What Did The Bible Say About Tattoos

The Bible does not explicitly state whether or not it is permissible for a Christian to get a tattoo. Therefore, there is debate among believers as to the morality of tattoos in the Christian faith. Tattooing is not a new phenomenon, as it has been practiced in some cultures for thousands of years. In the Bible, the issue of tattoos is addressed in the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus 19:28, which states “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo mark on yourselves.” This translates to the traditional interpretation that it is not allowed to get a tattoo, based on the belief that body art is a form of self-mutilation that could be attributed to idolatry. However, there is evidence that tattooing can provide spiritual and psychological benefits, so it is important to consider these potential benefits when making a decision on whether to get a tattoo.

Tattoos can serve as reminders of faith and symbols of sanctification. Some may choose to get a tattoo with a religious text, such as a biblical verse, to serve as a reminder to stay devoted to their faith. Similarly, some may get a tattoo of a religious symbol, such as a cross or angel wings, to act as a source of strength and protection from evil. Tattoos can also provide spiritual and emotional healing through strengthening a person’s relationship with God and signifying the importance of an individual’s faith and beliefs. Furthermore, getting a tattoo may serve as a form of self-expression that can help one to honor and commemorate special moments or events in life, such as a marriage, the birth of a child, or a religious milestone, by creating a lasting, physical representation on one’s body.

The Bible also provides ample indications that getting a tattoo should be done with caution and wisdom. For instance, the book of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” This implies that a Christian should honor God by taking care of his or her body, including abstaining from body art that could cause harm. Furthermore, tattoos should not be used to glorify impure or unholy things, as noted in the book of Galatians 5:19-21, which states “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, raving, and such like.”

In summary, the Bible does not provide a definitive answer as to whether a Christian may get a tattoo or not. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration the potential spiritual and emotional benefits of tattoos, as well as potential moral implications of such body art. It is important to use caution and wisdom, and to make sure that any tattoos are honoring to God and not used to glorify impure or unholy things. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not one should get a tattoo is a personal choice and should be taken seriously.

Religious History

The history of tattooing in relation to the Bible is one that is difficult to decipher. Tattoos had already been widely practiced for centuries in the Near East, where many of the books of the Bible were written. History suggests that early Christians and Jews used tattoos as a way to identify themselves as part of a particular faith or tribe. This practice is also mentioned in the New Testament, as one of the ways in which a greater emphasis is placed on one’s identity in a particular faith. However, there has been some controversy surrounding this practice, with some suggesting that it could be seen as a form of idolatry.

On the other hand, many believe that the Bible does not speak out against tattooing, or even reject it as a practice. This is mainly because there is no explicit commandment that specifically states that Christians should not get tattoos. Instead, there are biblical references which suggest that the practice should be exercised with caution. This is highlighted in Leviticus 19:28, which states “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo mark on yourselves.” It is also echoed in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which warns about “honoring God with your body” by avoiding unnecessary impurities.

In conclusion, it is clear that the Bible does not speak out against the practice of tattooing, but rather provides guidelines and warnings. It is up to the individual to use these verses as a framework for understanding the appropriateness of the practice in terms of faith, while also remaining open to the potential spiritual, psychological and emotional benefits that tattoos can provide.

Impact On Health

Safety is an important consideration when getting a tattoo, as bacteria, viruses and other contaminants can be transmitted if a tattoo is acquired in an unsanitary setting. For example, unsterilized needles and ink can cause infections and can lead to blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B. Furthermore, tattoo ink is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the ingredients in these inks can have health risks. Some inks containing industrial-grade pigments have been found to contain lead, arsenic, and even formaldehyde, all of which can have an adverse effect on one’s health and well being.

For those considering a tattoo, it is important to always seek out reputable and experienced tattoo artists who follow responsible hygiene protocols and use the highest quality ink and equipment to minimize potential health risks. Furthermore, it is important to keep the area of the tattoo clean and dry, to treat it regularly with an antiseptic ointment, and to follow any instructions provided by the tattoo artist. With these cautions in mind, a Christian considering a tattoo should exercise good judgement and precaution to ensure a healthy and safe experience.

Modern Perspectives

Currently, tattoos are in the process of being normalized within the Christian faith. The technology and methodology of tattooing has drastically improved in the 21st century, allowing new and better techniques and designs. Furthermore, there is now more emphasis on the spiritual and psychological benefits of tattoos in the Christian faith, such as to honor and commemorate special moments or events, or to serve as a source of strength and protection. There is also a greater awareness about the potential implications and risks of tattooing, and most importantly, the importance of choosing a reputable and experienced tattoo artist.

In addition, there are now various denominations of churches that are accommodating to those who have tattoos. For instance, the Catholic Church has explicitly stated that tattoos no longer interfere with an individual’s ability to receive Communion. This has opened up more avenues of acceptance and permission to Christians who choose to get a tattoo.

More than ever, tattoos are being seen as a form of self-expression and artistic expression. Many believe that tattoos can be used to honor and commemorate spiritual moments, or to signify a deeper connection to faith and belief. Furthermore, tattoos are increasingly seen as a way to express one’s individual identity and creativity. Ultimately, the decision to get a tattoo is a personal choice, and should be considered with careful thought and attention.


Theology is an important factor when considering the issue of tattoos in the Christian faith. Tattoos are often seen as a mark that connotes rebellion, rebellion which many feel is not compatible with a Christian lifestyle. Throughout the history of the Church, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether tattoos are consistent with Christian theology. Some feel that tattoos can be seen as symbols of pride and indulgence, which goes against the teachings of the Bible and thus should not be condone in a Christian faith.

While it is important to remember the warnings that the Bible gives us, it is also important to be aware of the historical and cultural context in which these warnings were given. Many argue that today’s tattoo culture is far different from the tattoos of the past, and tattoos are no longer used to signify rebellion and wickedness, but rather as a way to honor and express individual identity. Therefore, some suggest that tattoos can be seen in a positive light, as a symbolic way to express one’s devotion to their faith and beliefs.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to make an informed decision about whether or not to get a tattoo, and it is important to weigh all factors before making a decision.


The Bible does not provide a clear answer as to whether or not Christians should get a tattoo. However, there are biblical references that can provide guidance as to what is appropriate and inappropriate when considering tattoos. It is important to understand the potential implications, both spiritual and physical, of tattoos, and to make sure that if a tattoo is acquired, it is done in the safest and cleanest way possible. Furthermore, it is important to remember that tattoos can be seen as a form of self-expression and individual identity, and should be considered with careful thought and attention. Whether or not one chooses to get a tattoo is a personal choice and should be respected and honored by others.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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