos are allowed or not. Many of them believe that tattoos fall into the category of disputable matters where the Bible is not clear.
The Theology Of Inking Is Perilous Christians Attack
If I was searching the Bible for clues about whether to get a tattoo, Id be very strongly inclined to get one. The first inking, after all, was done by God in Genesis 4:15, a.k.a. the mark of Cain, extending grace to the murderer. They continue as frequent signs of divine grace.
In Ezekiel 9:46, the prophet is told to put a mark on the foreheads of the faithful. In Isaiah 44:5, theyre to tattoo their arms with the words of the Lords.
Bible scholars will say this owes to the custom of slavery. In the ancient world, a slave was tattooed with the name of his or her owner.
But . . . in Isaiah 49:16, God tattoos Himself. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
Why does God want humans tattooed on His palms? It isnt explicit, but as the Bible scholar Sandra Jacobs notes, there is the immediate association with a betrothal . . .
When they get married, God and Israel get matching tattoos.
Tatted up with the name of another deity? Its like having the name of your ex around. Your husband isnt too amused.
So we come to Leviticus 19:28: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.
In The Biblical Prohibition Against Tattooing, John Huehnergard and Harold Liebowitz puzzle over the reference and suspect that in the biblical period tattooing was associated with the mark of slavery.
Of course, as we know from the Old Testament, Israel had a habit of keeping other gods in the back of her thoughts.
Does Jesus Have A Tattoo On His Thigh
Q. In the book of Revelation, when Jesus appears a rider on a white horse, it says, On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.’ Does this mean that Jesus has a tattoo on his thigh?
The book of Revelation is so highly symbolic that I doubt we are meant to take this literally. The name thats written . . . on his thigh is a symbol of Jesus supreme authority. At the time when the book of Revelation was written, in the AD 80s or 90s, the Roman emperor Domitian was being called Lord and God, so the book is disallowing his claim and asserting that Jesus is Lord of lords instead.
I talk about Domitian and the book of Revelation in this post.
I discuss tattoos in this post.
And theres an excellent further discussion of tattoos and Jesus as the rider on the white horse in this post by Jannette Hicks, which is where I also got the image below.
Read Also: Where In The Bible Does It Say Pray Without Ceasing
Did Jesus Have A Tattoo On His Thigh
There are many people who think that Jesus had a tattoo, which is not true. Jesus would not have disobeyed Gods Word in Leviticus. Nowhere in the Bible did it say Jesus got a tattoo or any disciples getting one. This passage was being symbolic. In those times a king would have his title engraved on his garment or he could have had a banner that said, King Of Kings.
15. Revelation 19:16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
16. Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Is Getting A Tattoo A Sin
Some Christians believe that since the only possible mention of tattoos was written in the Old Testament the law no longer applies to Christians. There is no mention of body modifications or tattoos written in the New Testament at all. Since there is not an explicit command against the modern-day concept of tattoos, it would mean that it is not a sin to get one.
Recommended Reading: 365 Fear Not Bible Verses List
What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos 5 Verses You Must Know
What does the Bible say about tattoos ? Inking ones body means getting injected with many chemicals inside the skin and covering it overall. There is nothing in the Bible that we can call a definitive answer for the question. However, since the demand for tattoos has increased, many Christians are looking for the yes or no to tattoos.
Some Christians are strictly against tattooing on the body. Thats because the Bible has said in one verse,
You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord
In another verse, the body is called a holy temple of the Lord, where inking or tattooing means not following the saying of the Holiness. Since everything done by the Christians is for the glory of God, there is a specific class of Christians who suffice any inking on the body. They call themselves the Catholics.
The verse mentioned above has changed the perspective among mindsets. Thats why there are now two parts of the Bible, the New Testament and the Old Testament. The Catholics who follow a bishop say there arent any changes applicable in the Bible after the death of Jesus. Thats why the New Testament has no grounds to be followed.
Whereas the new followers, reverts, and others do not follow the old testament calling it a thing of the past. Three religions forbid inking on the body, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. On the other hand, two religions promote it extensively Hinduism and Buddhism.
Will The Tattoo Honor God
Is the tattoo honoring God is an important question to answer before opting for the change in your body. Although the verse clearly states that cutting the flesh and inking inside the body isnt permissible, some say it is an old testament.
In the past, the Hebrew people were defending themselves against their enemies. The tattooing means inking on the skin, which might leave some diseases. So if it still to honor the Lord, there is a verse that clearly states harming oneself is forbidden.
Read Also: Is It Better To Read The Bible In Chronological Order
The Youth Culture And Tattoos
I really believe that one of the compromises we see today is parents allowing their children to mark or tattoo their bodies. Christians can look at someone who has tattoos all over them and know by discernment that it is not God, but the same Christians may get a small tattoo themselves or allow their children to have one without thinking anything about it. Toy makers today even sell washable ink transfer kits so children can mark their bodies with designs. This may seem like a harmless game but this is the enemy preparing or setting up our children early to receive real tattoos later on. Some people teach that the will be a number tattooed on the forehead or the hand. If this is true, would not this be the devil setting up people to accept his evil mark, as tattoos are now considered acceptable.
Many young people today do not realize that they may be sorry in the future that they chose to put tattoos on their bodies today. We know of many people who have said to us that they wish they had not been foolish when they were young as now they must live with the reminder of what they did when they were immature and foolish. Only a few people have the money to have them removed by laser. I believe the Lord in the days ahead will remove them by doing a miracle for those who ask Him.
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Colossians 3:20
What Does Leviticus Refer To
In this 19 chapter of Leviticus, God calls the people of Israel to live a life of holiness: Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Once he made this call to Israel, God reminds them that obedience to a series of laws was fundamental so that in this way, the people could live according to the will of the Lord, unlike other territories.
In verse 28 reference is made to some of the practices of the pagan peoples. And among these practices mention is made of making cuts and wounds on the body as a symbol of mourning. It was a way of worshiping the dead. It was even also the way to distinguish who belonged to a slave. The technique they used to do this was to make a wound with a sharp object to later fill it with ink.
Also Check: Maryland Bible College & Seminary Baltimore Md
You Dont Want To Cause Your Brother To Stumble
There are many people who believe tattoos are sinful and by getting one it can lead those weak in the faith to get one even though their hearts are condemned. It can also offend others. Think about the youth. Love thinks about others. Love makes sacrifices.
24. Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.
25. 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.
Did You Know That The Bible Prohibits Tattoos On Our Body
Although tattoos have evolved a lot in recent decades, rudimentary tattooing techniques have been used since ancient times.
Tattoo fever came to The United States several decades ago. They are of all kinds. The eagerness of some to inject ink into their skin is such that their bodies are flooded with drawings and artistic expressions. There are those that turn out to be showy to the eyes. Others throw back whoever observes it.
Most tattoos symbolize a special event in the life of the wearer: an experience, a tribute to an absent loved one, a motivating phrase … But lets not fool ourselves either. Tattoos are not an invention that recent generations have made fashionable, since they have been used since ancient times, although it is true that with a very different meaning.
So much so that the Bible even makes mention of this issue. It does not refer to tattoos expressly, but it does refer to marks on the skin.
In Leviticus 19:28, it is explicitly stated: Do not injure your body because of the dead, nor do you tattoo your skin. I am the Lord .
You May Like: Where In The Bible Does It Say Pray Without Ceasing
What Is Your Purpose And Motivation In Getting A Tattoo
It is an important question to answer while getting tattooed. The purpose or motivation that provoked the idea of getting tattooed must be to please the Lord. There are sayings that de-motivate inking. But some say if the objective is to fight off the disorder or clarify, your fight with a disease is practically applicable and permissible. But if the purpose is wrong and goes against the following, like getting a tattoo because everyone else is also, it is disregarded.
Tattoos Arent Sin But Some Symbols Could Be
Another thing worth mentioning is that the symbols people tattoo should also be relevant to the religion. For example, people who tattoo potentially insulting or Satanic symbols could be considered sinful, as they are marking their body with symbols that directly go against Christianity.
Thats why its important to wonder about what the symbol youre trying to ink will represent in your life. For example, if youre going to make a tattoo of a pagan symbol, youre likely making a tattoo against Christianity, same if you are going to tattoo a sign that potentially hints at witchcraft or glorifying some other religion.
In the end, getting a tattoo with a Christian or some other symbol comes down to whether its your personal preference or not. If you think that getting a tattoo goes against your moral beliefs of something else, perhaps you shouldnt get it.
Don’t Miss: What Does Bible Say About Cremation Vs Burial
People Also Ask About Tattoos
We explained the meaning of tattoos in Christianity. While theres no speculation that Christianity forbids tattoos, theres also no permission saying that its permitted. A lot of people like to make an analysis of the Biblical verses and draw their conclusions, so finally, tattooing is an individual choice.
Still, we answered some additional questions about tattooing and Christianity.
Q: Is Getting A Tattoo A Mortal Sin?
A: We dont think that tattoos are a mortal sin, as long as they dont promote some of the mortal sins such as wrath, vanity, or sloth. Tattooing does not harm you or others so its not considered a mortal sin.
Sharing is caring!
So Is It Allowed For Christians To Get Tattoos
Now lets check out it from an ethical viewpoint for can we go to heaven with tattoos?
None of the New Testament writers instantly mentioned tattoos, but they certainly are often sinful. The Christian who is regarding a tattoo should ask himself Why do I would like to urge this tattoo?
He should be frank with himself, and God, and make a real effort at suppressing any carnal bias which will come to mind.
In many cases, the will to urge a tattoo isnt to glorify God. Many get crosses, or Bible verses then use the very fact that its Christ-based as an effort to justify it. Nevertheless, in most cases, the thought of getting a tattoo isnt thanks to a deeper pondering of how one might honour God.
Responding to strife among Christians about whether it had been sinful or to not eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, the Apostle Paul states in Romans 14:14-17:
I know, and I am persuaded by Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, for him it is unclean. But if thy brother grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with meat, for whom Christ died. Let not your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
We can get two significant philosophies from this passage, related to Christians and Tattoos:
Typically, the body of a believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Recommended Reading: What Does Bible Say About Cremation Vs Burial
Is Tattooing A Sin Then
If youre frequently visiting the Church, reading the Gospels, and other material on Christianity, no information could hint at tattoos being forbidden or sinful. Even the apostles who carried on the word of Christ didnt mention anything about cutting and inking your body.
That said, we believe that tattooing isnt a sin and that in no way, getting your body inked will prevent you from entering the Heavenly gates when you pass away. We believe it also stems from the fact that tattooing oneself doesnt do any harm to others, or do something sinful.
Christianity teaches us that stealing, disrespecting our loved ones and murdering is a sin, but tattooing your body doesnt mean youve conducted any of the aforementioned sins.
The verse from the Old Testament likely refers to not practicing what that group of tribes is practicing to honor their dead member.
Perhaps, it was versed in a way that practicing such rituals would make people similar to that pride, and make them step away from the Law of Moses as it is, making their pagan believes more important than the religion.
However, if this concept is read and understood wrong, it can lead to the belief that the tattooing process is sinful for Christians too, and instill fears of going to hell upon death.
Many People Get Tattood To Honor God
What does God say? He says He does not want to be honored in the same way the world honors their idols. He does not want to be worshiped in the same way. God is not like us. Just because the world is changing and the culture is different does not mean Gods ways and desires are changing.
7. Deuteronomy 12:4 Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods.
8. Leviticus 20:23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.
Also Check: What Does Bible Says About Tattoos