Christians getting tattoos is a controversial topic. In fact, many Christians have grappled with the tattoo issue. Nowadays, tattoos are indeed making a huge comeback in the present day culture. From teens to housewives, they’re now appearing almost everywhere even amongst Christians. So then is it right for Christians to get tattoos?
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible’s teaching on tattoos is quite complex, not because it is hard to comprehend, but rather because it is a ‘side issue’ that the scripture doesn’t address directly. There’s one passage which seems to teach against tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 says ‘you shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.’
With just a simple reading of this, it appears that tattoos are forbidden in the Bible. However, if it is true that they are forbidden under Leviticus, we must recall that the Leviticus laws were issued to the Nation of Israel, not the Body of Christ.
Nine verses earlier (Leviticus 19:19) the people of Israel were also commanded to avoid missing the fibers in garments: Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.
This means if anyone considers a tattoo sinful, he or she should have to toss all their polyester/cotton clothing too!
Applying Other Biblical Principles
There are other scriptures in the Bible that talk about tattooing as well. One of them is avoiding offense and failing to lead others to violate their own consciences in uncertain matters.
Romans 14 says you should not “do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak (in terms of conscience).’ As there are a lot of people in Church who consider tattooing your body as a sin, it is sometimes seen as a good reason to get a tattoo. However, according to the scripture, Christians are not free to stumble anyone else. We need to be wise enough when we are applying our freedom without causing anyone to stumble.
The key point is that everyone is free and because of the fructification of Jesus Christ what we touch or do become sanctified. Likewise, if getting a tattoo is considered to be a sinful act because of the connection it has with some pagans in the Old Testament, we thereby have nothing to do with it.
The great news of the New Testament is that the Old Testament laws no longer bind the Christians. Avoiding tattoos does not make you righteous – Christ’s death does!
Before getting a tattoo, read Psalm 139 to remind yourself that God thinks you are beautiful with or without embellishments. You should also keep in mind that the tattoo you get now is likely to look like an amorphous blob when the skin wrinkles of age.
You should also consider motives for getting tattoos. Some of us get them to rebel against authority. In case this is the reason, you should remember that all things are permissible but all things are not beneficial (first Corinthians 10:23).
In conclusion, you do not have to worry a lot on how you decorate your skin (exterior) as long as you devote the interior to Christ.