Can a Christian get a Tattoo?

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Growing up in the church, I was taught a lot of misinformation by well-meaning Sunday school teachers who I’m pretty sure loved God.  They were sincere.  But sincerely wrong.  On many things Bible-related.  So at age 18, I had a rude awakening in Bible college.   “Excuse me, professor.  You said it wasn’t an apple that Eve ate?”

You see, some a lot of Christian folks don’t study the Bible for themselves (2 Timothy 2:15).  They let their pastor(s) do the studying for them.  Or they pass down the same biblical myths their Sunday school teacher taught them.   In fact, I’d have enough money for two round-trips to Aruba if I had $10 for every time I heard a Christian say, “Permanently marking your body is wrong.”

At first glance it may seem the Bible forbids tattoos.  Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not mark your skin with tattoos.”   Sounds pretty straight-forward, right?  But unfortunately, as the below video excolor-boxs, many Christians don’t look into the context or research what the original author meant.  In this case Moses.  You see,  back in the day folk were tattooing pagan gods on their bodies, and worshipping them.  So when Moses penned verse 28 in Leviticus 19, his audience didn’t need him to clarify that he meant tattoos of pagan gods.  Watch below video.

 
 

I admit that getting a tattoo is something I would never personally do. First, ouch!  Second, seems too permanent. I don’t want to be stuck with something that I may not like ten years from now.  But I don’t have a problem with believers who get them.  If your name is Holly and you get a cute holly on your ankle like one of my friends did, what’s wrong with that?  Or if you’re a believer and an ex-Marine like my husband, what’s wrong with getting the Marine logo tattooed on your arm like he did?

Granted, I don’t think “anything goes” when it comes to Christians getting tattoos.  For example, I’d do a double take if I saw a Christian get the Satanic symbol or “666” put on.  We should keep in mind that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  And we are representatives of Christ around the clock, or should be.  In fact, some Christians actually “evangelize” by getting images of Christ tattooed on body parts that are highly visible.  Great conversation starter perhaps.

Ultimately it boils down to personal convictions.  After all, getting a tattoo (or not) is not an essential doctrine of the Christian faith.  Christians ought not to “push” personal preferences onto other people.  (See my post on Christian Faith Essentials vs. Liberties.)   Getting tattoos (or not) is really up to individual Christian in my opinion.


Now what do YOU think?

Do you agree with the video above?  Why or why not?  Let’s talk.  Post a comment.


  • I like your article, well researched and written. I found out the same truths when I attended the Philadelphia Biblical University. Like “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the bible. Being a preacher myself I try very hard to say what the Bible say and not my opinion or some commentary (commentaries has its purposes) If more people studied customs and usage the will find the Bible makes more sense. As to tattoos, whatever is not of faith is sin. If you can have one and feel no conviction I say go to it. But not for me. Ouch! Oh, I for got. say “simper fi” to your husband from another Marine, me.

    • Hi Oscar, thanks for commenting. So you’re a fellow devil dog like my hubby, huh? I’m glad to hear from another believer who has a healthy view on this topic. You’d be surprised how rigid (and biblically wrong) many are on this issue. I may do a series on the Top 10 myths Christians Swear By. (Just kidding.) I trust you are sharing good doctrine with your congregation each week. Semper Fi!

  • MsNykki

    Great post! By God’s grace, I entered my Christian walk hearing sound biblical teaching on this rather than traditions of men (but I know and still hear many of the “biblical” myths that are out there). And that’s what’s important–reading and learning the Bible for yourself and not depending on gaining holiness through the traditions of men. :-) By the way, I don’t have any tattoos currently, however, I’ve thought about getting a small, cute, discreetly placed musical note or “Jesus fish” off and on for about 10 years. Maybe I’ll do it soon!

    • Thanks, Nykki! I say go for it — the musical note or the fish :)
      It really is surprising how much wrong information or “myths” are passed down to whole generations or groups of Christians. I’m thankful also for my bible school experience and being on sound teaching since then! Not many are as fortunate as us. I may speak on hats in church next! LOL.