What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos and Body Piercing?

You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28).

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is  good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2).

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1Corinthians 6:19-20).

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:13, NIV).

6 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos and Body Piercing?

      • Isaiah 49:14-16 14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. 16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

        This verse is traditionally understood as referring to the marks that were made when entering into a covenant with another that would serve as a reminder of the terms of the covenant, and that found their fulfillment in the marks on Christ’s hands from being nailed to the cross. I think it is a bit of a stretch to interpret the mark referred to as a tattoo.

      • That ‘tattoo’ is the nails He took for you; it doesn’t make it right in any way to have tatoos, if you think it is, try driving nails through your wrist and I think you’ll find it’s not right.

    • NAS Isaiah 44:5 “This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the LORD,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.

      Writing on the hand isn’t necessarily a tattoo, and a tattoo is typically understood as more than just writing on the hand. Just as the beast in revelation marks those who belong to him (Rev 13:16-17), so does God mark those who belong to Him (Eze 9:4, Rev 7:3). Whereas the mark of the world is a worldly mark, the mark of God is a spiritual mark; cf. the tefillin commanded of the Jews in Deut 6:8 as a physical symbol of a deeper spiritual reality.

      Tattoos are no more worldly or sinful than many other practices that people of the world and even many who claim to follow Christ engage in. But God calls us out of the world into His kingdom of righteousness to be a separate and holy people who will be a light to others. That isn’t to say that people with tattoos cannot be saved or Christians with tattoos are lesser saints. God is able to redeem anyone and use them for His glory to accomplish His purposes, as he did with the apostle Paul who considered himself the worst of sinners. But it does mean that like Paul there needs to be a true repentance from the way we were walking in the world, to walking in the light of the truth. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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