The subject of tattoos is controversial since people have different views regarding them. It is worth discussing since Christians wonder whether tattoos are wrong. Can people with tattoos go to heaven?
It is possible that tattooed people can go to heaven since no Bible verse suggests otherwise. When we look at the scriptures, the condition for going to heaven is to receive the gift of salvation, as explained in Romans 10:9. This verse says, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
What does the Bible say about tattoos? Does God approve of tattoos? Why do Christians think tattoos are secular? These are some of the questions that this article covers. By the end of it, one can also learn whether tattoos violate the body as a temple of God. Read on to find out more!
What does the Bible say about tattoos?
The Bible mentions getting tattoos only in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament. Leviticus 19:28 says You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead, or tattoo yourselves, I am the Lord.
Though this is the only verse in the Bible that directly mentions tattoos, some Christian scholars also quote other Bible verses when teaching about tattoos. For instance, they quote Romans 12:2, which says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The book of Deuteronomy 14:1 also talks about tattoos. It says Ye are the sons of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. Since the New Testament does not directly say that getting a tattoo is a sin, this topic falls under the category of a gray area.
Does God approve of tattoos?
Christians have differing opinions when it comes to this. Those that argue that God disapproves of tattoos quote the book of Leviticus 19:28. In this verse, God gave his people this command to guide them on how they should live. God wanted them to separate themselves from the ways of the pagans.
During this period, the pagans used to mark their bodies with tattoos. Since this was a form of idol worship, God gave them this command to remind them that He should be worshiped. This is further explained in Exodus 20:3, which says, You shall have no other gods before me.
A group of scholars also believe that God is not against tattoos. Such people argue that nowhere in the New Testament directly talks about tattoos. They believe Leviticus 19:28 does not apply to modern-day Christianity because it is the Old Testament law.
Why do Christians think tattoos are secular?
Many people think tattoos are secular since they associate them with rebels. They believe that getting a tattoo expresses that one is of questionable character and compares rebellion to witchcraft. 1st Samuel 15:23 says, For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.
Some Christians also think tattoos are secular since they are associated with the godless elements of life. Those of this opinion like quoting the book of James 4:4, which says, You adulterous people, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Do tattoos violate the body as a temple of God?
Since the Bible does not allow or imply that tattoos violate the body, It all boils down to individual choices. Christians who believe tattooing is wrong argue that this act violates the body as the temple of God. The Bible suggests that our bodies are the temple of God in Ist Corinthians 6:19-20. This verse says, Or do you not know that your body is the 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.
According to many believers, our bodies were purchased with the blood of Jesus when he died for our sins on the cross. They believe that tattooing violates the body as God’s temple since tattooing the body involves permanently marking it with ink. Such Christians also argue that marking that temple is wrong since it stains the temple of God, and one should keep it pure.
Christians who believe that tattoos violate the body as the temple of God also quote Romans 12:1. This verse says, I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. However, those that do not believe that tattooing is wrong do not believe that this violates the body as the temple of God.
Does the Bible encourage tattoos?
Some scholars argue that the Bible does not encourage tattoos since God forbade it in Leviticus 19:28. On the other hand, others believe that the Bible does not reference tattoos in modern times.
Christians who believe that the Bible does not encourage tattoos quote Leviticus 19:28. In this book, the Bible implies that God gave his people a warning against pagan mourning practices. 1st Kings 18:28 suggests that the Canaanites would customarily slash their bodies for spiritual purposes. This verse says they cried louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives- a ritual common to them until they were covered in blood. They did this to mourn the dead and honor their gods.
Those that believe that the Bible does not make a specific reference to tattoos in modern times argue that there is nowhere in the New Testament that directly talks about tattoos. Since they argue that New Testament believers do not have to follow the Mosaic law, they believe that the Bible neither encourages nor discourages tattoos.
Despite the difference in opinion, what is clear is that a Christian should not get a tattoo for superstitious reasons. Exodus 20:3-4 says You shall not have any other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water underneath.
Can you have tattoos as a Christian?
Getting tattoos is all about Christian liberty. Some Christians get certain tattoos since they believe that the Lord is more interested in the heart, as explained in 1st Samuel 16:7. However, before a Christian gets a tattoo, they should assess whether the tattoo will glorify God. 1st Corinthians 10:31 reminds Christians to use their bodies to glorify God.
Think about the message that the tattoo will relay to the world. It is better to get one of Christian nature, such as a tattoo of the cross of Jesus, than a tattoo of a demon. Some Christians get tattoos that help them share the gospel.
Christians should also consider why they want to get a tattoo. If one wants to do it to stand out or fit in, one should rethink it since this does not glorify God. 1st Corinthians 10:31 says, So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Having a tattoo cannot prevent a Christian from going to heaven since the appearance of the skin is not what determines one’s eternal destination. How you live and treat others matters more than the ink on your skin. Galatians 5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
What are some religious tattoos Christians can get?
Christians can get religious tattoos related to Bible verses. Some famous verses that Christians ink on their bodies include Psalms 23:1, Philippians 4:13, and John 3:16. Psalms 23:1 can remind Christians that if they put faith in God, they shall not lack. This verse says, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Getting a religious tattoo that quotes Philippians 4:13 can remind a Christian where his strength comes from. This verse says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. On the other hand, a tattoo on John 3:16 reminds Christians that they have everlasting life through Jesus’ death on the cross.
Besides bible verses, Christians can also get other religious tattoos like the image of the cross or religious words like hallelujah, love, hope, or faith.
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They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.