What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos?

Tattoos are now popular than ever. They have become widely accepted in the Western culture, particularly among the youth. So, what does the Bible say about tattoos?

The Old Testament law in Leviticus 19:28 says, “You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” This is the only instance where the Bible mentions tattoos. God gave this command to Israel which set them apart from their neighbors who market their skins with symbols or names of their gods.

A lot of people believe that this verse prohibits against tattoos only in the context of specific pagan practices. According to them, the tattoos referred in Leviticus are those that are for dead – using tattoos in an attempt to persuade the gods to help the dead in the afterlife. Others take the Leviticus verse to be a general prohibition against tattooing by the wording of the verse.

1 Peter 3:3–4: says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This verse is directed to Christian women and there is a principle which may concern, though indirectly, tattoos. According to this verse, one’s external appearance shouldn’t look be the main focus of your attention.

Many women focus on having fine clothes and elaborate hairstyle, and jewelry, but that isn’t where the true beauty lies. Likewise, body piercing and tattoos are an outward adornment and we should not give it more effort to the development of ‘inner self’, regardless of our gender.

Since the Bible does not directly forbid tattoos, we do know our body isn’t our own but God’s temple. The Bible has a high view of one’s body as God’s image, which should not be disfigured. So, before getting tattooed, we should ask ourselves how much we can modify our bodies to accomplish our desires while not disfiguring our bodies as God made them.

Furthermore, the Bible advises us to consider the motive of getting a tattoo. According to Ephesians 6:1-3; if it’s in rebellion to parents, it’s not acceptable. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches that while self-expressing yourself artistically is fine, your primary motive for anything that we do is to glorify God. This means that we should seek honor and draw attention to Him, not ourselves.

Proverbs 21:5 says that “The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage, but everyone that is hasty surely heads for want.” Most people decide to get a tattoo hastily, yet it can pose a negative long-term impact on employment and relationships. Additionally, tattoos are painful and costly to remove.

Some desire to establish their independence or identity, while others get a tattoo to assert the ownership of their body. However, Romans 12:1 says, “Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.” Use the power of reason to know why you want a tattoo. If it is because of peer pressure or wants to show off to your friends, know that your feelings can be less permanent than the tattoo.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

A tattoo is a nice way of expiring yourself through body art, however, you should know that committing to a tattoo is a big decision. The decisions you make in getting a tattoo last a life time. Or as long as it takes you to save for laser removal surgery. The trick is not only to know what to be inked on your back but also to ensure the work is fantastic. So, we have prepared a list of the top things you should consider before getting a tattoo.

1.     Know what you want

Tattoos are permanent, meaning whatever gets on your body will be there for a very long time, unless you consider going through the painful laser removal process. Therefore, your tattoo should be really something that you really want on your body. Ensure the tattoo is something you will still want to have when you are on the late 40s or 50s.

2.     Placement

The placement of the tattoo is also important as what you get. Some parts of your body are far more painful than others. Besides, some locations can give you more judgmental looks than others. You will also get to consider the placement based on your place of work. For example, in the conservative workplaces, displaying tattoos is prohibited. If you aren’t sure of the placement, consider getting a temporary stencil on the body parts you’re considering so that you can see how it looks.

3.     Research

Do your research. Ensure you know your tattoo artist and your shop. A good shop isn’t hard to find, and when you do, make sure you trust your artists. Just like a doctor, most artists know what they are doing or saying, meaning when they give you advice on placement, color schemes, design, or size, it is for a reason.

4.     Timing

Water submersion and sun exposure can damage a new tattoo. If you are a beach bum, it is advisable that you avoid getting a tattoo in summer. Early autumn and spring are most practical. You will not burn but you can also leave any leg or arm tattoos exposed rather covering them with fabric which might be irritating.

5.     Make an appointment

A lot of shops accept walk-ins but many are by appointment only, especially the classy shops. Besides, even if you know of a walk-in place, you may consider making an appointment, more so if it is your first tattoo. An appointment gives you enough time to speak with the artist and a little time to think about it.

6.     Know your pain tolerance

Tattoos can really hurt. You might consider getting a little numb after a while so that the pain can decrease when the adrenaline kicks in. We have all seen people crying when getting a tattoo while others may scream. It depends on your pain tolerance and the location of the tattoo. Some body parts are more painful than others. For instance, the softer areas may not hurt very much.

7.     Use visual aid

You may want to supply a visual example of what you desire. Even if you artist is the one customizing the design for you, attend the appointment with inspiration. In case you want a particular text used, bring the chosen works in that font. If you have seen an exact tattoo you want online, ensure you bring it. Furthermore, print versions are great, as the artist can use it in creating a transfer or a stencil.