ATP: Is It Wrong To Get A Tattoo?


This is actually a question I receive quite often, especially since it seems to be the “in thing” both for guys and girls.  At one time a girl who sported a tattoo was considered pretty “rough,” but with the advent of female movie stars such as Angelina Jolie and Asia Argento, the tattoo has become just as popular among the female population as the male.  

The Bible addresses tattooing in Leviticus 19:28 when the LORD tells the Israelites, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. “

It is clear from this passage that the LORD forbid the Israelites to mark their bodies with piercing or tattoos; they were to come out from among their heathen counterparts and be separate. (2 Cor 6:17)  

With that said, in all fairness to the “x-generation,” neither was the Jew to “wear clothing with two kinds of material.” (Lev 19:19)  Men were not allowed to “clip their sideburns or the edges of their beards.” (Lev 19:27)

So, if we are going to live by the letter of the law in regard to tattoos, we must live by the law in regards to “beards” – which means all men must not shave.  Ouch!  

However, these laws were not reinforced by our Lord or the apostles in the New Testament – a necessity for sound doctrine.  If you recall, when the Judaizers sought to impose the Law upon the Gentiles, the Apostolic Counsel said, “We should not make it too difficult” and laid down four requirements – none of which included tattoos or beards. (Act 15:19-20)  Thank you, Jesus!  (Although, I must admit, I don’t think I would mind not having to shave everyday.  Smile!)

So, what is my take on all of this?  In the New Testament nothing in itself is “secular” it is either “sacred” or “profane.”  Sex is sacred in the confines of marriage; it is profane outside of marriage.  The same violin that can be used to bring glory to God can be used to arouse people to sexual immorality – i.e.: The Red Violin.  The same drug that can bring healing can be used by the addict to take life.  Paul told the Gentile Corinthians: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)  And, may I add -- even if it’s a tattoo.  

Finally, just remember – when you get old, so does the tattoo!

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