does the Bible say about tattoos? My nephew would like to get one. He is a believer and does not think it is
addressed in the Bible. Any help would be appreciated.
Bible Answer: The word tattoo occurs only once in the Bible. It is found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus.
not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.
(NASB) Leviticus 19:28
But this passage is talking about
tattoos which are part of a religious ritual.
The Practice of Cutting. Cutting the body as part of religious worship was common. Another example of this occurs in the book of 1 Kings when the prophet
Elijah confronted the priests of Baal.
they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning
until noon saying, O Baal, answer us. But there was no voice and no one answered. And they
leaped about the altar which they made. And it came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, Call
out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps
he is asleep and needs to be awakened. So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according
to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. (NASB) 1 Kings 18:26-28
Since ancient times men and women
have cut and painted themselves as a part of their religious worship. It was and is still common in some countries
for younger men to mutilate and tattoo their bodies. History tells us that the ancient Egyptians, Thracians,
Greeks, Gauls, Germans, Britons, Romans, Africans, American Indians, and many others used tattoos. God prohibits
any activities associated with religious worship of other so called gods.
Tattoos - Pictures on the Body. The first passage mentioned above, Leviticus 19:28, is the only passage in the Old Testament about tattoos. The Hebrew word used for "tattoo" in
Leviticus 19:28 means "incision" or "imprint." It has the idea of putting a mark into the skin. The mark
can be embedded or have color.
wants to object and say this passage rejects all cutting of the flesh and any mark of the flesh, then we want
to ask, "Does God prohibit any cutting of the body for medical reasons such as operations?" The answer
is "no" since God wanted the Jewish boys to have an operation. We call it circumcision of males. So does God allow
us to cut our bodies? The answer is "yes," but only for a good reason. We need to remember that we
are the temple of God. It is not to be abused.
not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (NASB) 1 Corinthians
next question is simple, "Does God also reject all imprints into the flesh?" Again the answer is "no."
But are tattoos safe? Are there any concerns? The answer is "yes." There are health risks. The health
risks include allergic reactions, infection, viral infections, and AIDS or HIV. It is very common for those who
have tattoos to want one or more removed later in life. But tattoo removal is not easy. I would recommend a conversation
with a medical doctor before proceeding.
Bible does not prohibit tattoos for non-religious reasons. The Bible has nothing to say about it otherwise. Before
someone tattoos themselves they should ask, "Can I do this in good conscience before God?"
therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (NASB) 1 Cor. 10:31
If you have any doubts that God would
approve, then to have a tattoo would be sin.
. whatever is not from faith is sin. (NASB) Rom. 14:23