What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos? Are They Forbidden?

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Published by Kimberly Wall


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Is getting a tattoo on your mind, but you’re worried about people thinking you’re a sinner? Or are you wondering if God blesses those who wear tattoos? What does the Bible say about tattoos? Many tattoo critics attribute their stance to moral or ethical concerns rooted in their faith.

Any devout person should think long and hard about what the Bible says about tattoos prior to making such an irreversible conclusion. The Bible only makes one direct reference to tattoos, and that reference has nothing to do with modern body art.

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

With the growing acceptance of tattoos, many Christians wonder if the Bible has anything to say about tattoos. Basically, there is no clear answer. There is no clear biblical precedent for tattoo marks as we know them today.

There are Christians who view all tattoos as sinful[1] because of one verse in the Old Testament: Leviticus 19:28. Others cite 1 Corinthians 3:16–17, where Apostle Paul writes: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Given that the word “tattoo” is included in this passage in a number of popular English versions, the case appears straightforward. For example, the NIV reads, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or tattoo yourselves. I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:28’s literal translation is: “And a cutting for the dead you will not make in your flesh, and writing marks you will not make on you; I am the Lord.” “Writing” refers to symbols or words written or engraved and used solely here.

The term for marks, which is also used alone in this sentence, has an unknown etymology, so we do not honestly know what it signifies. In addition, the term “tattoo” was not part of the English language until the latter half of the 1700s. This is why “ye shall not… print marks upon you” appears more literally in the King James Version (KJV), which dates back to the 1600s.

After being freed from slavery, Israel found itself in the middle of the desert, halfway between Egypt and Canaan. According to modern archaeological evidence, only Egyptian women were ever tattooed in Egypt. There is evidence to show that women’s tattoos on the breasts, legs, and abdomen were intended as talismans to safeguard childbirth.

The evidence suggests that in Canaan, more drastic scarification procedures were utilized, such as branding, cutting, or gagging the skin, rather than ink markings. Biblical scriptures and archaeological evidence show that the Canaanites regularly cut themselves for ritualistic purposes, as stated in 1 Kings 18:28, most often to express grief over the dead and show reverence for their gods.

This is implied by Leviticus 19:28, which states, “You will not make cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print marks on you.” Taking everything into account, it’s clear that God was prohibiting the worship of other gods as well as scarification, rather than the modern understanding of tattoos.

Is Getting A Tattoo A Sin?

Since only the Old Testament bears the sole conceivable reference to tattoos, some Christians think that the prohibition is no longer applicable to Christians today. Furthermore, the New Testament never mentions tattoos or any other forms of bodily alteration. There is no guilt in getting modern-day tattoos since there is no biblical prohibition against them.

Instead of tattooing, what has been considered a sin is self-mutilation. Baal worship dates back to at least before the Exodus, making it contemporaneous with the time when Moses received the law.

This religion of the Canaanites featured several ceremonies, including self-mutilation. An old lyric portrays ritual masochism as follows: “She slashes face and chin; she lacerates her forearms; she plows a garden into her chest; like a valley, she lacerates the back.”

God did not desire His people to intentionally harm themselves. Self-mutilation is harmful and can result in serious health issues. His people did not have access to the benefits of 21st-century society, such as hospitals, physicians, and antibiotics. To appease the pagan gods, self-mutilation gone awry may result in a terrible death or, at the very least, unattractive scars.

Bible Verses About The Human Body

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 3:16–17

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18

I, therefore, appeal to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:19

It is a natural body; it is a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:44

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of your hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Peter 3:3–4
getting arm tattoo and what does the bible say about tattoos

Can Christians Get Tattoos?

No specific verse in the Bible addresses tattoos, but that doesn’t mean you can get as many as you want. It’s still important to pause and reflect before putting pen to paper, especially if you identify as a Christian. There are several texts from the Bible that might relate to getting a tattoo, along with some questions to help you consider it. Read the Bible, talk to God about your problems, and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help.

Tattoos are works of art, much like any other kind of visual art. Body art, like a painting on the wall of one’s living room, conveys a message about the wearer’s beliefs and ideals. Is Christ your top priority? “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

What Are The Common Christian-Inspired Tattoos?

When deciding on a tattoo to be affixed to your skin, you should keep in mind that it will be there for the rest of your life. Consider your motivations for obtaining the tattoo. The Bible definitely forbids the act of disobeying one’s parents in any way, shape, or form, but if the motivation is creative self-expression, then it’s more acceptable.

Christian tattoos may take many forms. There are many examples of tattoos, whether you desire a large back piece proclaiming your devotion to the Father or a little, discreet emblem around your ankle to remind you of God’s presence in your life. In order to always be reminded of the virtues and significance of God’s word, many Christians enjoy having their favorite Bible passages permanently inked onto their bodies.

Bible Verse Tattoo Ideas

Tattooing as a way to glorify God has been a practice for many people. Take inspiration from these Bible verses for a tattoo:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:4

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. Fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:14

Christ can be represented visually through a variety of symbols, including the cross, the Jesus fish, doves, angels, prayer hands, and even an image of Jesus. You may make any of these pictures as big or as small as you desire. Sometimes, the barest of outlines may convey as much or more significance as a massive, ornate work.

One option for a more substantial Christian tattoo is to depict a scene from the Bible that is meaningful to you, such as the Last Supper or Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. In addition to your religious beliefs, you might also factor in your other hobbies. You may go as creative as you want with a Christian tattoo.

The Most Important Things To Have In Mind When Tattooing As A Christian

The choice to have a tattoo should be made by the individual getting one. Don’t feel obligated to get one if you decide it’s not for you or if doing so conflicts with your values. Do not rush into getting a tattoo, and know that it is okay to change your mind at any time.

You should talk about it with people who share your beliefs if you’re still not convinced. Pray to God, who may be even more helpful. The most critical factor in determining whether or not to get a tattoo is whether or not you will be happy with your final decision.

do all things with love tattoo in arm and what does the bible say about tattoos


If you are a Christian who has decided to get a tattoo, you may be asking what steps to take to ensure that your tattoo faithfully reflects your ideals and beliefs.

Even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly condemn tattoos, Christians should still think carefully about how the ink will reflect on their faith when deciding where on their body to put it. The Bible makes it quite apparent that the human body is highly valued because it is God’s creation.

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