What Does The Bible Say About Tattos

The Bible has many references to body decorations and tattoos. Although, depending on the interpretation, the Bible may or may not specifically address the matter of tattoos in a modern context. According to biblical scholars and theologians, the Old Testament appears to have no references to tattoos as a whole, and the New Testament only mentions the topic in passing.

The Bible’s use of the Greek words “stigma” and “charagma” in the New Testament are often —though not universally—interpreted to be references to tattoos. In these verses, the Greek words in question were used to refer to a mark made on the body of a slave or a criminal as a sign of ownership or punishment. This interpretation has been used as evidence to suggest that the Bible does not condone the practice of getting tattooed for recreational reasons.

Some theologians and scholars even interpret the same Greek words to mean a spiritual or religious token, such as a cross or a fish symbol, as to make a statement of faith. In this sense, some might argue that it is OK to get a tattoo of a small Christian symbol, as long as one gets it done for religious reasons.

However, other theologians have differing opinions. Some suggest that the prohibitions in the Old Testament against the other forms of body decoration, such as cutting of the flesh or engraving marks may, depending on interpretation, extend to tattoos as well.

The Bible, specifically the Old Testament, also makes allusions to what it calls “the pagan practice of tattooing.” This is interpreted to refer to the ancient practice of tattooing done by non-Jews as a way to ward off evil spirits. In this context, the practice is seen as a sign of pride and cultural identity and is seen as something separate from religious tattoos.

Ultimately, many theologians, Christian clerics, and biblical scholars agree that the Bible does not address tattoos in a modern context. As such, there is no clear consensus but rather interpretations that vary from one faith to another and from one individual to another.

Cultural Relevance

Looking at it from a cultural perspective, tattoos have played an important role in cultures across the world since ancient times. Evidence of tattoos can be found on ancient Egyptian mummies, in Viking burial chambers and in Japanese and Polynesian cultures.

In some cultures, tattoos serve as a sign of tribal membership and are seen as a mark of distinction. Other cultures use tattoos for more personal reasons, such as a way of self-expression and as a reminder is of important events, people or ideas in one’s life.

Whatever the purpose or meaning behind a tattoo, modern society has become increasingly accepting of the practice. Today, tattoos are no longer only found in cultures with a long history and tradition of body decoration. Instead, they have become mainstream and trendy, with many celebrities proudly displaying their ink. As such, many are choosing to get tattoos as a way to express themselves and to make a statement.


Whether or not one chooses to get a tattoo, it is important to be mindful of all possible implications. Like any kind of art, tattoos can evoke strong emotions and reactions from other people. Furthermore, tattoos are permanent, and one should be aware of the fact that there may be certain circumstances that can prevent one from getting certain jobs or positions in the future.

In some cases, having tattoos can even interfere with the performance of certain religious practices, such as the observance of various Islamic customs or certain aspects of the Catholic Church.

Additionally, having tattoos can also be a risky business. One would be wise to look for an experienced, reputable artist and to pay for quality artwork. A poorly done tattoo can be both painful and unsightly, and any medical complications that may arise can be both expensive and time-consuming to address.


From a moral perspective, it is important to consider the reason(s) behind getting a tattoo. Some argue that it is wrong to get a tattoo if it is done purely for recreational or cosmetic reasons. On the other hand, others argue that religious tattoos are okay, as long as the person getting it is deeply committed to their faith and believes that getting a tattoo is an expression of their spiritual devotion.

As with any kind of body modification, it is important to consider one’s reasoning behind getting a tattoo and to think about the consequences before making a decision. The Bible warns us to “be careful of how we walk” and to guard “our heart and our ways” —two important things to keep in mind when deciding if a tattoo is the right decision for one’s own body and soul.


Despite the fact that tattoos have become increasingly popular over the years, there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding the practice. Many people are quick to pass judgement on those who have tattoos, arguing that it is a sign of rebelliousness, or worse, a sign of immoral behavior or low moral character.

However, these arguments are often misinformed and ignore the fact that the motivations and reasons behind getting a tattoo can be deeply personal and have nothing to do with rebellion or immorality — or that body art can in fact be a sign of strength and identity.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we all have the right to make our own choices and to express ourselves in whatever way we see fit. As for tattoos, it is ultimately up to the individual to decide if it is something they would like to do or not.

Public Perception

While tattoos may be increasingly accepted and embraced by some parts of society, there are still those that view it with a less favourable light. Some may still see tattoos as a sign of “deviance” or “rebellion” and associate it with those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

In many cases, this negative perception of tattoos is due to a lack of understanding and a lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, this also means that those with tattoos can often face discrimination and may have a harder time with job searches, personal relationships and other areas of their lives.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that tattoos are a personal choice and that no one should ever be judged based on their appearance alone. Those with tattoos can take pride in the fact that they are using their bodies as canvas to express who they are and what they stand for, regardless of public opinion.


It is important to remember that tattoos are not for everyone. One should always make an informed decision before committing to body modification and should also be aware of any potential harms and repercussions.

It can be a good idea to do research on the cost and implications of having a tattoo before making a decision. It is also important to look for experienced, reputable and licensed tattoo artists, as they can provide valuable advice and give helpful tips on choosing the right design and placement.

Finally, getting a tattoo is a serious decision, and one should never rush into it. Tattoos are meant to be permanent, and it is always better to take the time to think and reflect before making the decision to get inked.

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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