What does the Bible say about Tattoos?
A reader once suggested that I give my opinion on tattoos. Getting a tattoo is generally a burning desire of most twenty-somethings. However, it seems to be any age group these days. We’re all searching for a way to express ourselves but what does the Bible say about tattoos?
When we think of the Bible, we see it from a spiritual standpoint, but the Bible is much more than that. By only focusing on the spiritual, we tend to miss things.
For instance, if you mention getting a tattoo, a well-meaning person might say, “Your body is the temple of God, you wouldn’t put graffiti on God’s temple. Would you?” Then, they will go on to say that the Bible states specifically that you can’t get a tattoo. This is true. It does say that in Leviticus 19:28:
“You must not make any cuts in your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”
Case closed, right? There it is, in black and white. Let me ask you something, do you eat seafood? Do you love shellfish? Lobster? Prawn? How about crab? I know, I know… I love it too. We grew up with these dishes. Did you know that in the same book that tells the Israelites not to get tattoos, it also tells them to not eat shellfish? Check this out, Leviticus 11:9-12:
9Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales–whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water–you are to detest. 11And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses. 12Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.
It’s a bit odd, don’t you think? Why on earth would God forbid us from eating anything without fins and scales? And let’s be honest, these critters are delicious.
God designed a self-regulating system. Everything within creation has a purpose and maintains balance in the system. They all have a job to do. Shellfish are the cleanup crew. They are the garbagemen. Basically, they are the roaches of the ocean. Did you know that if they wanted to test the mercury levels in the water, they would use the shellfish to determine the toxicity levels? (Check out, “The Makers Diet” by Jordan S. Rubin)
Don’t even get me started on Pork… Read the book.
Think about it, this was over a thousand years before the modern tests that we have now. This information had to come from our Creator. God is practical, He created everything and He knows how the system works.
Consider this, doctors didn’t even believe in washing their hands in the late 1800s which led to many deaths in childbirth due to Puerperal fever. That’s like under 200 years ago. Leviticus was written, well over a thousand years ago. Can you imagine the diseases spread through tattoos back then?
The Graffiti Argument
Riddle me this, if we wouldn’t put Graffiti on God’s temple, surely, we wouldn’t put junk inside it? Going by that logic, junk food is worse.
Oh no, you didn’t…. Oh yes, I did. ????
Hello Operator? I’d like to report shots fired…. Yes, on Joshua’s Outpost.
To play the graffiti card, you must be something else. I’m talking built like a rock! Six pack and the works. Not even a six-pack, I’m talking about even the two bonus abs…. Seven & eight. Okay, okay, calm down, I’m just teasing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… You’re saying, “Clint, you’re on their side because you have a tattoo.” Well, no I don’t have one. I’ll admit that back in the day, I wanted a tattoo but I know better.
Dude, I have Facebook memories that I regret. Have you ever seen a post from way back and you’re like… What was I thinking? If I can regret a Facebook post, I know I’ll regret a tattoo. I know me, I’ll see something like a gadget and really really want it, then once I get it… The novelty wears off quickly. But hey, that’s me… If you also have those tendencies, a tattoo might be a little too permanent for you.
Why are my parents freaking out?
Parents tend to freak out when their kids ask for a tattoo. Their only defense is… “Because the Bible says so!” We’ve already discussed what the Bible says so let me give it to you from your parent’s perspective. As a parent, I know that my child, like everyone else, will face discrimination and obstacles in life. People will judge you on where you’re from, your pigmentation, your beliefs, your gender… You name it, people always find a way to discriminate.
Unfortunately, most of these things can’t be helped but your parents really wish you wouldn’t add to that list. Simply because they want you to have as many opportunities as possible. Let’s be honest, tattoos were viewed negatively and still are by certain people but the perception is changing. People now see it as self-expression instead of an indicator of unruliness.
However, having a tattoo comes with accepting the good with the bad. If people are going to judge you on it, you need to take it in your stride and not whine about it. Yes, I know that we have no right to judge but guess what, people do that. We live in an incredibly complex world where we have to make decisions with incomplete information.
First impressions play a part in helping us make those decisions. They look at you and make generalizations based on their past experiences or what they’ve been taught. You’re an adult, you made the decision to get a tattoo, you need to own it. If you’re going to pull your face about some people judging you before getting to know you, you might not be ready to get one.
So that is my opinion on tattoos. Ultimately, it’s your decision. Don’t rush into anything.
My goal is to emulate Jesus and follow his example but if all else fails, I’ll be like David. A writer, a man after God’s own heart and someone not to be trifled with.
I believe in discussing life in a candid (unfiltered), no holds barred manner that stimulates personal growth.
I spend my spare time creating content that is informative, entertaining and that will help others in their personal development.
The Hustle is a project that focuses on career and purpose.
I also have a cooking vlog called Passing it on which is on Facebook and YouTube.
In matters of faith, I contribute to this ministry.