Leviticus On Having A Tattoo
First of all, Leviticus 19.26-28 is said by some to forbid tattoos. Others quickly dismiss this because its in Leviticus. But none of Gods words in the Bible should be dismissed. In the same chapter we also read that you should love your neighbour as yourself a verse that Jesus quoted. Would we also dismiss that because its in Leviticus? Read all three verses closely. The prohibition against tattoos is in reference to necromancy. Apparently back in Canaan that was a thing. Baal a local divinity who supposedly died and rose again liked it when his followers got inked for his glory. So if youre getting a tattoo to connect you with a false god or with the dead dont.
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.
Origin And Meaning Of Tattoos
It is difficult to trace their origin, but often the tattoos had a spiritual value. They could also be the symbol of belonging to a social group and in some cases have therapeutic and medicinal value. The tattoos were often accompanied by various mutilations.
Nowadays, tattoos tend to marginalize, even if we try to democratize them. Their meanings have evolved, they can represent certain key moments in the life of those who wear them or perhaps also purely decorative. Some tattoos are representative of suffering, brokenness, painful separations, or feelings of love. Sometimes too, they represent nothing in particular apart from a fad and a desire to assert oneself by a somewhat spectacular gesture.
The problem with tattoos is that they are indelible. Erasing them requires resorting to expensive and painful laser sessions. If among the unconverted, about one person in three regrets having had a tattoo, especially when his life has evolved in other spheres and directions which means that the meaning of his tattoos no longer applies among Christians, many will regret it all the more.
If you are a Christian, you do not need to get a tattoo of a cross, the Name of Jesus, or any other emblem to affirm your faith. Walking with God is a matter of commitment and heart and if you want it to be visible, you can always treat yourself to a t-shirt with JESUS written on it.
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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.
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Physical And Mental Pain
Its no secret that tattoos can be very painful, so make sure that you are prepared for this. Try to check first if you have any medical concerns. Its wise that you dont take tattooing lightly its going to hurt. There are also risks involved such as infections, scars, allergic reactions, and even diseases such as Hepatitis B and C. When in doubt, always have a physical examination first and make sure that you only trust reliable and reputable tattoo artists.
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What Are The Common Christian Inspired Tattoos
Christian tattoos come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you want to express your love for God with a full back piece or by getting an easily hidden symbol on your ankle, we have some ideas for you. Many Christians love to get their favorite bible verse tattooed on them because it helps remembering your values and the importance of Gods word. There are also plenty of symbols that represent Christ such as a cross, doves, the Jesus fish, an angel, praying hands, or even a picture of Jesus himself. All of these visuals can be done as big or as small as youd like. Simple outlines can be just as meaningful as a huge embellished piece. If youd like to get a larger Christian tattoo, an idea could be to get your favorite Bible story like the last supper or when Jesus dies on the cross. You could also incorporate your interests alongside your religion. The ideas for your Christian tattoo are endless!
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Tattoos In The Bible: Honor God With Your Body
This is Gods body not ours. You are going to have to give it back. Dont think Hes going to be pleased with Bible verse tattoos. Imagine if I let you borrow my car and you brought it back with scratches all over it because you thought I would be OK with it. I will be angry.
Are we to alter Gods image? Some people are going to say, 1 Corinthians 6 was referring to sexual immorality, but the principal still applies. Glorify God with your body. Do not defile Gods temple with tattoos. The disciples and early Christians knew how to honor God. Never did we hear about one of them getting a tattoo.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
3. Romans 12:1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God this is your spiritual worship.
4. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Dont you know that you yourselves are Gods temple and that Gods Spirit dwells in your midst?
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Is it a sin to get a tattoo or a piercing? According to the Scriptures, God wants His people to be set apart. The Bible verse most Christians refer to is Leviticus 19:2 KJV:
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.
The context of the verse was referring to the pagan rituals.
Evidence suggests that in Canaan, the Canaanites would slash their bodies for their religious rituals. In Egypt, tattoos on women signified fertility and were considered a good luck charm during birthing.
For any person looking to get a tattoo or a piercing, ask yourself about their deeper intentions. While humans look at the actions, God looks at the heart.
Some people might be thinking of putting a Christian tattoo on to honor God. Some people might be thinking about trying the other tattoo ideas. Ultimately, your body is God’s temple, and you should honor God with your bodies.
Let’s dive into what the Bible says about tattoos.
Bible Verses About Tattoos
You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. ~ Leviticus 19:28
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. ~ Revelation 19:16
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. ~ Ephesians 5:10
You are the sons of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. ~ Deuteronomy 14:1
All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves ~ Romans 1:24
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Does This Answer Apply To People Today
That, then, is a brief summary of what Leviticus 19:28 is talking about. But to whom is the Lord speaking when he addresses this subject? Who is prohibited from engaging in these actions? To everyone in every circumstance in every era of history? No. God is speaking only to the Israelites under the old covenant.
This takes us back to the point we made earlier: even when the Bible does answer a question, we need to be certain that the answer is addressed specifically to us and not to an individual, people group, or historic situation. The prohibitions in Leviticus 19:27-28 are never repeated in the New Testament, never applied to everyone, and certainly never included in prohibitions for Christians.
Teens Tattoos And The Bible
Should we allow our adolescent to get a tattoo? Doesnât the Bible forbid them? Our 16-year-old wants to get one, but weâve held off on any serious discussion of the matter, in part because weâre so shocked that we donât know what to say. How should we, as responsible Christian parents, react to this request?
Lets tackle the biblical side of your question first. Our own view is that the Bible has nothing specific to say to Christians on the permissibility of tattoos. Its true that the practice was forbidden in the Old Testament Law. Leviticus 19:28 says, You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord. The difficulty is that its not exactly clear how this commandment applies to us today, since, it was probably directed against practices associated with pagan idolatry. The custom of making cuts in the body was a heathen way of attracting the gods attention by arousing their pity. By way of contrast, in todays culture tattoos are generally viewed as being cosmetic or aesthetic in purpose.
If your teen is unyielding, you might suggest a compromise: a temporary henna tattoo could be a way of making a trial run without taking on a permanent commitment. If hes willing, you could agree to revisit the question when he turns eighteen. Remember, when dealing with adolescents there are times when you have to know how to give a little in order to maintain influence over the long haul.
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The Prohibition In Leviticus
The pertinent passage is Leviticus 19:28, You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.
Lets look at this passage in context, both its immediate and broader context. Lets also take a peek at the Hebrew behind the English translation to see what light it sheds on the verse. Well begin with the Hebrew.
Are Your Motives For Getting A Tattoo Truly Pure
I talked to people who said they want a tattoo because it means something, they can use it to share their faith, etc. Im not denying that their motives are not genuine. However, I strongly believe that people will deceive themselves to cover up the real reason that they want a tattoo. The heart is deceitful. Ive talked to people who said that they want to get a name tattoo of their family member. I talked to them and we finally got to the root of the reason.
They finally said it was because it looks cool. I believe for many believers the real reason is because it looks cool and everyone else has one and Im going to justify it by saying this. People say, I want a full sleeve to show off God, but instead they show off themselves. They go out of their way for you to see that they have a tattoo. Rarely do people even bring up the topic of faith with tattoos.
Do you desire to bring attention to yourself? Would that be something that you would admit? We can lie to ourselves when we really desire something. Deep down whats the real reason? Is it truly to bring glory to God or is it so you can show off, fit in, look cool, etc.
9. Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
10. 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
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Bearing Fruit For God
Ask that question when you go to get a tattoo: Is it bearing fruit for God? That is the kind of question to ask. Or here is a third question. Is there a counterpart in our experience today to the compromise with the nations around Israel? Is our choice to get a tattoo influenced by the desire to be like the nations who do not love God? A person should seriously ask: Why am I doing this? Do I want to look like the nations who dont love God? Or am I in some way governed and controlled by an alien spirit rather than by the spirit of the gospel? Then the next thing I would do is look to the New Testament teaching on adornment. What is at play in these teachings that Paul gives is that being a follower of Christ makes a difference in how you dress and how you do makeup and how you do hair. It is really plain. In fact, it is plain in the Old Testament, too.
Ask that question when you go to get a tattoo: Is it bearing fruit for God?
The question, then, for women and I think, by implication, for men as well men would come under all these same things with regard to the things that they wear and the jewelry they use and stuff they put in their hair and all kinds of stuff. This is all for men and women, because the principles are the same Is this tattoo an expression of those good works? Is it a heartfelt expression of godliness? Is it part of a gentle and tranquil spirit that is resting in God and is content with Gods goodness to her or him?
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