Let us first establish that God’s Word, the Bible, is true. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth.” We read in Titus 1:1-2, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

God cannot lie and so every part of His Word is true. Also, there are lessons to be learned from every part of God’s Word, including the Old Testament. We read in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Although we can learn valuable lessons from the Old Testament, we know from Romans 6:14 that “ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Let us look specifically at the example mentioned about tattoos and cutting the flesh. We see the context in Leviticus 18:1-4, which reads: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.” The children of Israel had been delivered out of Egypt and the Lord was giving them instructions about his expectations for them in the land of Canaan. God wanted the Israelites to be blessed, and He knew that the path to their greatest blessing was in following the Lord instead of imitating the ungodly practices of the Egyptians and Canaanites. One of those practices is found in Leviticus 19:28, which reads, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

Since we are not under the law, we are not required to follow this instruction to not print any marks on our bodies. There is no New Testament Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt not get a tattoo.” This issue would appear to fall under the realm of Romans 14:5, which reads, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” It is also important to realize that God cares much more about our hearts than anything that can be seen on the outside. We read in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” There are many godly men and women who have tattoos.

However, before you get a tattoo, or additional ones, I would prayerfully consider some things. Just because there is no New Testament Bible verse that clearly forbids something, that does not automatically mean that it is pleasing to the Lord. This is an extreme example, but there is no Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt not inject fentanyl and heroin into your veins.” However, those are still deadly substances and it would displease the Lord greatly to abuse our bodies in that way. I am not saying that tattoos are deadly, but there are principles in God’s Word that are worth considering before following the cultural trend of getting tattoos.

Let us remember that, as Christians, are bodies are not our own. Therefore, is God pleased with the tattoo I am getting?  We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We also read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Can I honestly say that getting a tattoo glorifies the Lord? Since my body belongs to God, is this what He wants? There are certainly tattoos that would be offensive and dishonoring to our Lord. If you do choose to get a tattoo, please consider whether or not the drawing and words honor the Lord.

Another thing to consider is if getting tattoos is a wise use of our money. Luke 12:42 states, “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” The Lord expects us to use our money wisely. However, the reality is that, just as our bodies are owned by God, our money belongs to Him too. We read in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it” (NASB). So we need to seriously ask ourselves if getting tattoos is how the Lord wants us to use His money. The average tattoo costs $75-150 per hour. If you change your mind later and want the tattoo to be removed, it takes 5-20 sessions and costs $200-500 per session to get your tattoo removed.

If a young person would like to get a tattoo in order to express rebellion against their parents’ wishes, then that is definitely wrong. Ephesians 6:1-2 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.” There are also health risks, including infections, severe allergic reactions, and blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis B and C.

Further, Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Is joining the cultural trend of getting tattoos an example of being conformed to this world?  May the Lord guide each of us with our decisions.

Again, we are not under law in the matter of tattoos. However, let us prayerfully consider what the Lord wants us to do. May we live our lives for the glory of the Lord and, with His strength, have a bright testimony that does not stumble others or distract people from seeing Christ in us. All glory to Him!  (405.5)  (DJ)