Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.
We had a discussion in Bible class recently about tattoos. Whether or not christians should get them. Certainly there are many christians that feel there is no harm in getting a tattoo, as well as there are many that believe it to be sinful to mark up your body in such a way. My personal opinion is that christians should not get tattooed.
Under the Old Law God forbade tattooing as well as cutting one’s body. This was because such things were part of the pagan cultures that surrounded His people. It was part of their religion to mark their bodies to pay homage to their ancestors and their gods, it was a form of idolatry. Just as God’s people under the old law were not to indulge in idolatry, so today we are not indulge in idolatry.
Certainly there are those that have gotten tattoos before coming to Christ, and they are stuck with those choices made prior to their conversion. But, those tattoos represent their past, not who they are now. Many, after coming to Christ regret the tattoos from their past and what they represent because they represent things that are no longer apart of who they are now.
Yet, there are those that decide to get tattoos as a follower of Christ, for many different reasons. They get tattoos of scriptures, family members, pets, and objects that represent something significant in their lives and so on. Some even get tattoos that can only be seen under certain kinds of light, that are otherwise nearly invisible. Many are done with good intentions. But…
Are tattoos pleasing to God? I think that is the question that needs to be asked. As a christian, one should ask themselves that question before putting the needle and ink to their skin. When this question is asked it makes one cognisant of the choice they are about to make. When this question is asked, then one has to ask would this tattoo bring glory to God, me, someone else, or something else? All this should be considered before making a decision.
There are a couple of passages I also think are important to consider before a christian gets a tattoo. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
And Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
As christians, our bodies are not our own to do with as we please, and that his word is to be written on our minds and in our hearts, not on our skin. To tattoo, or not to tattoo comes down it being a matter of conscience. When it comes to matters of conscience, it always good to err on the side of caution. I don’t think God has changed his mind about tattoos.
© 2016 Leo J. Woodman