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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 


Tattoos – Are they OK for Christians to have?

Tattoos have seen a (fairly) recent resurgence, in so much that it’s not just people of selected groups or niches, such as the stereotypical niche groups such as bikers, prostitutes etc, but moving into mainstream society where almost everyone appears to be getting a tattoo (or tattoos).

I’ve had a conversation with a young Christian lady who, presumably along with guidance from her youth pastor, has obtained a tattoo and is also under the impression that it’s OK for Christians to get a tattoo. So much so that she was surprised when questioned by a non believer who asked her, ‘How can you get a tattoo when you’re a Christian?’

Of course – whether we get a tattoo – and whether it’s right or not in a biblical sense to get a tattoo, is not something which is a salvation matter! Salvation itself is obtained by believing on Christ Jesus, and not of works. Still, as born again believers, we want to live right by God, because we are under conviction to do so, because we want to have joy in our salvation, because we want to at least try to present a good testimony to others, and hopefully to build up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20).

When we look at the scriptures, we find a direct reference to tattoos in the Old Testament, in Levicitus,
“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:28.
Of course, this scripture on it’s own would condemn tattoos, but it’s important to look at the full scripture surrounding it, which is this,
‘Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.’ – Leviticus 19:26-28.
Of course, there’s a few things here – it’s not sinful for a man to trim or indeed shave his beard, nor is it necessarily sinful for a man to shave his head, so of course, going by the logic, nor would it be sinful for one to obtain a tattoo (or tattoos) – but there is a few things we should look at – one of these being, are we still subject to the Old Testament laws?

The Old Testament Laws and The Christian

‘For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.’ – Romans 6:14
It’s true that as born again believers, we are no longer under condemnation of the Law – the Law was fulfilled by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His applying of His blood on to the mercy seat in Heaven, that is, by believing on Jesus for remission of sins, we are washed clean of our sins and we are saved – we’re no longer under condemnation of the law but we’re free. We don’t have to tithe, to sacrifice animals and such – priestly laws were fulfilled by the High Priest, the son of God, Jesus.

However, the moral laws of God do not change, because God does not change. As Christians we should not lie, cheat, steal etc. Of course a person can do this and still be saved, but they will likely suffer punishment in a few ways: displeasing God therefore being chastised, the double punishment of suffering from this sin, having a poor testimony, losing rewards in Heaven etc.

So it’s worth looking at what Leviticus 19:26-28 was referring to.

Leviticus 19:26-28 – the context

The context of the Leviticus scripture, was that during that time, Egyptians would, ‘round the corners’ of their beards and such things, with the ide being that God’s people would therefore be separate from them – by not engaging in their heathen customs. Of course, such things as enchantments, divinations, cuttings of the flesh for the dead, are clearly satantic. The context of it was to be SEPERATE. Here is what the New Testament says about this,
‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,’ – 2 Corinthians 6:17
Tattoos in the Old Testament were associated with pagan practices, but are they any different from today?




(The above image representing the ‘666’)

– tattoos are still very much associated with worldly, ungodly things – hard core rock music, bikers gangs, partying, fornication, drinking etc. Tattoo art, even today, is often associated with (Celtic) pagan imagery, satanic imagery and so on.  Even tattoo parlours are creepy.  I am not trying to be a prude! It’s just the way it is.

Having a tattoo could still be said to be immoral, and it isn’t being separate from them (2 Corinthians 6:17)
‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,’ – 2 Corinthians 6:17
A couple of other scriptures in the New Testament to consider,
‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
It’s clear that tattoos are not the image one would associate with Christians (indeed, as mentioned from earlier in this subject by the unbeliever to the believer), and by all accounts, tattoos very much do have the appearance of evil. It’s not just the tattoos themselves (which has a huge bearing), but the tattoo shops are often creepy, full of pictures of naked women (which people get tattooed onto their bodies), and, often the tattoo artists themselves appear ungodly, by their interests, beliefs and surroundings. Along with the partying, fornicating, heavy metal, and rebellion themes that go along with tattoos, the whole picture - the APPEARANCE of tattoos is not looking good.

Tattoos do have an appearance of evil in their regards.

And furthermore,
‘For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.’ 1 Corinthians 6:20
It's worth asking ourselves are we REALLY glorifying God in our body, by having a permanent mark placed upon it as a tattoo, with all the associations that go with it.
‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ – 1 Corinthians 10:31


Look, no one is perfect, far from it, especially me. However, in regards to myself, making a decision to get a permanent mark, such as a tattoo (and indeed, despite laser surgery, they are often still VERY difficult, and costly, to remove), with all the ramifications that go with it, is not something that I would chose to do. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that tattoos are fine for Christians, considering the moral idea of it in terms of the Old Testament law, but especially, the scriptural teachings in the New Testament, where it is by all accounts, an appearance of evil, which a Christian would really hopefully be looking to avoid, and is not something which honours God.
‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ – 1 Corinthians 10:31
If one were to ask themself the above scripture in good conscience, I think it would be difficult to justify getting a tattoo, other than really just to say – I want one!

Which of course would be far more honest.

What upsets me, is that there are people who are permanently marked through NO CHOICE of their own, that is, they have perhaps been in an accident, perhaps been a victim of an assault and such, that to voluntary mark ourselves does not seem to agree with,
‘For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.’ 1 Corinthians 6:20
When one has a choice in the matter.

Of course, there are many things going on in the world, and whether a Christian decides or decides not to get a tattoo, and the argument that's made is that a tattoo should not really be call for a huge division.  Indeed, there's are many other things going on and we are all sinners saved by grace.

However, to say that there is nothing in the bible to say a Christian is fine to GET a tattoo, is simply not true.

But it is up to the individual in question, but perhaps the truth would be that the individual simply wants a tattoo, regardless, however, all it takes is little steps at a time to reach something far out from where you started, which leads to,

Continuing From The Tattoo

 - Observation

It's been my observation, that the same people who say or lead you to think it's OK to get a tattoo as a Christian, are the same people who wear jewellery, whether it's ear rings or nose rings, and tend to follow on with other things, such as their music styles, those they socialise with, the clothes they wear and their outlooks, and their appearance,.
'Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?' (1 Corithians 11:14)
In the case of women, they are the same who wear revealing clothes (such as short skirts) which is not a consideration to others, as it's women tempting men to be lead astray - even if it is just by thoughts, by use of their bodies.

The bible teaches for women to attract men to their character, not their bodies
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves” (1st Peter 3:3-5).
'In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;' (1 Timothy 2:9)
We all have to make our own choices as to what's pleasing to God, using the Bible and through prayer, but there is no need to get carnal at least in this sense, we can get through life quite easily without being so - at least in matters pertaining to how we dress, how we style ourselves, how we present ourselves and tempt others, and the influence on our character by growing in grace, and therefore our influence on others and to be a better servant for God and a better mate to our partner and less of a burden to others, because we will be caring.  Appearance DOES matter to God, because it reflects the heart, our respect for God and its impacts on others too.  I've heard it being said that a woman should be able to dress how she pleases, that may be the case, but if she pleases to dress in such a way to attract attention to her body, that is, married men are drawn to look at her, maybe tempted to commit adultery, and if she does not care - it's your problem, what does that say about what she thinks about others, herself, and her parents and partner?


16th June 2017


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