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What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?
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There is primarily one scriptural reference to what we would consider in our day as tattoos and what the bible says about it. Tattoos have been done by people for time on in. For years I wondered if this was okay to do because growing up, I saw it rampant. I for beginners was scared of tattoos because I did not enjoy self inflicted pain. I also did not care much to show off my body-marks to people; so it made no difference to me if I had one or not. As I became more conscious of the Word of God, I thought perhaps a tattoo for the Most High God would suffice (such as a scripture). I still backed away from that idea because of what I read in the bible.

I had friends with tons of tattoos all over the body and as we began to study deeply the bible, they asked. What does the bible say about tattoos? The main reference is in the book of Leviticus. In chapter 19 (v26-28) the God of Israel outlines things the children of Israel are not to do upon coming into the land He is providing them. Count these as house rules. We should keep in mind that what God has given to His first-born children (Israel) is to be passed onto all nations. This would apply to everyone reading. It says not to eat things with blood, avoid the use of enchantments (witchcraft), or observe times. The twenty-eighth verse is what we’re after.

We are not to make cuts on our bodies for the dead, and (in the King James Version) it says nor print any marks on ourselves. As a child or youngster, this meant NO TATTOOS to me. As I increased my biblical understanding, I still take it as no tattoos. I’m not sure how anyone can get around the term “print any marks.” Now it could be noted that the printing of marks for the dead is the context and I understand that. However, to answer the question of what does the bible say about tattoos, your reference is in Leviticus chapter nineteen and depending on the way you understand (not interpret) the scripture is what it will mean or means to you.

I’ve always been under the belief that I do not own my body. In the real estate boom of during the early and mid parts of the decade 2000 to 2010 (in the USA), there was a term used often called “rent-to-own.” I feel my body is in a ‘rent-to-own” process currently and that I should avoid painting and rehabbing my tabernacle (body) until it is completely mine. I’m not going to say tattoos are wrong, what I will suggest is that you really read that chapter and verse succinctly before you make a decision. For me, I personally cannot get around the phrase, “nor print any marks upon you.” Running this by several different people in a survey, they all related this to tattooing of the body today.

What does the bible say about tattoos? It says do not print marks upon you. What that means to you is what it means to you. To me (and the bible study ministry) it means keep my best tattoo ideas on paper until the Kingdom Come. God bless you in Jesus name, Amen.


Street Talk

Well written article, and though I come to a different conclusion on tattoos, I really appreciate how you use SCRIPTURE as your authority and not merely man's logic. Thanks for that. I have two tattoos - a small cross and "ECCL 12:13" on my ankles. The first is the cross from my wedding program - reminding me of my covenant with the LORD and my wife. The second is to remind me that all is vanity and chasing after the wind except for Him. I got tattoos with a clear conscience because I believe that the passage indicates the significance of tattoos to the children of Israel was in idol worship. Thanks again for a great article.

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  about 1 decade ago
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