Final Things To Consider
As you grapple with the spiritual questions involved with getting a tattoo, remember to carefully weigh the health risks involved with getting a tattoo. Also, since tattoos are permanent, be sure to consider the possibility that you could regret your decision in the future. Although removal is possible, it is more expensive and painful.
A Very Important Moral Law
As already stated, Christians are under the moral Law for Christian living. This means that youth are subject to the Law that requires they honor father and mother . This means that youth are under their parents authority and getting a tattoo without their parents permission is most definitely a sin. Jesus declared this Law of parental authority and Paul confirmed it:
Mark 10:19 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor yourfather and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
I Have Tattoos Learn From My Mistakes
I got all of my tattoos when I was younger before I was saved. After I was saved, I was able to admit the real reason behind my desire for tattoos. Usually you dont hear about tattooed Christians saying no dont do it, but Im telling you dont do it. There are sometimes consequences of getting tattoos.
Ive heard of many people who had allergic reactions and are suffering the consequences today with scars they have to live with for life. One of my tattoos led to an unsightly keloid scar that I had to get removed. We dont think about the future.
Imagine 40 years from now. Your tattoos are going to be wrinkly, they will get faded, etc. I know so many people who regret the tattoos that they received in their youth. Although the number has decreased there are still many companies that wont hire you if you have visible tattoos. Its not worth it.
21. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
22. Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
23. Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
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Biblical Teachings Relevant To Tattoos
But even if tattooing continues to gain wider acceptance, is that proof of acceptance in Gods eyes? Consider these passages:
- Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness .
- Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are Gods .
Fashioned in Gods own image, our bodies are precious gifts from God. Refraining from unnecessary cuttings or marking them with tattoos shows respect for our bodies and our Creator.
As noted earlier, commentators are divided over whether the prohibitions against cuttings in your flesh for the dead and tattooing any marks on you as recorded in Leviticus 19:28 are applicable today. Some mistakenly dismiss this passage because it is in the Old Testament and they wrongly think that all laws of the Old Testament have been replaced with new laws. Others say it only applies to pagan practices for the dead and therefore, it doesnt apply to Christians who want a tattoo as body adornment or as a symbol of their Christian faith.
In response to these claims, it is important to remember that the instructions given to ancient Israel also apply to us today. Psalm 119:160 says, The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus upheld Gods law as revealed through the prophets in the Old Testament .
Prayer For Cleansing Of Our Hearts
Dear Lord, I come to you in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ and I do want to please you and know the truth about tattoos, as well as any other area in my life that does not agree with the Word of God. I am asking you to reveal to me the truth about this and deliver me from all deceiving lies that I may have embraced by my ignorance of your Word and your commandments. Lord, even as David prayed in the Psalms for You to deliver him of his secret sins which he meant sins that were a secret to him, sins that he did not know he was committing. Lord, only You know my heart and only You can reveal the things in my heart that I need to be set free from, so I ask You to deliver me from any and all sins that are in my heart that I am blinded to and do not see. Forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness so that I might be pure and holy in Your sight. Lord, I know it is not by works of righteousness that I have done, but that my deliverance comes from what You have done on the cross by taking my sin and giving me Your life and Your nature. I want to be like You, Lord, so I am trusting You to cleanse me now and reveal Your truth to me about this matter, as well as any other area in my life that is not pleasing to You, so I can be a good witness for You in this earth. Thank you for Your love, mercy and grace toward me. Amen.
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What Does The Church Teach About Tattoos
I was recently asked:
Could you please explain to me rationally without using words, and yet using theology, and convince me why I shouldnt get a tattoo? Theres too much mumbo jumbo on the Internet, and I would truly appreciate finding something concrete and understandable.
Im afraid that I cannot explaineither with simple, or complex wordswhy you shouldnt get a tattoo.
The reason being that, in principle, the Church does not oppose tattoos.
Ceremonial Law vs. Moral Law
Sometimes people point to the passage in Leviticus that says, Do not . . . put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord .
But this verse is not binding upon Christians for the same reason that the verse nor shall there come upon you a garment of cloth made of two kinds of stuff is not binding upon Christians. Namely, it is a part of the ceremonial law that was binding upon the Jewish people but not binding upon Christians .
The author of Hebrews writes:
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood , what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well .
To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo
So is the prohibition against tattoos in Leviticus a part of the moral law?
My colleague, Jimmy Akin writes says no:
But if you do decide to get a tattoo, consider the following:
What Does The Bible Say About Body Piercing
Well, the Bible, in the Old Testament, specifically in Leviticus 19:28, warms against making cuttings in your flesh or prints of any kind on the body.
These admonitions were given because the body modifications that the Israelites were warned about were practices common with the Pagans.
Some people note that body piercings have their roots in false religious practices and witchcraft. Then you have the New Testament and the Lord admonishing against defiling the body as it the temple of the Holy Spirit.
There are many other verses throughout the Bible, all admonishing body piercings and other forms of body modifications. And if you are a believer, it would seem that piercings are a sin?
But like the matter of tattoos, how you see tattoos and body piercings depends on your interpretation of the Bible.
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Should Christians Get Tattoos
I strongly believe that the answer is no.
Tattoos have roots in witchcraft, paganism, demonism, mysticism, and more. Never has tattoos ever been associated with Gods children until the 21st century of course. Lets be honest. As the world and demonic activity started to get into the church, so did tattoos.
5. 1 Kings 18:28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.
6. 1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lords table, and of the table of devils.
Romans 14 And What Is Permitted
Romans chapter 14 is an excellent chapter that covers things that are not specifically addressed in scripture. For example, Romans 14:23 says, But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith and everything that does not come from faith is sin. I would say that if it causes your brother to stumble and cause an offense or might make a non-believer question the believers authenticity in Christ, then it would appear that we should prohibit such a thing or activity in our own lives while not judging those who are persuaded that it is okay for them. And verse 23 is also saying that if we think it is a sin for us, and it is not from faith, then it would be sinful if we think it is. God leaves some room for maneuvering in the sense that if it bothers our conscience or if we feel it might offend others, then it is best that we abstain from whatever it might be.
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Does The Bible Say Anything At All About Tattoos
First of all, the Bible is all about interpretation so you can take things literally word for word or you can find your own meaning which makes sense for you. If you take the Bible word for word, in Leviticus 19:28, its exact translation is: And a cutting for the dead you will not make in your flesh and writing marks you will not make on you I am the Lord. Some modern-day versions of the Bible do have the word tattoo written in the translation and then it reads: Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. That makes the argument against tattoos seem much stronger but since the word tattoo did not come into the English language until the 18th century, the literal translation of the Bible does not write tattoo at any point. That here is the only explicit mention of body modifications written in the Bible.
What The Bible Says About Tattoos
Unfortunately, there isnt much in the Bible about tattoos specifically. Tattooing is not mentioned in the New Testament. However, branding and cutting the skin is named in the Old Testament.
Leviticus 19:28 says, Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. This seems pretty direct.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that it is in the same chapter with several Levitical laws, including, Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
Many of these laws were put in place to either protect the Israelites or to keep Gods people different.
In the case of tattoos and cutting their bodies, this was a way to distinguish them from other nations surrounding them.
Got Questions explains, The reason for the prohibition of tattoos in this passage is not stated, but it is likely that tattooing was a pagan practice connected with idolatry and superstition. It was probably common for the pagans to mark their skin with the name of a false god or with a symbol honoring some idol. God demanded that His children be different, and He reminded them in the same verse, I am the LORD.
With that being said, getting a tattoo is a heart matter.
According to the Bible, getting a tattoo may not be a sin for this generation, but there are other ways to determine if the reasons you are getting a tattoo may be sinful.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a Christian considering a tattoo.
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What Is Your Purpose And Motivation In Getting A Tattoo
Christians should not live as the world lives, and Christians should focus on our insides rather than our outsides.
Do not let your adorning be externalthe braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in Gods sight is very precious. –– 1 Peter 3:34
While this verse speaks of hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing, the idea certainly spills over into the arena of tattoos.
Is your desire for a tattoo based on vanity?
Be honest with yourself. What are your motivations?
Are you motivated to get a tattoo just because everyone else is?
Again, the tattoo may not be a sin, but your motivations may be. Consider it carefully.
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.
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Moral Civil And Ceremonial Laws
For Christians, the moral Law remains in effect to direct our moral judgment and to command us to obey God. While the Law has no power to save us, it certainly has the power to direct our lives by guiding us to make godly choices to avoid sin and to live in a way that honors God. The Ten Commandments reflect the very nature of GodHis perfection and His righteousness. We can never attain the perfection Gods Law commands, but we can live our lives moving in that direction. Jesus magnified the Ten Commandments, the moral Law, during His earthly ministry and Paul confirmed this Law for the Church. God does not change, nor does His moral Law change. Therefore, we are called to obey the Ten Commandments.
The ceremonial and civil laws were given to the Nation of Israel. As a whole, these laws are not binding on Christians, although many of them are good for our instruction and our sanctification. We find many repeated in the New Testament as directives for Christian living . The ceremonial and civil laws were given to Israel to instruct them how to live in relationship with God and to keep them separate from the nations and holy unto God. Many of these laws have no relevance for Christian living .
The Bible Says Not To Mark Or Cut Your Body
The Bible warns us against tattoos in Leviticus 19:28 which says, Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.
I know some will have a hard time receiving this teaching because tattooing has now become an accepted practice in our society. However, just because society approves of something does not make it right in Gods eyes. Our society at large, also approves of abortion and divorce as well. However, the Bible makes it clear that God does not approve of these things.
There are many dedicated and sincere Christian people who have tattoos. This article is not meant to say they do not love the Lord. God not only can use them, but does use them. The issue is not whether God can use someone, but rather should Christians pursue getting tattoos? Just because something is popular does not mean it is right. We should always examine things by the roots and the fruits of the thing in question.
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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