ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can christians have tattoos

Updated on September 8, 2020

Can Christians Have Tattoos?

Can Christians have Tattoos?

Tattoos are everywhere in this day and age, tattos can be found on musicians, actors and actresses, professional athletes, service men and women, and even on some pastors. A nationwide Harris poll found that 16 percent of all adults have at least one tattoo. The highest incidence was found among Americans age 25 to 29 (36 percent) and those age 30 to to 39 (28 percent) (Sever). Among University students, it's reported that 23 percent had one to three tattoos (CNN/Money). According to U.S. News and World Report, tattooing is the country's sixth fastest growing retail business, growing at the the rate of one new tattoo parlor opening it's doors every day. One estimate has 30,000 tattoo and body piercing artists working in the U.S. with at least eight major tattoo magazines being published regularly (DeMello 13).

With tattoos having become so ubiquitous in society today it has become a such a hotbed of controversy in the Christian community. the majority of traditionalist Christians will say that getting a tattoo is a sin antithetical to Christianity because the bible says that it is, typically citing Leviticus 19:28. So, the question that presents itself is getting a tattoo a sin and does the bible expressly forbid a believer to not get tattoos? If the Levitical verse is viewed in light of why this command was given, other verses in the Bible and the work of Christ, tattoos in and of themselves are not sinful and not prohibited to believers.

Tattoos and the Bible

There is only verse in the Bible that forbids tattoos is Leviticus 19:28 which states "You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoos yourselves: I am the Lord your God" (ESV). This at first seems cut and dry upon first reading it but if we look into why this law was given we come out with a clearer understanding. During this time, after the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, the Israelites were given these laws to set them apart from pagan nations. In this period, tattoos signified ownership and devotion, it was a common practice in Egypt as well as Babylon to tattoo a slave with his owner's name or the name of a god. According to theologians Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich in The Theological dictionary of the New Testament, Tattooing and acts of self mutilation were also religious mourning rites associated with the Canaanite fertility god (Kittel 660). According to Kittel the idolatrous nature of tattoos in the Israelite culture he explains is " when a person was tattooed he became dedicated to the god and became its servant, as well as came under its protection, so as not to be harmed" (Kittel 660). Hence tattoos were strongly affiliated with idolatrous practices and were strictly forbidden because it was viewed as contrary to the sole ownership and devotion that was to be only Jehovah God's. Another contextual issue that those who support the view that tattoos are sinful or contrary to God will also have to come to the conclusion that those who shave their beards, cut their hair or eat a medium rare steak are also sinning according to the preceding verses in Leviticus. Almost no one these days will say that those particular areas are contrary to God now and were merely cultural customs.

Free in Christ

Another thing that needs to be addressed is that are we as believers under the Levitical laws of the Old Testament. According to Paul in the New Testament we are no longer bound to the sacrificial and ritual laws and we are now free in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:13- 15 states " But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of expressing in ordinances that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace". In Romans 10:4 further states "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes". And 1 Corinthians 10:23 goes one more step further in saying that "All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful, all things are lawful but not all things build up". Now clearly Christ didn't end all law, for example, moral laws on killing, stealing and lying, but He did end all the rules and regulations regarding the temple worship. Also those things which were once forbidden like the dietary laws are permissible, however they may still be unhealthy and not beneficial to our overall health. Tattoos according to this assumption would be permissible however it's a different story if tattoos are beneficial or build up.

Leviticus 19:28

Tattoos the Christians Choice

Pastor Mark Driscoll who use to be the lead pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle, Washington wrote in His book The Radical Reformission that "Restrictive Christians go too far and name everything a universal sin, forbidding some cultural activities that the Bible does not, such as listening to certain music styles, getting tattoos, watching movies, smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol, and body piercing (103). The author of this paper also would have to agree with Pastor Driscoll that Christians can be too restrictive and thus become like Jesus' nemesis in his day the Pharisees, who were so legalistic that they thought that they were too sinless for grace that Christ had to offer. Let us not make judgements and restrictions based on tradition and cultural standards but let us judge people for what is in their hearts.

Can Christians get Tattoos?

Can Christians Get Tattoos?

See results

Should Christians Get Tattoos?

Should Christians Get Tattoos?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)