“To Tattoo,or Not To Tattoo”


Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:28


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



4 thoughts on ““To Tattoo,or Not To Tattoo”

  1. Hey there… Good article and much to consider.Being not only a Christian but also serving the congregation I worship with as an Evangelist this is a question I get asked often , especially since I have tattoos.

    While I don’t recommend anyone go out and get tattoos , I’m not certain that the passages you used can bind the not to with any authority. 1 Corinthians 6:19 deals with sexual immorality. Verses 12-20 speak directly to the reasons why sexual sin is the ONLY sin you can commit against your body (the vs 18) thus excluding everything else.

    The same is true with Hebrews 10:16 – It doesn’t really fit here , nor do the OT passages since those were specific commands to a specific people and we are no longer bound to the OT….If we are going to bind some of , then we have to bind all of it.(Galatians 3)

    While I agree that people probably shouldn’t get tattoos due to poor judgement and the appearance it puts out there – Not liking them is not a reason to incorrectly us scripture to bind someone to not do so.

    • I was not my intent to “bind” anything on any one. I shared some passages one might want to consider before getting tattooed. In my article I said it was a matter of conscience. Nowhere did I bind anything on anyone. It is important to think, before you ink. You’ll also notice in the article I said that it was my personal opinion that christians should not get tattoos. Nothing was said with authority, or intent to bind anything on anyone.

      • Understood , and my apologies for misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions . It’s been a bit of a hot button around my area and i probably read that with prejudice .

        Again , I do think it was a well written article with much to consider.


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