|FAQ ID # 587|
|Last Update : 2008/04/16
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|Question / Issue|
|What does the Bible say about tattoos, even ones with a Christian meaning? Does God say that they are wrong?|
|Answer / Solution|
Q: What does the Bible say about tattoos? Should
Christians get tattoos?
A: To tattoo or not to tattoo, that’s the question. Well let’s see what the Bible says about this hotly debated issue.
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.
Seems pretty straightforward but some say this verse refers to pagan religious customs and was only a prohibition against tattoos of foreign gods or idols. Maybe, so for clarity it’s sometimes beneficial to discover what those, to whom the passage was written, understand it to mean. From Moses to today tattoos have been unacceptable in Jewish culture as explained by Rabbi Joshua Cypess: “For many years, a tattoo was a sign of religious rebellion, of going against the Torah and denying the existence of God.” Well, I guess Jews think it means what it says!
However as we further investigate the truth there are a couple of verses that are often used to support an end to the ban on tattoos. Let’s look.
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
The word, “write” was correctly understood to mean mark or tattoo and as the 6th century Greek historian, Procopius, noted on this place in Isaiah, “Many Christians imitated the practice by marking their wrist or their arm with the sign of the cross or with the name of Christ.” However even though “write” means mark the scripture isn’t endorsing tattoos, it’s only a neutral observation of the reaction of some people to the restoring of
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
This time Jesus is doing the writing so tattoos must be OK, right? Unfortunately “write” doesn’t mean tattoo it’s a figure of speech indicating the believer in Jesus securely belongs to God.
It’s apparent that O.T. law prohibited tattoos. Furthermore we find no clear reversal of that prohibition in the N.T. which could lead us to believe that tattoos are still a no-no for today.
Wait just a minute, we aren’t OT Jews, we’re Christians and aren’t we under Grace, you ask? Yes but Grace doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want, it means Jesus did for us what we couldn’t, which was not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it so we could be reconciled to God the Father. However since Jesus has fulfilled the law there are some ceremonial aspects of it that are no longer in effect today for instance the whole sacrificial system, dietary restrictions and yes probably even tattoos. I think it’s time for a Bible verse.
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Well I guess that settles it, what was once ceremonially unlawful or unclean is no longer because of Grace. Time for another Bible verse
1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
This is a very st
· Consider the health risks of tattooing. According to the National Institute of Envi
I’ve led you through some basic truths found in God’s Word so your decision about tattoos would be principled and not just can I or can’t I.
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