The Bible does not directly address the issue of tattoos, so Christians must look to other biblical principles in order to determine whether or not getting a tattoo is permissible. While the Bible does not explicitly state “Thou shalt not get a tattoo,” it does have multiple passages where it cautions readers against body modification and marking the flesh with tattoos.
The most poignant passage of Scripture relating to this topic can be found in Leviticus 19:28: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” This verse states that it is unwise—and displeasing to God—to permanently mark or scar one’s own body in any way, whether through cutting oneself or other forms of bodily altering and decorating. The book of Leviticus gives several laws concerning various forms of experimentation with our bodies; these three particular ones are repeated throughout chapters 18 and 20 as well. Along similar lines, Galatians 5:19–21 warns readers against engaging in “acts of sinful nature” such as submitting to tattoos for cosmetic purposes.
When considering this issue, another very important point that must be brought up is that of motivation and intention: motives behind a decision will often reveal its moral worthiness or unworthiness before God. Whether getting a tattoo is morally wrong depends upon whether your motives for doing so align with biblical principles such as glorifying God and obeying His commands rather than following after your own passions and desires (2 Timothy 4:7). In Colossians 3:17, Paul encourages believers to do “everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”—meaning we should seresto collars conduct ourselves honorably before Him by living according to His rules rather than our own understanding (Proverbs 14:12). It would be wise if anyone thinking about getting a tattoo took into serious consideration both their motive and what level of glorification they will bring unto God as they make their choice.
Introduction: Overview of Tattoo History & Cultural Significance
Tattoos have a long and fascinating history all over the world, but when it comes to the Bible, there are mixed opinions as to what it says about them. In some parts of the Old Testament, tattoos were considered a punishment or an act of penance. Other cultures practiced ornamenting their bodies with tattoos as forms of protection, spiritual devotion, and expression. So what does the Bible say about tattoos?
It’s important to remember that while there are references to people being punished with tattoos in the Old Testament, there is no prohibition against tattooing in either old or new testament scripture. In fact, there is evidence that associates temporary markings (known as branding) with family loyalty in Old Testament scripture (Genesis 31:47–49).
In more modern contexts, some argue that tattoos have become a form of cultural expression and self-expression for many people around the world today. Whether for symbolic purposes or just for aesthetic pleasure, millions of individuals choose to adorn their bodies with ink each year. And though the scriptures may not be clear on the issue, many religious believers believe that such expressions can still be meaningful and spiritual.
Leviticus 19:28 and its Prohibitions Against Tattooing
Leviticus 19:28 is a prohibition against tattooing in the Bible. It states, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.”
Though tattoos can have religious, cultural and personal significance, this verse prohibits marking one’s body due to its implications of honoring the dead. Therefore, this verse emphasizes that the Israelites must not associate themselves with any pagan practices posed by a heathen people. In other words, Leviticus 19:28 is reminding us that we should be mindful of our faith and practice it as intended by God.
This verse proposes that believers should display their love and respect for God through observing His commands and refraining from activities or practices that may negativly influence their spiritual welfare or oppose biblical truth. Ultimately, by following this scripture we are avoiding desecration, profaning or blasphemy of God’s teachings – and honoring Him according to His will.
Explanation of Where This Prohibition Comes from in Ancient Israeli Culture
A traditionally accepted view of many Christian denominations, including Catholic, Orthodox and even Protestant denominations is that tattoos are forbidden. This prohibition comes from the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:28, which says: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.”
This commandment was given to ancient Israeli culture as a sign of holiness and devotion to God. It was believed that bodily mutilation and tattoos were methods used by pagan cultures to honor their dead, rebellious gods or false idols. The Hebrew people were instead called to honor God by keeping their bodies clean, healthy and unaltered.
In this context then, tattoos were viewed as a form of idolatry because it draws attention away from the worship of God and honors something else in its place.
Other Scriptures That Address Tattoos
The Bible mentions various Bible verses that address tattoos, but none are directly related to getting a tattoo. In Leviticus 19:28, God warned the Israelites to not get tattooed. This was a specific instruction given to them at the time and should not be taken literally today.
In addition to this specific mention of not getting a tattoo in Leviticus, there are other Scriptures that may give some insight into how we should think about tattoos. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul warns against worshiping idols or allowing yourself to be put under someone else’s power. By getting a tattoo from an artist who is promoting their own artistry, this could be seen as putting yourself in someone else’s power and ultimately worshiping them instead of God.
We also read in Colossians 3:17 that whatever we do should be done for the glory of God—not for our own self-gratification or for exhibiting our own indulgences. Therefore, before deciding whether to get a tattoo or not, it is important for everyone to prayerfully consider if getting one would honor God and point others towards Him rather than away from Him.