Should Believers Get Tattoos? What Does the Lord and the Bible say About Tattoos?

For by grace you have been saved through faith tattoo

For by grace I (you) have been saved through faith. Eph 2:8

Last week, a concerned father called into the show and ask about tattoos. Should the scriptures apply to today’s Christians or should we follow one pastor’s teaching that we are “under grace” and therefore anything goes, including the once pagan rite of tattoos.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am theLord. Leviticus 19:28

It is a tangled mess, isn’t it?

In recent years, as we move away from biblical teaching in our society, tattooing has become popular. While tattoos have been understood for centuries to be anti-chritian, even pagan, many believers (even pastors) have justified the marking of one’s skin by redefining Leviticus 19:28 and bringing in other scriptures that seem to support their position.

This is understandable as we have the desire to tattoo, we in turn find ways to justify what we desire. The problem is that a plain reading of the scripture leads to the inevitable conclusion that a person should not “tattoo any marks” on themselves. This is further reinforced by the statement “I am the Lord”.

Of course, the next objection to obeying this scripture is that we are “under grace” and not the law. This is the fall back position of any believer in Jesus Christ, who does not wish to obey Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul’s writings are used with great latitude to work around difficult passages in the Scripture. I have even had church members use the “under grace” argument to avoid New Testament teachings, so there you go.  Rather than beat a dead horse (so to speak) in this regard, I would ask this; Using Scripture, how do you determine when a command of God is to be obeyed or ignored because we are under grace and not the law? Think about this. Is it ok for me to commit adultery because I am now under grace. You might say, “That’s one of the ten commandments, it’s different.” Well, so is the Sabbath, but many ignore that one because we are “under grace”.

I believe that scripture is clear on tattoos. But you may not. I simply wonder at what point do we obey the Lord or do we throw most of the bible in the shredder? Let me know what you think.

Useful Resources:

How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret (40-Minute Bible Studies)
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