The only Bible verse that explicitly mentions tattoos is Leviticus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” With this verse in mind, I want to point out flaws in both sides of the argument. Some who oppose tattoos will point to Leviticus 19:28 and say “case closed, it is a sin to get a tattoo.” The problem with this line of reasoning is that there are many commands in the Old Testament Law, and in the Book of Leviticus especially, that Christians do not obey. For example, the verse immediately prior states, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard” (Leviticus 19:27). If we are going to use Leviticus 19:28 to outlaw tattoos, we should also outlaw everything else that the Old Testament Law forbids. Also, the mention of cutting your body for the dead perhaps identifies a pagan ritual as the true problem, not necessarily the tattoo itself. The key point is this: Jesus’ death fulfilled and completed the Law, ending its requirements on us (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15). Therefore, the law against tattoos is not binding on followers of Jesus Christ.
As a result of the inapplicability of Leviticus 19:28, some will argue that since the Bible does not speak against tattoos in a New Covenant context, it is acceptable to get tattoos. The problem with this line of reasoning is that there are many things the Bible does not specifically speak against.
Some who approve of Christians getting tattoos will also point to Revelation 19:16 and claim that Jesus has a tattoo, “On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” The text does not say that it will be a tattoo. Whatever the case, Revelation 19:16 does not say Jesus has a tattoo. Even if it did, it would not be blanket permission for Christians to get tattoos.
So, if arguments from both sides are flawed, what is the answer regarding tattoos? For me, this issue seems to be primarily a struggle with Christian freedom. It would be so much easier if we just had an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts. Christian freedom is uncomfortable because it forces us to truly examine our motives. That is why Christians tend to go to one extreme or the other, legalism or antinomianism. Legalism is easier because it provides us with a list of do’s and don’ts. Antinomianism is easier because it focuses on the “freedom” in “Christian freedom” while ignoring the “Christian.”
With this said, while there may be no clear passage in the Bible addressing tattoos, this is hardly a license for unrestrained tattooing. You still need to think before you ink, especially if you’re a Christian.
Is Tattooing A Sin Then?
If you’re frequently visiting the Church, reading the Gospels, and other material on Christianity, no information could hint at tattoos being forbidden or sinful. Even the apostles who carried on the word of Christ didn’t mention anything about cutting and inking your body.
That said, we believe that tattooing isn’t a sin and that in no way, getting your body inked will prevent you from entering the Heavenly gates when you pass away. We believe it also stems from the fact that tattooing oneself doesn’t do any harm to others, or do something sinful.
Christianity teaches us that stealing, disrespecting our loved ones and murdering is a sin, but tattooing your body doesn’t mean you’ve conducted any of the aforementioned sins.
The verse from the Old Testament likely refers to not practicing what that group of tribes is practicing to honor their dead member.
Perhaps, it was versed in a way that practicing such rituals would make people similar to that pride, and make them step away from the Law of Moses as it is, making their pagan believes more important than the religion.
However, if this concept is read and understood wrong, it can lead to the belief that the tattooing process is sinful for Christians too, and instill fears of going to hell upon death.
Tattoos Aren’t Sin But Some Symbols Could Be
Another thing worth mentioning is that the symbols people tattoo should also be relevant to the religion. For example, people who tattoo potentially insulting or Satanic symbols could be considered sinful, as they are marking their body with symbols that directly go against Christianity.
That’s why it’s important to wonder about what the symbol you’re trying to ink will represent in your life. For example, if you’re going to make a tattoo of a pagan symbol, you’re likely making a tattoo against Christianity, same if you are going to tattoo a sign that potentially hints at witchcraft or glorifying some other religion.
In the end, getting a tattoo with a Christian or some other symbol comes down to whether it’s your personal preference or not. If you think that getting a tattoo goes against your moral beliefs of something else, perhaps you shouldn’t get it.