One of the most commonly asked questions about the Bible is, "What does the Bible say about tattoos?" It is hard to tell if most people asking this question are trying to decide whether or not to get a tattoo or if they are simply trying to justify the tattoos which they already have. Either way, it is extremely commendable that one would inquire of God's opinion on the issue of tattoos. Here are a few points to consider:
1. In the Old Testament, God forbid tattoos, "You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD" (Leviticus 19:28, ESV). However, Christians are not under the Old Testament; we are not bound to keep the Old Law. Still, it is good to keep in mind the principles that are laid out in the Old Testament.
2. The New Testament gives us several principles to remember which apply to tattoos. The first is that we should stay away from things that defile our bodies and our spirits (2 Corinthians 7:1). Injecting ink into the skin is quite definitely not something that is good for your body, therefore it is probably not something which Christians ought to do.
3. We are commanded to stay away from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). In our culture, tattoos have a negative connotation. That are associated with evil and sin. In fact, tattoo parlors are found almost exclusively in the seedy parts of town. Very seldom will you see a tattoo parlor in an upscale suburban neighborhood.
4. Everything you do should be done to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). One should only get a tattoo if he is certain that he would be better able to glorify God with it than he would without it.
5. The Bible does not give authority for a Christian to tattoo himself. Colossians 3:17 says that Christians are to only do things for which they have authority ("in the name of the Lord"); and Christians are not given the authority to receive tattoos.
These are simply some Bible principles to consider before getting a tattoo. A tattoo is a permanent choice and one that should not be taken lightly. However, a tattoo will not keep someone from heaven. It may, however, the Christian's work on earth. Based on what the Bible says about tattoos, here are a few questions that a Christian should ask before getting a tattoo:
1. Would Jesus have had a tattoo?
2. How does this tattoo glorify God?
3. Will I associate myself with the right people by getting and having a tattoo?
4. How has God given me permission, in the Bible, to get a tattoo?
Just some things to think about while thinking about the Bible and God's stance on the issue of tattoos.