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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.


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