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Tattooing and the Bible: What does it say?

What does the Bible say about tattoos? (Is it allowed?)

Tattoos have become an increasingly popular form of self-expression in the modern world. However, their acceptance varies widely among different cultures and religions. For Christians, the Bible serves as a guide for many aspects of life, including personal appearance. But what does the Bible say about tattoos?

Tattooing and the bible: What is the right way to approach it?

Old Testament References

The most direct reference to tattoos in the Bible comes from the Old Testament. In Leviticus 19:28, it states: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” This verse is often interpreted as a prohibition against tattoos.

However, it’s important to understand the context of this verse. It was given to the Israelites along with other laws to distinguish them from other nations. The practice of marking one’s body was associated with pagan rituals and mourning practices, which the Israelites were instructed to avoid.

New Testament Perspectives

The New Testament does not directly mention tattoos, but it does provide principles that Christians can apply. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it says: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” This verse emphasizes the importance of respecting and honoring one’s body as a vessel for the Holy Spirit.

A tattoo artist posing with his tattoo equipment

Interpretations and Modern Views

Interpretations of these verses vary among Christians. Some interpret the Leviticus verse as a clear and timeless prohibition against tattoos. Others argue that this law was specific to the cultural context of the ancient Israelites and does not apply to Christians today.

The New Testament verse from Corinthians is also interpreted in different ways. Some Christians believe it implies that altering one’s body with tattoos is disrespectful. Others argue that if a tattoo is used to glorify God or express one’s faith, it could be seen as honoring the body as a temple.

What does Jesus say about tattoos?

In the New Testament, no direct references to Jesus speaking about tattoos exist. The verses that I found during my research for this article don’t contain any specific teachings or comments from Jesus about tattooing, but if you can find any, please let me know!

Jesus’ teachings primarily focused on faith, love, forgiveness, and the kingdom of God. He often emphasized the importance of inner spiritual transformation over external appearances. In Matthew 23:26, Jesus says, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” This suggests that what is in a person’s heart is more important than their physical appearance.

“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

Matthew 23:26

While the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, does not explicitly address tattoos, many Christians look to broader biblical principles when considering this topic. These principles include honoring God with one’s body, avoiding idolatry, and considering the potential impact of one’s actions on others.

It’s important to note that interpretations of the Bible vary widely, and different individuals and Christian denominations may have different views on this topic. As such, many people believe that the decision to get a tattoo is personal and should be made in consultation with one’s own conscience, beliefs, and, if applicable, spiritual advisors. When in doubt, speak to your priest, pastor, or spiritual advisor for council.

Is it a sin to have a tattoo?

The question of whether getting a tattoo is considered a sin in Christianity is a complex one. It can depend on various factors, including one’s interpretation of the Bible, personal convictions, and the cultural context of the individual or community.

The Bible does not explicitly label the act of getting a tattoo as a sin. However, some Christians refer to Leviticus 19:28 in the Old Testament: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” This verse is often interpreted as a prohibition against tattoos.

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:28

However, it’s important to note that this verse is part of the Mosaic Law, a set of rules given specifically to the Israelites. Some Christians believe these laws were specific to that time and culture and do not necessarily apply to Christians today, but this will depend on the teachings of your faith specific to your denomination and church.

The New Testament does not directly mention tattoos. Instead, it emphasizes principles such as honoring God with one’s body and not causing others to stumble in their faith. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it says: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Some Christians interpret this to mean that they should not alter their bodies with tattoos, while others believe that tattoos can be a way to glorify God, especially if they are religious in nature or express one’s faith.

What Bible verse is good for tattoos?

I personally do not have any tattoos myself, and I think that many people regret tattoos later in life as their views change and mature. As such, I cannot recommend any verses for tattoos.

What does the Bible say about tattoos and piercings KJV?

Again, not many verses could be found during my research about tattoos or piercings in the Bible other than 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Leviticus 19:28, but if you have something more pertinent, please let me know in the comments below. Interpretations of these verses can vary among Christians. Some view them as a clear prohibition against tattoos and piercings, while others believe that these verses were culturally specific to the time and do not necessarily apply to modern practices.

As with many topics, the Bible does not provide a clear-cut answer, and the decision to get a tattoo or piercing is often seen as a personal one that should be made in consideration of one’s own convictions and understanding of their faith.

Conclusion

As we have seen, perspectives on tattoos vary within the Christian faith. When considering getting a tattoo, devote time to prayer, reflection, and discussion with spiritual mentors. Carefully weigh whether it aligns with your beliefs and convictions. While the Bible does not give absolute clarity, if you approach this decision thoughtfully and with wisdom, you can have faith that God will guide your path.

It’s important for each individual to consider the principles of the bible, seek spiritual guidance, and make a personal decision that aligns with their understanding of their faith. Thank you for reading, we are glad you took the time to read this article.


Please note that this is a general overview and does not cover all perspectives within Christianity. Different denominations and individuals may have different interpretations and beliefs.

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