One of the questions or comments we receive most often is: What does the Bible say about getting tattoos?
And of course, in most religions, the sacred texts discuss tattooing in the context of when they were written (many centuries ago). Many people easily know what Judaism or Islam think about tattoos, but let's now talk a little more about the Bible, and try to help with questions such as: Would God approve of tattoos today?
The Bible, besides being one of the best-selling books in the world, has a huge number of verses:
- 23.145 in the Old Testament
- 7957 in the New Testament
Yet only one of these verses is directed at tattoos.
Thou shalt not cut off thy flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any mark upon thee: I am the Lord
If we interpret the verse literally, we can deduce that God does not want tattoos, and this is the most commonly interpreted way. But it is worth challenging and trying to interpret it by the context in which the verse was written:
Pastor Craig Groeschel explains that Leviticus 19 discusses the Israelites' escape from Egyptian slavery and God telling them not to "take on the pagan practices of the Egyptians."
A common pagan ritual practiced in Egypt at the time involved the loved ones of a deceased relative cutting the skin of the corpse to let out the "life blood." It was also common for pagans to tattoo pictures of their deities on their skin - which is in direct contrast to one of the ten commandments.
If a person is dead set on interpreting this verse literally, it is important to look at some of the other outdated rules set in place. For example, according to Leviticus 19, you would be forbidden to cut your hair or beard, as well as discouraged from wearing clothes made of different materials. If we were to follow the Old Testament rules to the letter, it would be quite difficult to live in today's society.
Today, many people do not take Bible verses literally, but interpret the teachings and messages behind them to make informed choices during their daily lives. Many Christians today are tattoo collectors, with crossespraying hands, portraits of Jesus and popular proverbs that make up a large majority of the drawings created around the world.
In addition, many pastors today are tattooed, including celebrity figures like Carl Lentz - who has spiritually counseled stars like Justin Bieber, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Kevin Durant in the past.
What do you think about this Bible verse? Are you a Christian with tattoos?