A popular belief among Christians suggests that tattooing one’s body is a sin. However, biblical researchers have disputed this claim after conducting in-depth research into the issue by looking at the nativity events that took place when the book of Leviticus was written. For this reason, many Christians have been left wondering, is tattoo a sin?
According to Leviticus 19:28, it is a sin to tattoo your body. However, some people believe that ceremonial laws, including that states in Leviticus 19:28, do not apply to modern Christians. Therefore, they argue that having a tattoo is not a sin. It is a matter of personal conviction to get a tattoo.
Does the Bible condemn Christians from getting tattoos? What does the Church say about tattoos? Why do some Christians believe getting a tattoo is a sin? Does a tattoo violate your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit? Does God care if I have a tattoo? Did Jesus have a tattoo? What are some of the Bible verses about tattoos? Keep reading to learn more!
Does the Bible condemn Christians from getting tattoos?
The idea that the Bible condemns Christians from getting tattoos has been widely debated in society, especially with the steady rise in the number of people with tattoos worldwide.
At the center of this dispute is a verse in the Old Testament that states, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD,” Leviticus 19:28.
Let’s start with the views of those who believe the Bible condemns Christians from getting tattoos. The group argues that, although this verse was addressed to the Israelites, it still applies to Christians because they are children of God.
Being a law book, Leviticus contains instructions or laws that God gave to the Israelites through Moses. This verse, in particular, addresses the Israelites on how they should behave or interact with the pagan societies or nations around them, and it also applies to Christians.
You might ask yourself why God prohibited Israelites from having tattoos. The people belonging to pagan communities near Israel marked themselves with tattoos. God did not want His children to identify themselves with those nations, including their physical looks (having tattoos on their bodies.
Although some might argue that the Bible states that all that God cares about is in a person’s heart rather than how they look on the outside, as stated in 1 Samuel 16:7, as a Christian, it is good to maintain a good outer look.
God calls all Christians to separate themselves from the things of this world. This includes how they live and conduct themselves from an external standpoint. This is because what is on the outside is, most of the time, a representation of what is on the inside. For instance, a woman who wears provocatively is most of the time silently communicating to the men around her a sinful desire she harbors in her heart. Also, individuals who dress in a particular style affirm the practices and practices of cultures associated with the dressing style. For instance, you might knowingly or unknowingly promote the Gothic culture by wearing Goth fashion.
Therefore, because all Christians are children of God, the teachings or law outlined in Leviticus 19:28 still apply to them. Therefore, all Christians should reframe from tattooing their bodies because the Bible condemns it. They support their argument by stating that as a good Christian, one should reframe from only accepting the parts of the Bible that favor their actions and rejecting ones that do not. Also, the Old Testament is still part of the Bible, and the teachings and doctrines taught by its scriptures should be followed, including Leviticus 19:28.
The second group argues that the Ceremonial Law does not apply to modern Christianity. These laws are called chuqqah or hukkim in Hebrew, meaning custom to a nation. They focus their follower’s attention on God and include laws meant to distinguish Israelites from neighboring pagan communities. A perfect example is the law that instructs Israelites not to mark or print marks (tattoo) their bodies.
They use this argument to justify that tattooing one’s body is not a sin. This group supports its argument by stating that the New Testament does not point out whether a believer is right or wrong to tattoo their body. This standpoint argues that getting a tattoo falls in the gray area and that all Christians should follow their convictions on the matter and respect those with differing opinions.
Regardless, it would be odd for a Christian to get a satanic tattoo on their body. Also, you should consider the general principles (biblical) that might apply to the decision to get a tattoo. First, in Ephesians 6:1-2, the Bible states that children should obey their parents. Therefore, the Bible does not support minors’ getting tattoos to rebel against their parent’s wishes. Secondly, a Christian’s body is the temple of God; therefore, as a Christian, one should know at precisely what point tattooing ceases being art and becomes a sinful act.
Last but not least, as a Christian, one is an ambassador of Christ who delivers the good news to the world. Therefore, what message does the tattoo on your body send to the world? Will it guide others toward the light or darkness?
What does the Church say about tattoos?
The Church does not condemn tattoos. For instance, the Catholic Church affirms that ceremonial laws do not apply to modern Christianity. This includes the law stating that God’s children should not tattoo their bodies because it was one of the laws meant to differentiate Israelites from their pagan neighbors.
However, the Church cautions believers against getting tattoos, especially those contradicting their stand as faithful believers in Christ. The Church is also against tattoos born of rebellion. It also cautions that Christians should avoid getting tattoos that cross the line because they are the temple of God. As I have mentioned, it would be wrong for a Christian to get a tattoo of a satanic image.
Why do some Christians believe getting a tattoo is a sin?
Some people believe that getting a tattoo is a sin because they belong to the lot that believes that the law outlined in Leviticus 19:28 still applies to Christians. This group does not subscribe to the belief that ceremonial laws do not apply to modern Christians.
Does a tattoo violate your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit?
Since the law prohibiting Israelites from getting tattoos does not apply to modern Christians, a tattoo does not violate the body as the Holy Spirit’s temple. However, getting tattoos of satanic or obscene images qualifies as a violation of a person’s body as the Holy Spirit’s temple.
Does God care if I have a tattoo?
God does not care if you have a tattoo. However, a demonic or obscene tattoo would offend Him. As an ambassador of Christ, you should cease tattooing your body with images that would not please Him. Doing so disregards His superiority over Satan.
Did Jesus have a tattoo?
Most scholars believe that Jesus did not have a tattoo. In the four gospels, which give a detailed account of all that Jesus did from His birth to His Death, there is no mention of Jesus tattooing or having a tattoo on His body. However, some people believe otherwise. They argue that Revelation 19:16 states that Jesus had a tattoo on His thigh. This verse is a bit controversial because it can also mean that the words “King of Kings and Lord or Lords” were inscribed on the part of His robe covering His Thigh. However, various scholars disagree with this school of thought and interpret it to mean that the writings are inscribed on Jesus’ scarf hanging on the thigh.
Bible verses about tattoos
The only Bible verse about tattoos is Leviticus 19:28, which states, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” This verse is addressed to Israelites and is part of the ceremonial laws that apply to modern Christians.
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.