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Tattoos #1 - Jeffrey asks, & Biblebell replies
Tattoos #2 - Kim's comments
Tattoos #3 - Jeremy's comments
Tattoos #4 - Rich's comments
Tattoos #5 - Naomi's comments
Tattoos #6 - Katrina's comments
Tattoos #7 - Paul's comments
Tattoos #8 - Seth's comments
Tattoos #9 - Brett's Comments
Tattoos #10 - Travis' comments
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#1 Does the Bible Command Against Getting a Tattoo?

Jeffrey writes - I would like to know, if someone has a tattoo on their body, does that mean they committed a sin?

I am thinking of getting one, but of course it will not have any demonic scriptures or symbols, just something small and nice on my arm.
Dear Jeffrey,

Based on the verse quoted below, the Bible does command AGAINST getting a tattoo...
(God said...) You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD. Lev 19.28

In Bible days, people often wore tattoos because they felt they would bring good luck, or protect against evil spirits, or other such superstitions. Others wore them to display religious symbols, or to signify that they belonged to certain groups or castes.

Someone might say, "That was then, but this is now. Customs have changed."

Partly true...

  • Nowadays some people -- mainly males -- obtain tattoos purely to demonstrate that they are "macho" (I'm pretty sure tattooing HURTS).
  • Some get tattoos because of a dare, &/or when they are inebriated.
  • Others just like to decorate themselves, for the same reasons that some people wear jewelry or lipstick or pretty neckties.

However, it is also a fact that tattoos are still worn as idolatrous symbols by certain pagan religions, cults, criminal gangs, etc.

Moreover, it is also true that Hepatitis C, AIDS, and other communicable diseases have been known to be transmitted by tattoo needles.

While I am sure that you would not attach any religious significance to your tattoo -- only wanting it for decoration and beauty -- it is possible that having a tattoo could detract from your Christian witness or even be dangerous to your health.

As for those who want to say that the Bible command quoted above is "historically/culturally inapplicable to Christians today" -- I leave them to wrestle with God and their own consciences.

But I would point out to them yet another Bible command -- a command that has NO historical/cultural constraints whatsoever. It is this...

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10.31

Tattoos #2 Kim's Comments

Dear sir,
About your answer to the tattoo, I would like to comment that the verse you chose was in reference to cutting your skin (as some did when they worshiped idols) and graving images more in the demonic sense. It was not referring to all tattoos.

In fact, I believe there is one Scripture in the Old Testament where God commands the Israelites to grave the commandments upon them but I am not sure since I could not find it. (See Bible Bell Note in next panel.)

I will ask you this -- if Jesus condemns tattoos, why does He wear one? In Rev. 19:16 it says "on his vesture and on his thigh written Lord of Lords and King of Kings."

I had done some research a while ago and found out in that Scripture it was referring to a "graven name" or a tattoo. In fact some Bibles translate "written" as "tattoo."

I do NOT think it is wrong to get a tattoo as long as it is not some demonic thing. To get a cross or fish to remind one's self of what Jesus has done for us is awesome, and if Jesus were standing right here (well He is, I just can't see Him) then He would condone, rather than condemn Jeffrey.

So get your tattoo Jeffrey, you aren't doing anything wrong.
Sincerely and tattooless, Kim
Bible Bell Note: The passage Kim refers to is probably Deu 6.8-9. It calls for the use of "frontlets" -- not tattoos. Frontlets were little containers, into which tiny copies of the Commandments were inserted.

As to the passage in Rev 19.16, it is doubtful that the words on Jesus' thigh will be put there by some tattoo "artist" using a needle and ink; but rather by an act of God. In this verse, the word translated "written" is
grapho, defined as follows by Strong...

1125 grapho
a primary verb; to "grave", especially to write; figuratively, to describe:--describe, write(-ing, -ten)

Tattoos #3 Jeremy's comments

My name is Jeremy. I'm 19, and I am a hardcore, sold-out-for-the-Lord Christian.

I try to die daily to my flesh and live in the Spirit. I dig deep in the Word daily and meet God daily and pray without ceasing throughout the day.

I have tattoos and they are all Christian -- pictures of Christ (or what we think He looked like) and one that says not ashamed, with a cross as the "t".

As to your verse, 1 Cor 10:31 -- with my "Christian" tattoos I am glorifying God with them and have been able to use them for numerous witnessing opportunities to people with and without tattoos.

1 Cor 6:20 says, "you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." This is what I am doing.

Also in reference to the Lev 19.28 -- if you're going to use that, then I guess we can't wear clothing woven of 2 kinds of material, nor plant our fields with 2 different seeds, nor cut the hair at the sides of our heads, or clip the edges of our beards. But we don't have to worry about all that because Christ came to do away with Levitical law, and with His death He made a new covenant and a New Testament.

Jesus is the New Testament. Thank you for listening.

Christ's soldier,

Tattoos #4 - Rich's comments

Rich begins by quoting a portion of Kim's response...

"I do NOT think it is wrong to get a tattoo as long as it is not some demonic thing. To get a cross or fish to remind one's self of what Jesus has done for us is awesome."

Rich's response to Kim - Okay, come on.

  • Isn't the Word of God here to remind us what Jesus has done for us?
  • Whenever you partake of Communion, isn't that a reminder of what Jesus has done?
  • If you need a tattoo to remind you of the sacrifice that Jesus did for you, then are you in essence saying that God's Word is insufficient?

Again I say, Come on! John says that the Holy Spirit bears witness to us concerning the things Jesus has done because the Spirit is truth (1 John 5:7). You don't need a tattoo to do this.

Are you going to rely on worldly means to teach you spiritual truth? Enough! I know it would be a lot easier to see a tattoo than to read your Bible -- but which would be better for you in the long run?

Next, Rich quotes a portion of Jeremy's response...
"I have tattoos and they are all Christian -- pictures of Christ (or what we think He looked like) and one that says not ashamed, with a cross as the "t".. .with my "Christian" tattoos I am glorifying God with them and have been able to use them for numerous witnessing opportunities to people with and without tattoos."

Rich's response to Jeremy

Here's another case of trying to justify something by using spiritual principles. If tattoos help me to witness more then why not have it?

  • Well first of all, Noah built an ark in the middle of waterless land and had a multitude of opportunities to witness, yet he received not one convert.
  • Jonah was vomited out from a huge fish onto the land of Nineveh, said a few words and the whole city repented.
  • So what's my point? If we're looking for results, get swallowed by a fish??

Now hey, come on. Whatever happened to a "changed character," "love in action," and "godly living" as tools for witnessing? What are the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, tattoos. . .

You want to really witness? Reflect the life of Jesus in what you do and say and people will see this and will want to know. Don't rely on worldly means to get people to ask about spiritual matters.

Just be honest with yourself -- you wear tattoos because you like it. That's totally fine, but don't throw in the spiritual side of having opportunities to witness. This local boy in Hawaii won't fall for that.


Tattoos #5 - Naomi's comments

To whom it may concern...
I would like to respond to the comments about tattooing and whether or not this practice is sinful. My name is Naomi.

It is true that very often in our culture guys (or girls for that matter) get a tattoo to be macho and to look cool. That is their motivation. I believe that if I were to get a tattoo, God would test my own motives for doing it, not judge me based upon the reasons others are. I also believe that God does not object to his people looking good by "decorating themselves" as long as that decoration (be it clothes, makeup, jewelry or a tattoo) does not detract from their Christian testimony. [As an aside, have you even gotten a tattoo? Rhetorical question - of course not. Neither have I, but I have asked 2 friends (1 male; 1 female) if their tattoos hurt. Both said "not really".]

In reference to the comment that diseases can and have been spread through tattooing: While this is true, there are many places that properly care for their needles and other instruments and are safe to go to.

I appreciate Jeremy's testimony and I think he's on the right track. While I acknowledge BibleBell's stand on this issue, I agree with Jeremy that we are living under a new covenant which Jesus brought - a covenant of freedom and grace rather than a law that cannot save us. The book of Galatians is an amazing one about grace. (Gal 3:2; Gal 5:1)

[Biblebell Comment:
At this point Naomi referenced a link that is outside of Biblebell's scope or policies. We can, however, include Naomi's quotation from that link.

Larry says, "If an Old Covenant command is not repeated in the New, then it is not binding upon the Christian." He cites Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:7-13 in support.

[Biblebell Comment:
The above quotation may or may not be true. The cited verses do not directly and specifically support it. This being the case, the reader should *be a Berean* -- Acts 17.10-11.

So... while having a tattoo could detract from your Christian witness as well as be hazardous to your health, "...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (First Corinthians 10:31). I think Jeffrey needs to test his motives for getting a tattoo and that the best thing he could do is to "attach religious significance to it" and use it as a witnessing tool (while not neglecting love and godly living, as Rich points out). And if it's not a specifically "Christian" tattoo, I still don't think it's wrong as long as it doesn't testify to something God says is wrong.

Your sister in Christ,


Tattoos #6 - Katrina's comments

I know that this is a hot topic. I'm going to start by saying yes, I have a tattoo on my leg. That does not mean it is right or of God.

Sometimes we do things we want to do and justify it by Scripture or saying that the Scripture is not valid. But if it was not valid God would not have left it in the Bible. The Bible is the instruction manual for our lives.

I think in all actuality that a Christian should not get a tattoo. It has its roots in witchcraft and in the worship of other gods. It ancient times it was and now is a sign of rebelliousness. (That is why it is still so controversial ). Tattooing was a sign of leaving one's god. I know now that this is true because at the time my friends and I got our tattoos I decided I was leaving the church. Other youth came with me after the pastor explained why we should not. We were being rebellious.

Also, once you get one you will want another and another. I had to pray hard that God would take that spirit away from me once I got back where I needed to be in God. If not, I would have a body full of tattoos now.

I just have one final thing to say - In everything we do as Christians, we should seek the face of God. I don't know if Jeremy has a tattoo now, but I urge anyone who wants one to diligently pray and ask God in the name of Jesus if He wants you to tattoo your body. He will answer you.



Tattoos #7 - Paul's comments

I have a tattoo, a cross. I've always wanted one because I would have a cross with me wherever I go.

I no longer need to worry about having a cross to worship before, because my body is a living testament to Jesus Christ, just as He commanded it to be.

In Christian love, 4/c Paul B.

Tattoos #8 - Seth's comments

Reason for this e-mail is to talk about the whole tattoo issue. I have three. I am a Pastor and I did get them while being a Pastor. The truth of the matter is that I do think that it is an iffy issue, but it is trivial to argue about such things.

I think that we need to pray to God for ourselves and truly study the Scripture and decide for ourselves. If spiritual leaders and parents tell us no and we do it anyway that is rebellion and the Bible tells us that it is the same as witchcraft.

This is an issue that needs attention, but at the same time we need to stop letting it divide. A house divided against itself will not stand. We are a body of believers that have one huge mission in life and that is to reach the lost of Jesus. Whether tattoos are wrong or right, talk to God and read the Word to find out. Don't argue about it, and get to the more important tasks at hand -- seeking and saving that which is lost. Come on people let's get past this.

In His Grip, Pastor Seth

Tattoos #9 - Brett's comments

I just realized a few things as I read the informational discussion of tattoos...

  • First, most obviously your emails you receive consist of a great deal of students in Christ. I must admit I have plans for 3 glorifying tattoos totally dedicated to my faith in Jesus.
  • The second thing I realized is that although each of these students, like me, have good intentions, your Scripture is one part of many.

I think for the most part, it's your job to witness and share knowledge to those who seem less "knowledgeable" in the word, and you are doing a good job of that.

I think it boils down to what is in a man's (woman's) heart. Jesus can see straight through us, past the core into depths that no man can understand. That is the funny thing about this "day and age" -- we hide so much inside daily that we may never realize there is nothing hidden from Him.

If there is a hidden purpose, i.e. excuse to do something cool, fit in (somewhat), witness, or just to be defiant... the decisions made are between each person and the Lord.

Everything we do is between us and the Lord.

AND for those of you who want tattoos like me, we need to realize that our bodies are not our own. They are temples of God. Remember that, each of you. We are all sinners, we all have a "planks in our eye".

Thanks, Brett A. S.

Tattoos #10 - Travis' comments

My name is Travis and I am considering getting a tattoo on my back of Jesus' birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and His coming again; also a Christian fish on my forearm. The comments on this page have been very enlightening and I will indeed have to seek Godly counsel in this matter.

I would like to say this: It doesn't matter where tattoos came from but rather how you use them. Just because the origins are pagan doesn't mean that a tattoo couldn't be used to "the Glory of God." Such is the case with this website or the internet.

Al Gore didn't create the internet (kidding) for Godly purposes, but it can and has been used for "God's purpose." It is true that we should not be of the world, but we are going against the grain by having a Christian fish on our car, on our clothing, and even on our skin!

A tattoo or shirt that is Christian cannot save you, only Jesus Christ can. His blood paid for your sins, including non-Christian tattoos! Only God can look into our hearts and see our true motives.

God uses everything to his Glory! We will never know how well we have served the Lord as His witness until we all stand before Him at the judgment.

In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Travis

P.S.- I have one tattoo on my left ring finger of fishes. It was a promise to God that I broke, but will renew!

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