What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos?

The Bible on Tattoos

This is an interesting subject for sure. Depending upon which “religious crowd” you are in or listening to, you will surely hear different perspectives on what the bible says about tattoos.  Let’s face it, in today’s world we have a broad gap between the liberals and the conservatives. Even (or especially) among those that call themselves Christian.

But, what does the bible actually say about tattoos? Truthfully you can not find the word “tattoo” in the bible. It simply isn’t in the text. Now, certain translations have been modified and do include the word “tattoo”. But, as I said the word is not in the original text.

Scripture Referenced Most Often

The scripture that is usually used is found in Leviticus:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” (Lev 19:28)

When you and I read this we could say “yep there it is”… “the bible says it plainly”. It clearly says do not print any marks upon you.

But, as one pastor friend used to say. You can’t just read the bible. You have to READ the bible.

Put In Context

So let’s put this passage in context a bit. This Old Testament chapter starts of with the Lord telling the people that he wants them to be Holy. That they shouldn’t have idols, use enchantments, etc. The point of the entire chapter is he alone is to be worshiped and reverenced.

Now consider this scripture in that context. The passage starts by saying don’t cut yourself for the dead. This is inline with the rest of the chapter (entire book really), which says forget the old ways of witchcraft, sorcery, and all other blood based and dead traditions that have nothing to do with the one true living God.

Likewise the second part of the passage says “…nor print any marks upon you”. When you and I put the passage in context, the bible is not talking about tattoos. It is talking about cutting or marking our bodies to honor or worship the dead.

That is the true point of the passage. It is not about you or I getting a picture of our late grandma tatted on our shoulder to honor her.


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Wise and Practical Choices

Now I leave you with this final thought. If you or I do decide to get a tattoo.

And we choose to get a military symbol for the branch we serve in, a cross, a scripture, a mural of grandma, picture of nature, a cool meaningless design, or anything positive or honoring. I don’t believe anywhere in the true spirit of Christianity or the holy bible would suggest it is wrong (or a sin).

However, God probably won’t smile if we choose to get something that says sacrifice babies to the devil or a skull with three sixes on the forehead. However, if someone has something like this it really doesn’t define who they are or what their heart is about. I am sure TONS of individuals have tattoos just because they “look cool” even if the actual image may appear, for lack of a better word… mean.

Always remember the bible says to judge a tree by its fruit.

God bless you for reading. Check out more from Wold Jesus Ministries in our  EBOOK section



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