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What does the Bible say about tattoos?

What about tattoos?

Postby Pam » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:31 pm

Does the Bible say that we should not associate with people that have tattoos?
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Re: What about tattoos?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:33 pm

Tattoos are only mentioned once in the Bible, and it doesn't say anything about not associating with people who have tattoos. The text is Lev. 19.28: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”

I'll skip the "cutting the bodies" part since your question was about tattoos. The teaching doesn't apply to the way tattoos are used today. What was going on in Lev. 19 was tattooing the body as part of a religious ritual. Such markings may have been designed to protect a person from the spirits of the dead or to demonstrate membership in a cultic group. There is nothing morally wrong with tattooing. These practices were part of heathen rituals, and that's what the problem was. The marks were usually in honor of some idol, and they were forbidden because they were signs of pagan worship. Even the context (the first part of the verse) shows us that cultic practices are what was in mind. Nowadays tattoos are a body-decorating fad and have nothing to do with the heathen rituals/pagan worship that the Bible forbids.
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Re: What about tattoos?

Postby youdontknowwhothisis » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:14 am

so what if someone gets cultic or satanic tatoos?
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Re: What about tattoos?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:46 pm

Well, then, that's identifying with something "Satanic" or "cultic." Then the problem is the Satanic stuff, not the tattoo itself. Jesus teaches that the problem isn't what you put on or into your body, but what comes out from your heart. So the problem isn't the tat, but that you like Satanic things and that your thoughts, attitude, and life are against God.
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Re: What about tattoos?

Postby TattooDude » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:22 pm

I didn't used to be a believer, and got many tattoos that I am not necessarily proud of these days. People ask me what they mean, and the only thing I can come up with is that it is a reminder to me of who I once was, and to never go back there. Tattoo removal is very costly, but then again so are tattoos. Would it still be considered a sin to have those tats, though I've repented in my ways? I've had some cover-up work done, but cannot cover them all up.
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Re: What about tattoos?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:22 pm

It sounds as if your heart and head are in the right place, and you are doing the right thing. There are some parts of our regrettable past that we can do our best to undo and leave behind. Your cover-up work sounds like an attempt in that direction. Tattoos that are representations of evil things might be best to remove.

Other times, we carry the "scars" of our past, and some things can never be undone. Jesus is a redeemer, we learn from Scripture, and can redeem these mistakes and scars, using them for his glory. As you say, some times those tats can be effective daily reminders of the life of sin we have left behind, the amazing grace of God in saving us, and how far we have come in our ever-growing journey in faith.

"Would it still be considered a sin to have those tats"? I would say no. Sins are of the heart, mind, and soul, not of pictures on the skin. Sin is what is IN us, not in what is ON us. Your repentance is the important part. Some of those tattoos may provide conversation starters to be able to tell people about Jesus and the change in your life that God has brought. That's what I mean by "Jesus can redeem them." People may often ask about your tats, and you'll have a perfect and natural opportunity to testify to the power of God to change lives.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:22 pm.
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