What does the Bible say about tattoos? Is tattooing a sin in the Bible? These questions and more will be answered as we explore ten things the Bible says about tattoos.
Tattoos have been around for a long time, and people have used them to mark their bodies for various purposes. Tattoos have been used for identification, fashion, religious purposes, and punishment in many civilizations across the world.
However, tattoos have evolved from being emblems of idol worship to declarations of personal expression and creativity in recent years
Christians obtaining tattoos has long been a source of contention in the church, with many people holding opposing views. This has caused some confusion and rift among believers, which is one of the things Jesus prayed against.
The prayer of Jesus for the church was for the church to be united. Therefore, it is imperative that we be at peace with people, regardless of our beliefs regarding tattoos. The Bible also teaches in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 NLT to avoid meaningless arguments that only lead to quarrels.
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 NLT.
We should constantly learn from one another, but correction should always be polite and loving. It is preferable to avoid the conversation entirely if all it generates are arguments rather than learning. Christ’s family must remain united.
Nowadays, it has become common to find tattoos on the bodies of Christians; tattoos of the cross or tattoos of Bible verses are now widespread.
Whenever people ask themselves what does the Bible say about tattoos, the first verse that comes to mind can be found in Leviticus 19:28.
It’s the most familiar verse related to the subject, and it’s a go-to verse whenever the subject of tattoos comes up.
What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos In Revelations?
Those who argue for tattoos have their backing in two Bible verses: Revelation 19:6 and Isaiah 49:16. What does the Bible say about tattoos in Revelations 19:6?
The Bible says that on his robe and his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all Lords.
This verse makes us wonder did Jesus have a tattoo? The inscription King of kings and Lord of lords written on Jesus’ thigh was symbolic.
It was to show that Jesus was the king and ruler over all. According to Revelation 19:2-5: The eyes of Jesus were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns, and He wore a robe dipped in blood.
These descriptions were symbolic and not literal, and the tattoo on the thigh of Jesus is probably illustrative as well.
The book of Isaiah is also another verse people use in support of tattoos for Christians. God says in Isaiah that he has written our names on his palm in remembrance.
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. Isaiah 49:16 NLT.
This verse might also be symbolic, telling us that God will not forget us, and he has us constantly in mind. Some others believe that there is no apparent reference to the word tattoo in the Bible.
Earlier versions like the KJV or NIV would use cuttings or marks instead. What does the Bible say about tattoos in Deuteronomy 14:1-2 NIV
The Bible says You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, for you are a people holy to the Lord your God.
Although few verses in the Bible expressly mention the term tattoos, bible verses related to this topic will provide us with the necessary instruction.
I’ve compiled a list of ten things the Bible says about tattoos that you may use to help you make an informed decision.
What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos- 10 Things
1. Do Not Make Any Cuttings On Your Body
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:28 NKJV What does the Bible say about tattoos? The Bible says you must not make cuttings for the dead nor tattoos marks on your body.
When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he gave them many instructions because they had no prior relationship with him. He had to reintroduce himself to them and reaffirm his covenant with Abraham.
He gave them laws and commands that were appropriate for the particular period. When Jesus arrived in the new testament, several of these regulations were changed.
One of the laws given to the Israelites by the Lord was to refrain from making cuts on their bodies for the dead and from tattooing their bodies. The countries surrounding the Israelites would make incisions and scars on their bodies for idol worship.
But God intended for the Israelites to be separate from these individuals. He didn’t want to be treated as if He were an idol.
God desired that his chosen people stand out from the crowd. God still expects his chosen people to be separated. We are to be Holy as our father in heaven is holy.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
2. Your Body Is The Temple Of God
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV
What does the Bible say about tattoos in the new testament? The Bible says that our body is the temple of God; it is not solely yours. God resides within you, and your body is not exclusively yours.
God made us and counted each and every hair on our heads. This is why suicide is a sin: you can’t take a life that wasn’t yours, to begin with. It is your obligation to look after your body; you must be cautious about what you put into and on it.
After that, you must consider whether or not drawing the tattoo is the best option for you. Consider whether this is something you might want in the future.
Is the tattoo appropriate for God’s temple? Before getting a tattoo, it’s a good idea to ask yourself these questions. For God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:20 NLT
3. Don’t Do What You Are In Doubt About
But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning. Romans 14:23 NLT
Controversial issues among Christians have been in existence for a long time. For example, some people incriminated against Gentiles who were not circumcised. They believed Christianity belonged to the Jews alone.
Another source of conflict was food; some thought that some meat, especially the one sacrificed to idols, should not be eaten. In this verse, Paul tells the members of the church that the issue was down to conviction.
He also told them not to do what they are doubtful of. It might not be wrong, but if you are hesitant about the lawfulness of a particular act, then it’s best to avoid it. According to Romans 14:23, you are sinning if you do what you believe is incorrect.
4. It Can Be A Stumbling Block To Others
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV We have the liberty to do as we wish; depending on our personal conviction on whether it Is right or wrong.
But you should consider that it might be a stumbling block to those with weak faith. Some Christians believe that tattoos make them more approachable to an unbeliever and that they might relate with them better and win their souls for God.
However, tattoos can be a stumbling block for some Christians. For example, it might be difficult for some people to listen to a message from a pastor with a tattoo sleeve. The pastor might be preaching a holy spirit inspired, and moving message, but they won’t look past that tattoo.
5. You Have The Mark Of God
From now on, let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Galatians 6:17 NKJV
The Bible is complete, and there is always a reference to social issues. As early as the time of Isaiah, the Lord knew that people would mark themselves in respect for him.
What does the Bible say about tattoos in the book of Isaiah? It says some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.
“Many Christians now use Bible verses or the cross as Christian tattoos to show their love for Christ. But the book of Galatians 6:17 says God has marked us already; we are his people and have been separated from others, and look at this beautiful promise for those with the mark of the Lord; they shall not be troubled.
6. Do Everything To The Glory Of God
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31 NKJV As ambassadors of Christ on earth, we have to make sure that our choices and actions glorify God.
It should be consciously etched at the back of our minds as we make decisions. If you are planning on getting a tattoo, you have to consider two things.
- The position of the tattoo
- The type of tattoo ( What does the tattoo represent)
The position of tattoo: Placing your tattoo on sensitive parts of your body does nothing but promote sensuality.
As an ambassador of Christ, your job on earth is to bring people into the kingdom of God, not to take people away from it.
When you put tattoos in sensitive and private parts of your body, you need them to sin. Matthew 5:27-28 NLT says
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The type of tattoo: You should also consider what kind of tattoo you place on your body and what it represents.
If the tattoo has a lewd or sensual meaning, denotes a demonic or satanic image, or has its root in something sinister, then you know you must not put that on your body; you are the image of God.
You have to ask yourself if the tattoo you are about to place on your body gives glory to God.
“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck. Mark 9:42 NLT
7. The Lord Looks At The Heart
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When Samuel went to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king of Isreal, he was carried away by the stature of Eliab and the sons of Jesse.
He thought to himself when he saw Eliab, this would surely be the Lord’s anointed, but God responded that he had rejected him. In contrast, human beings are impressed by physical stature, money, and fame. God is impressed by the content of our hearts.
What impresses God is not the Bible verses drawn on your body but your heart’s content. Out of all the mighty sons of Jesse, God chose the youngest David because he was a man after God’s heart.
The content of your heart shows that you are a child of God; the Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Who you are outside of the tattoo on your body is what matters.
Do you truly belong to God in your speech and actions? Do you have the scriptures on your body in your heart as well? Do you follow these scriptures?
The Lord is not impressed by our outward appearance but what he looks at is the content of our heart Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT
8. Look Modest
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves – it’s about revealing our dignity.” Jessica Rey. Christians are to be modest both in character and dressing.
Modesty does not mean we should look washed off or have a bad fashion sense. Remember, Jesus said we must look good when fasting. So It isn’t right for a Christian to look wretched.
But we should not look unnecessary flashy, extravagant, and flamboyant. There should be a clear difference between you and others. Don’t be too concerned about your outer body and fashion; be more concerned about having a quiet and gentle spirit.
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 NLT
9. Don’t Judge Those With Tattoos
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. “John 7:24 NKJV It is hypocritical to judge others because if the Lord decided to deal with us according to our offense, none of us would be able to stand in his presence.
The Bible tells us not to judge so that we are not judged. Show love to others and live at peace with everyone. Strictness and rigidity are among the mistakes of religious people; they consider themselves better than others and think they are perfect.
This is false; we are all striving to improve in Christ. If you think you stand, take heed, so do not fall; you do not have the right to judge the lives of others.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matthew 7:1-2 NLT
10. Not All Things Are Lawful
You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NLT
Not all things are lawful for you as a child of God, it might be allowed, but it is not beneficial for you or the church. There might be no particular law that points to it, but you should avoid it as long as it does not edify or build up the church.
No matter your stance on tattoos, there is no reason why a child of God should have multiple tattoos all around their body. It does nothing to build up the church; it does not glorify God. It might be lawful, but it is not beneficial.
Here again, Paul mentions that believers should consider the faith of others. Our primary assignment is to win souls for God, so do not engage in anything that does the opposite of that.
Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. Romans 14:1 NLT Opposing factions in the house of God do nothing but sew discord and disunity.
For example, some believe Christian women should not wear jewelry or makeup; others do not hold this same stance. Whatever belief you have, avoid arguments with others.
Our relationship with Christ is a personal one. If you are truly confused about something, ask God to show you what to do.
A woman once told me of a dream she had. Before the dream, she planned to stop wearing jewelry altogether, but she prayed to God to show her what to do.
In her dream, she saw two women. One of the women didn’t put on any jewelry, and the other one had a small earring on her ear. The one who didn’t have jewelry kept fighting and arguing all through. The one with jewelry was calm and quiet.
The woman didn’t need anyone to interpret this dream for her. She realized that what was essential to God was not religiousness, strictness, and rigidity. What is important is a quiet and calm spirit. That is the true essence of a child of God.
I hope this article has given you guidance on the choice you should make, and so whenever someone asks you what does the Bible say about tattoos? You can point them easily to this post. God bless you!
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