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What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

What does the Bible say about tattoos? Is it for or against? Let’s explore….

What does the Bible Say About Tattoos?

Churches, Preachers and Evangelist have all given their position on tattoos. But what does the Bible say about tattoos? During this article we have done our best to answer many of todays questions regarding the subject while remaing unbiased and taking a Biblical look into the subject.


Tattoos: Are They Good or Bad?

In Christian circles, however, there’s a division among different denominations. What does the Bible say about tattoos? Read on as we share with you the insights we can glean from the Bible and shed some light on it to gain a proper perspective about tattoos.

Is It Sinful to Get a Tattoo?

To answer it directly, no. Tattoos and the act of getting one are not sinful in themselves. The Bible doesn’t give a black-and-white directive on tattoos; it doesn’t condemn it, neither does it promote it. Similar to issues like drinking alcohol and prescribing skirts for women, this is one of those gray areas.

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

Can We See Tattoos in the Bible?

The most common biblical reference about tattoos is in Leviticus 19:28, which states:

Some Christians tend to be dogmatic and isolate the word “tattoo”, then condemn every tattooed individual they see.

Unfortunately, this verse has been interpreted out of context. The word “tattoo” was not yet part of the English language before the late 1700s, and its translation in the King James Version (KJV) was “print marks.” If we make a more profound study of the text, we’ll discover the background of the text.


Why God Condemned It In the Old Testament

The reason God forbade skin markings before was not for aesthetic reasons but for its spiritual implication at that time. You see, it was part of the Canaanites’ ritualistic customs to brand, slash or gash their skin, in honor of their gods and goddesses.

Israel is God’s chosen people, and there’s a reason why He placed them at the center of the nations. The reason was so that this nation will represent His holiness and righteousness. The nation’s mission is part of the Abrahamic covenant, wherein God promised to be faithful on the premise that Israel will be faithful to the first commandment, which is to love God above anything else.


The practice of scarring oneself, however, was a manifestation that some people have devoted themselves to the worship of other gods. This is the principal reason why God released His mandate in Lev. 19:28 – to forbid idolatry-associated scarification, and not the tattooing itself.

Should a Christian Get a Tattoo?

Only the Old Testament provides us with an event where tattoos were particularly involved. The New Testament is silent on this but it still provides crucial biblical principles to guide us in all walks of life.


A study on 752 photos of tattoos taken at a Christian university in the US showed that almost 20% of these tattoos are faith-centered (e.g., Bible passages, religious images, religious phrases)Source:

Not a Rebellious Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a matter of personal decision, but when taking Scriptures into the equation, Ephesians 6:1-2 says, “Children are to honor and obey their parents”. What this means is that when deciding on a tattoo, it’s essential to talk about it with your family first.

It’s All About the Message

Tattoos are not just a form of art, but they convey a message. Thus, before having a tattoo, ask yourself this question: What message do I want to tell the world with my tattoo? Bear in mind that tattoos are nearly permanent, and they will stay with you until the very end.


The Bible has a lot to say about tattoos and body art, and it has been a topic of much debate among Christians for centuries. While some see tattoos as a form of self-expression and a way to honor one’s faith, others view them as a mark of rebellion against God’s commands.

Does The Bible Forbid Tattoos?

In Leviticus 19:28, the Bible states, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” This verse is often cited as evidence that tattoos are forbidden in the Bible. However, it’s important to note that the context of this verse is about mourning practices that were common in ancient times and were associated with pagan worship.

close up photo of person with tattoos

It’s also worth mentioning that many of the laws in Leviticus were cultural in nature and applied specifically to the ancient Israelites. For example, the same chapter includes laws about how to grow crops, what kind of clothing to wear, and how to treat slaves. So while this verse may have been intended to discourage certain practices that were associated with idol worship, it’s possible that it doesn’t apply directly to the modern practice of getting tattoos.

That being said, Christians have a long tradition of interpreting Leviticus 19:28 as a commandment against tattoos, and many still believe that getting tattoos is a sin. They argue that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and that tattooing it is a form of defilement.

On the other hand, others argue that the Bible doesn’t explicitly prohibit tattoos, and that as long as they are not used for idol worship or to express rebellious or sinful behavior, they are acceptable. They point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t mention tattoos specifically, and that its commands against cutting and marking the body were intended to distinguish the Israelites from their pagan neighbors.

photo of left arm with tattoo

Ultimately, the decision to get a tattoo is a personal one, and each person must weigh the potential spiritual implications of this form of body art. Whether or not tattoos are biblically acceptable, Christians should always strive to glorify God with their bodies and honor Him in all they do.

In conclusion, the Bible doesn’t give a clear answer on whether or not tattoos are acceptable, and different Christians may have different interpretations of what the Bible says about this topic. However, what is clear is that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should always strive to honor God in all we do, including the way we choose to adorn our bodies.

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