Getting a tattoo has become a common trend in this modern era. This topic is worth discussing since many Christians wonder whether getting a tattoo is wrong. Christians follow the example of Jesus Christ and seek to lead a life similar to His. With tattoos being common in the world and more Christians conforming to this trend, many cannot help but wonder, did Jesus have a tattoo?
Revelation 19:16 says, On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name written king of kings and Lord of Lords. However, this does not clearly state that Jesus had a tattoo. Since he was bound by the Mosaic law, he would not have a tattoo.
What does the Bible say about tattoos? Does revelation say Jesus had a tattoo? What did Jesus say about tattoos? These are some of the questions that this post will answer. By the end of it, one can also learn whether the Bible forbids Christians from having a tattoo. Read on to find out more.
What does the Bible say about tattoos?
The Old Testament law is against tattoos, as explained in Leviticus 19:28. The reason tattoos were prohibited in the Old Testament is that pagans used to mark their skin with the name of a false god.
Since this was a form of idolatry, God demanded his children be different and reminded them in Leviticus that he was the Lord and they were not to worship any other gods but Him. Though New Testament believers don’t have to follow the Mosaic Law, the Bible suggests they should not get tattoos to promote worldly philosophy.
Does revelation say Jesus had a tattoo?
Though some assume that Rev 19:16 means that Jesus had a tattoo, this is inaccurate. This verse is filled with symbolism. Before verse 16, Revelation 19: 12-13 says, And his eyes are a flame of fire and upon his head are many diadems. And he has a name written which no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name he is called is the Word of God. Verse 15 says that there is a sword coming out of his mouth.
This scripture talks about the vision of John concerning the Battle of Armageddon. In his vision, Jesus rides from heaven on a white horse. Revelation 19 from 12-16 is symbolic, and Christians should not take it literally and assume that Jesus had a tattoo.
While some Christian scholars argue that the name written on Jesus’ thigh is figurative, others believe that these words were written on his robe and not directly on his skin. They argue that Jesus did not have a tattoo since these words were written on the section of his robe which covered his thigh.
Since Jesus was keen on following the Mosaic Law, this argument makes sense since he could not get a tattoo and violate the law. He was a Jew, and the Jewish law was clear on getting tattoos. Mathew 5:17 says, Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
What did Jesus say about tattoos?
Since there is no mention of tattoos in the New Testament, Jesus did not directly say anything about tattoos. The Bible forbids tattoos in the Old Testament. Though Jesus did not say anything about tattoos, some people assume that he had one on his thigh, but there is no clarity about this.
Does the Bible forbid Christians from having a tattoo?
The Bible warns Christians about getting tattoos in Leviticus 19:28. Though society seems to approve of tattoos, God does not like them. Even though the New Testament does not directly forbid Christians from having a tattoo, it calls them to a higher law and tells them to glorify God in their bodies.
One of the ways you can glorify God in your body is by not getting permanent markings on it. Christians ought to keep the temple of God pure. The Bible warns Christians on defiling the body in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 which 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.
Are tattoos secular?
Tattoos are not entirely secular since some have been connected to spiritual matters since time immemorial. Even before the days of Leviticus, some religions have been getting tattoos for different reasons. For instance, the pagans used to get tattoos as part of their religion.
According to the practices of pagan nations, they used to mark their bodies for the dead. This was a sign of idol worship, and God forbade it. However, some tattoos are secular since they are unrelated to religious matters. For instance, some tattoos are made for medical purposes, like guiding a surgeon in making an incision, while some are used for decoration.
Can Christians have tattoos?
Since the Bible does not say that getting tattoos is a sin, it is a matter of Christian freedom. Christians looking to get a tattoo should let biblical principles guide them. You should also think about why you want to get inked in the first place. For instance, if you want to get a tattoo to draw attention, then this is not right. 1st Peter 3 says, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. Verse 4 says it should be that of your inner self.
Christians should also avoid getting tattoos for reasons such as to stand out or fit in since this can make them fall short of the glory of God. God focuses on the heart, and our motivation for everything we do should be to glorify him, as explained in 1st Corinthians 10:31.
Some Christians argue that having tattoos gives them more credibility and can promote evangelism. For instance, getting a tattoo that says Jesus saves is not wrong since it preaches the gospel. Before getting one, a Christian should ask for wisdom from God. Ask him to provide pure motives, and he will give them to you, as explained in James 1:5.
What Bible verses talk about tattoos?
In Leviticus 19:28, it is written, You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you, I am the Lord. This is the only verse that directly prohibits getting tattoos.
Romans 12:1 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. Deuteronomy 12:4 says, Do not worship the Lord your God in that way. This verse warns Christians about worshiping God as the pagans did by getting tattoos.
Galatians 5:17 says, For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Christian scholars that are against tattoos also quote John 7:24, which says, Do not judge by appearances but judge with the right judgment.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.