What does the Bible say about getting tattoos?

Is there a relation between the ritual tattoos of ancient times and the "body art" of today? What biblical principles apply to deciding whether a Christian should get a tattoo or not?

A woman getting a tattoo on her wrist.
Should a Christian get a tattoo? What does the Bible say?

Source: stock.xchng/canoncan

Tattooing has been around for centuries and this practice has enjoyed a popular resurgence, especially among young people, in recent years. The reasons vary. Some get tattoos to show independence and rejection of parental values. Others get them because of peer pressure or because they believe they are stylish—a type of body adornment and beautification.

As for God's instruction regarding tattoos, the Bible does not specifically address the modern practice of tattooing as body adornment. While Leviticus:19:28 says, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord," most scholars believe these practices were related to mourning for the dead. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary's article on tattoos says, "Any kind of self-laceration or marking of the body was prohibited among the Hebrew people. Such cuttings were associated with pagan cults that tattooed their followers while they mourned the dead" (1986).

Apparently, these people cut themselves and disfigured their bodies as a way of appeasing the anger of their gods and hoping to find some help for the deceased. God did not want His people getting involved in these pagan rituals because these practices led people away from Him. While death is always a sad time, God's people are not to "sorrow as others who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians:4:13).

While it is unlikely that people today get tattoos to mourn the dead, there are other biblical principles that indicate that getting a tattoo is inappropriate for Christians.

Several scriptures instruct Christians to take special care of their bodies. For example, 1 Corinthians:3:17 says, "If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." Also, 1 Corinthians:6:19-20 adds that our bodies belong to God, and that we are to glorify Him in body and spirit.

Unfortunately, dangerous diseases have been transmitted by improper sanitation of the needles used in tattooing. An article in the USA Weekend magazine of Aug. 5, 2001, quotes a study by the University of Texas showing that those who have been tattooed are nine times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C, a dangerous virus. The study urged those who have been tattooed in the last 10 years to be checked for the disease because it is often dormant for years before being detected. The dyes used in the tattooing process may also be detrimental to one's health (Andrew Osborn, "Health Risks Warning on Body Art Dyes," The Guardian , July 18, 2003).

King Solomon provides an additional lesson to be considered before making an important decision, saying, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning" (Ecclesiastes:7:8). In other words, consider how you will feel about the decision years later.

For people who get tattoos when they are young, many later regret their decision. It is "estimated that between 17-50% eventually regret having their body tattoo" (www.tattooremovalinstitute.org ). Many of these people eventually undergo operations to have their tattoos removed, but these procedures are not always successful. Scarring and skin variations commonly remain.

Finally, we should bear in mind that God wants Christians to come out of and be separate from the world around us (2 Corinthians:6:17; Revelation:18:4). We are to reflect God's values and His thinking. Because of these reasons, we strongly advise that people do not get tattoos. If a person already has a tattoo before becoming a Christian, he or she is not required to have it removed.

Built Ford Tough

Built Ford Tough's picture

Besides the health risks of getting a tattoo, and for religious reasons not to get them, having a tattoo is just disgusting. The idea that someone would be willing to permanently scar themselves with these eyesores is beyond me.


triciabrown's picture

I think people still get them to mourn the dead. My friend who lost her husband several years ago got a tattoo to mourn him. She picked out a picture that best described him and had it stuck on her then put the day she lost him under it. If this is what you mean by mourning the dead then they still do it today cause there are lots more that I know that do this to mourn someone.

Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Yeah, it's pretty common for people to get tattoos in honor of close friends or relatives that have died. Also, many people get "Christian" tattoos to honor God, but this is also misguided and directly contrary to Deuteronomy 12:30, which says not to worship God in the way that pagans worship their gods.

As this article points out though, there are reasons why a Christian should not get a tattoo under any circumstances, even if they are planning to do it for purely aesthetic reasons.


emil65300p's picture



hanko1959's picture

I have a tattoo of an eagle flying down with a rose in it's claws. It is a sort of memorial to my ex-wife, because I had her nickname put with it. Is this wrong? I hope the Lord will not be offended by my doing this to my body. I don't plan on getting any more.


katbird_27's picture

hanko1959 if you got the tattoo before you understood why it is wrong to do so. God will not be offended.


Tana's picture

I got one unfortunately when I was 16yrs old. I did not know it was in the Bible, I am sure I would not have done so if I had. I wasn't really raised in a Christian home. My Mom had a bible, but we rarely went to church and when we did it was on Christmas and Easter. It didn't seem much like church.....I wish I could remove the thing now.

I can attest that people still use tatoos to mark themselves for the dead. My brother got a tattoo after out Mother passed away six years ago, and was angry that I didn't do something similar to honor her.


hanko1959's picture

I just want to thank katbird_27 for her kind reply to my concern of getting a tattoo. I was not aware of this being in scriptures and I don't feel bad about it. In fact, I am proud to be a person who still has deep love for another who hurt them in the past, but still honors them in this way. My ex-wife is still alive, but after our difficult divorce, I got the tattoo to show my love and respect for her and for her to move on with a more fulfilling, happy life, even if it is not with me. So, the tattoo is from love, which our Lord demands we all practice every day, Love thy neighbor as yourself. Our Lord is Love and I am sure He will understand why I did this to my body. Praise our Lord!


TLBauer3617's picture

We are all born into darkness. It is a loving and merciful God Who illuminates with the Light of His Word those things which we may have done in our lives out of ignorance or pride or foolishness.

With respect to tattoos, clearly God has revealed that He does not want us to mark our bodies in that way. However, if we did so before coming to an understanding of this truth, God does not expect us to lop off the offending arm or leg or other such parts of our body. What God does expect, however, is that we repent of the attitude which led us to get the tattoo in the first place. The spiritual intent. Was it from rebellion to parental authority? Or pride? Or simply self-justification?

Whatever the attitude, that is what God expects us to bring before Him. Is our understanding now complete? Is our attitude of repentance sincere (and all self-justification put away)? Do we accept the forgiveness which God offers?

Is so ... then move on ... and don't look back!


Nellie's picture

I personally do not think that young people know that it is a sin,or that they should not do this tatooing.Most of them are not even aware that it is described in the Bible for that matter!!I think that if they are made aware(Which is what I am going to do)that most of them would want to have it removed!!

David The Tattooed

David The Tattooed's picture

I am tattooed and a minister. I was tattooed while I was a youth minister. My tattoo is on my forearm facing me, it is a cross made of twisted thorns and says true love true freedom. I got this when I was going through a very tuff time in my life to always remind me that I can only have true love and true freedom when I stay focused on the cross and thorns. I think the meaning and the reason for a tattoo is what decides if it is a sin, like many other things in this world. My tattoo catches the interest of lots of people and leads to lots of conversation that sometimes bring people to Christ. Most of these people are people that I might not have ever spoke with but they came to me because they saw my tattoo while I was standing in line at the store or something like that. With that said I am not saying go get a random tattoo, I'm just saying if it brings others to Christ don't call it a sin. Be thoughtfull and remember anything we do that does not glorify Christ is a sin.


amjd81's picture

First off, I'm a applauded by the judgmental things I'm reading here. I LOVE Jesus with all my heart and I have both arms sleeved; He sees my heart while you only see the body.

All the sophomoric arguments here pertaining to tattoos "being wrong" are found in one place in Leviticus 19. Let me educate you on what else that chapter says:

For starters, Leviticus 19:37 clearly states: "Therefore shall you observe ALL my statutes, and ALL my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD"
Which means you can't just cherry pick the laws that work for you to use in judgment of others (or yourself) and then simply negate what you feel is non-essential. This is also supported by the New Testament in Galatians 5:2-4

"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey THE WHOLE LAW. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace"

to be circumcised meant to be like the Jews and practice their laws and ways. With that said, allow me to remind you what else Leviticus says:

- Lev. 19:19 states "neither shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you"
...%95 of what we wear is made with mixed garments and fabrics.

- Lev. 19:26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood"
...How many of you like a nice rare or medium-rare steak or hamburger?

- Lev. 19:27 "You shall not shave around the sides of your heads, neither shall you disfigure the corners of your beard"
....We're ALL guilty of this one!

Still gonna hold tight to Leviticus 19:28? Ok, how many of you have your ears pierced? That same verse says not to cut yourself. What do you think a piercing is?

You rest an incredulous argument on one verse to judge all tattoo'd believers and now I will show you 8 different verses that tell you that we are NO LONGER ACCOUNTABLE OR UNDER THE OLD LAW

Don't believe me? Well here's a bunch of scriptures that can be found in your Bibles supporting this - look them up! I don't have room to write them all out.

Romans 6:14
Romans 7:4
Galatians 5:18
2 Corinthians 3:14
Colossians 2:14
Hebrews 8:13
Hebrews 10:9

Much like the Pharisees, I'll bet most of you don't follow all these old laws yourself but you'll use them to attack others? Ask God for deliverance from legalism:(


John1717's picture

Minister David- What God condemns something, I don't believe your or my "thoughts/feelings" carry ANY weight in overruling it. Spots,stains,blemishes,defiled,unclean,marks,tattoos, etc... The Bible is VERY clear these are NOT the things of GOD, nor should we be proud to do them or participate in them (as the pagan culture does). Repent in your heart, your pride is a stubling block. I'm not as upset that you are forever tainted, as I am that your heart(words) still sounds rebellious.

P.S. Killing babies in the womb(abortion) brings them to Christ; do you "think" that this also glorifies Christ? Is this not a sin? Think/Pray about it, If God commands his people NOT to do something(leviticus 19:28)... Should we ignore GOD and justify our disobedience? Gods precepts/laws should be written on your heart, not remembered from stain on your skin. Our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. What God has made we must not Defile! Though your sins are as scarlet they shall be whiter than snow... All sin is Sin, no matter how we try to justify ours.


amjd81's picture

ya know, I'm only seeing one sided of comments here and my last comment didn't even show up, so I hope that whoever screens these isn't not allowing them to post. I'm posting bible verses to back my side of the discussion and as a Christian, I have as much a right to speak my mind on the subject, so I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't reject what I'm saying this time...

Leviticus 19:37 says "Keep ALL my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.”

tattoos are part of the law, but so is not eating rare meat or shaving. According to that verse, we have to follow all of the law or none at all.

But Galatians 5: 2 - 4 states "It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.". This means you

David The Tattooed, I'm a tattooed guy and I love Jesus. Just remember Romans 8:1 says "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

David The Tattooed

David The Tattooed's picture

John 1717
"I'm not as upset that you are forever tainted, as I am that your heart(words) still sounds rebellious." I understand why you said this it's a lack of understanding my intentions.

Abortion is a completely different subject that does not pertain to this. Christ mentions on many occasions the intentions of the heart and mind.

1st Please read amjd81's comment.
2nd Please look into the ways and reasons pagans mark them self.
3rd Please look into who the pagans were not who they are.

David The Tattooed

David The Tattooed's picture

I'm a tattooed guy and I love Jesus. Just remember Romans 8:1 says "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Amen to that!!!


amjd81's picture

David The tattooed, are tattoo inherently evil? Doubtful... because Isaiah 49:16 says "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.". An Engraving on a body part is a tattoo.

The bible specifies not to "tattoo unto the dead" in Leviticus 19:28. BUT that chapter also instructs us:

- not to shave. Lev. 19:27
- not to eat red meat. Lev. 19:26
- not to wear clothes made with two kinds of material. Lev. 19:19

The New Testament, in Galatians 5: 2 - 4, is crystal clear that we are NOT to follow old law, but if we do we must not follow just one but keep ALL of them.

Also, what a lot of people, that use Leviticus 19 to condemn tattoos, miss is at the very end of the chapter where it says in verse 37 "Keep ALL my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord."

I chose to walk in the freedom of Christ and for me, these are permissible. For someone else, they may not be.

Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

After reading the back and forth on this issue, it's made me concider a much larger issue.

When Paul wrote in 1Tim 1:8, But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully;

When using the scriptures to validate a position, is it being applied for the good or is is being applied just for your own good?


KARS's picture

Keep in mind that many people have no idea about all the Bible rules. So don't judge them in this subject. You didn't know alot before yourselves.


Josephmurphy40's picture

AMJD81, Don't take versus out of context. The laws that were being discussed (Romans 6:14, Romans 7:4, Galatians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 3:14, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 8:13, and Hebrews 10:9)were pertaining to the sin offerings and sacrifices. Also Leviticus 20:27 is talking about an Arabic religious practice where they would actually shave the hair around their temples in such a way to pay homage to their gods, in other words an idolatrous practice. Finally, I do in fact only eat well done meat.


amjd81's picture

Norbert Z, that question could easily be redirected and used on anyone... even yourself.

The definition of the word "Lawfully" is "legitimately: in a manner acceptable to common custom". With that said, I'd like to point out that Paul also tells us that if we are to follow one or more parts of the law, by means of practice or observation, then we must adhere to them ALL. Galatians 5:3 - "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law."

Romans 14: 1 - 4 says "Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand."

Ultimately, I shouldn't have to defend or validate myself to you to a peer in the brotherhood, but I'm choosing to explain myself now. We are tattooed but we are still are believers. We should be loved, just as Jesus loves us. If anyone thinks Christians' tattoos are wrong, fine... Then silently pray about to God, but don't interrogate us about our "short-comings" when you most definitely have your own sins to worry about. Don't put us in condemnation when even The One that has ALL the right to stand in judgement over all us chooses NOT to but rather accept us and love us. Romans 8:1 - "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

Galatians 15:14 - 15 says "The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself". If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other"

Lastly, in answer to your question "When using the scriptures to validate a position, is it being applied for the good or is is being applied just for your own good?"

You wouldn't be able to know if I telling you the truth unless you could somehow can see my heart.

Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

That's the whole point of my comment and question amjd81, that it can be used on anyone even myself. (Actually the question was first thought about in reference to myself) It was presented so broad it can be used by either side of the issue.

Also that question does not ask anyone to validate themself to another person. You choose to write to explain yourself.

Here's another contemplative question. In regards that a person shouldn't have to defend or validate themself to others, should they then choose to want other's to validate them? "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:43

Lastly can a person know they are telling the truth without having their eyes opened to their own heart in the first place? Because if a person's eyes aren't open, they can't be certain to even know how to love themself and treat the temple of their body. Basically all they may be doing is explaining completely wrong ideas about how other's should "Love your neighbor as yourself".


amjd81's picture

Josephmurphy40, wait, I'm "taking verses out of context"?? So it's ok for everyone here to emphatically decree that getting tattooed is EVIL and use that to stand in judgement over other believers because of one verse Leviticus 19 (which is actually referring to memorializing the dead on the flesh), but when I talk about the other laws in the chapter and how it's clear that you must follow ALL of them (in defense against the words of a BROTHER in Christ), then suddenly the laws have exceptions and I'm the one taking them "out of context"? riiiiight....

When asked about the most important commandment to follow was, Jesus answered "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Making people feel inferior or "bad Christians" because of what they do or don't do doesn't sound like love to me. In fact, the bible says that "Love IS patient and kind. Love IS NOT jealous or boastful OR proud OR rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance ... love will last forever!"

We, who are tattoo and saved by what Jesus and HIS life, death, and resurrection, are NOT accountable to you. We are accountable to the Lord God Almighty and will stand before Him one day to answer for what we have done. It is not your job to judge us; it is your job to love us.

I'm sorry if me loving the Lord and having tattoos somehow bothers you, but much like many others, I don't feel the same convictions you do and I chose to walk in freedom in that area. I don't know what else to you


amjd81's picture

Norbert Z,

RE: "In regards that a person shouldn't have to defend or validate themself to others, should they then choose to want other's to validate them? "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:43"

I think I made myself clear the first time - I'm not looking for approval from anyone but God. I'll share this with you. I'm not justifying myself with this, but for understanding sake, I want to tell you that I grew up in a very proper Christian home and church where looks would validate the heart. I've always been fond of tattoos, but I am especially glad that I have them now, because I'd rather face the persecution from other Christians and have favor only from God, for looking NOT fitting the A-typical Christian appearance on the outside and loving Jesus in my heart, rather than being commended for being a "good Christian" by the clothes that I wear and my outer appearance despite where my heart is at!

The Bible says that if we know God then we DO know love. If love is measured only by action, as in "destroying our temple" (body), than brother, you are as guilty as the rest of us for the bible says that if you love me, you will obey me. So unless you've never sinned before, you are no different than me.

Also in further response to your question about love. It's by grace and my faith in Jesus that I CAN love my neighbor. It has nothing to do with what I do or don't do, but what HE can do through me.

God bless

Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

Hi there,

Just wanted to remind everyone to please remember the comment policy and to respond keeping Galatians 5:22-23 in mind. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Sabrina Peabody
UCG.org Web Team

Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

Sabrina, something to keep in mind about what are the fruits of the Spirit mentioned v. 22-23. It's also to understand what are NOT the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in the previous verses 19-21.

In my view when looking at those fruits, what should people make of "idolatry"? In relevance towards having "christian tatoos".

Amjd81, when comments like yours, "So unless you've never sinned before, you are no different than me" are made within the context you provided. It's been my experience from numerous posts on other christian forums, the discussion can mostly just go downhill.


tuck's picture

I tried to post something earlier but technology got the best of me. I have 2 tatoos, I was a pround young soldier when I got them but I know that this and many other things done as a young man were sins of my youth. I won't argue whether or not tatoos are good/bad. I don't see a voice of love on this commentary. I sense an angry sarcastic person who isn't sorry at all and wants to prove everyone wrong. That isn't how Christ operated. He planted the seed, he never forced it to grow. The thing that concerns me the most is what this commentary has exploded into. It sounds like someone believes that actions don't have consequences, or we are no longer held accountable?? Did I read correctly? If you believe that we are no longer held accountable, you need to go back to the basics & keep in mind that the bible does not contradict itself.


dziwczyna's picture

I got tattoos in my teens, which years later I now regret.

I have to be very careful of the clothes that I wear, as I feel it's inappropriate for work and church for them to be revealed. Even on non-work/church days I don't like them to be revealed. I think they are extremely unattractive and unfeminine as well.

It's a bit more complicated than it seems to get them removed, as there are concerns that laser surgery can cause cancer.

One poster mentioned they like not fitting into the typical Christian appearance. As a Christian we are commanded to shine our lights, and tattoos can give a wrong impression of who we really are and people can look down on us. That doesn't mean that we aren't following Christ, but following Christ is a full-time job that requires us to constantly check both our outward and inward appearance. We are special, and should be proud to look like Christians!


cassie1213's picture

Wouldn't laser surgery be like a tattoo? It does leave scars!

I have tattoos and a couple can be seen and I dont hide them from ppl and tht includes my ppl that I go to church with, there are many at our church with them and this doesnt make them any less of a believer in GOD, our pastor does not condemn them in any way as some of our elders have tattoos. We as CHRISTIAN'S are NOT to judge others as that it for God to do, so whatever the reason is that someone gets a tattoo is for them to answer to GOD, and just because I have them doesn't mean I will ever stop loving GOD. We all have sinned and always do as we are not our lord an anyway, we are here to preach his word and study the Bible.


KARS's picture

Cassie we are called from all kinds of walks of life. So of us come in the church with tattoes, tainted pasts, surgery scars for laser surgeries (like me for instance), or just plan sillyiness on our part as a child trying out crazy stunts with a "crash and burn" and scars to show for it. After we are called it's up to use to make better decisions. For those of us growing up in the church; the example is taught with it's do's' and don't's but that doesn't necessarily mean that the individual will heed any warnings given. We have freedom of choice. Will we or will we not. In the end we all must repent and move on. Persecution comes in many forms whether we make right or wrong choices. In the end we all answer to God our Father. So like the Bible says. Before you judge your brother look at yourself for you may just find you have the exact same problem. Here is an old saying I heard Great Grandma say; "Look who is calling the kettle black."


christophershin's picture

hello everyone.. i am a born again believer in Jesus Christ and i would like to share my testimony with you all. i received Christ into my life on June14th last year and He has changed my life dramatically, praise His holy name!! I am an ex-con and all i had to offer my family financially was my income received doing tattoos. yes, was a tattoo artist for over 5 years. last month i decided to quit, cold turkey. why? not because of what people said about tattoos or what they thought, i quit because of what God had to say about it. only one verse convicted me.. 1 corinthians 6:19. our bodies are the temple of God. a place for the HOLY Spirit to dwell. the Lord opened my eyes and showed me that my art, although nice in the eyes of men, was not worthy to be inked onto God's marvelous art.. the human body. i was getting paid to put permanent graffiti all over His artwork, His temple. i realized it doesn't matter what nature you have when inking your skin or inking the skin of others, we are defacing His work. and ask yourself, if you honestly love the Lord, why would you do that to your body or the body of others when our bodies don't even really belong to us? these things spoke to my heart and i quit tattooing for a living. i am currently unemployed, but i've been spending a lot more time in God's word and He told me that He will provide and bless those who obey Him. this is just my own personal testimony and I do not expect this to influence anyone else, since God has various ways to bring Himself glory. I love the Lord for all He has done in my life and I pray He blesses everyone of you too. thank u and have a blessed day!


dust_i_am's picture

Christopher: thanks for sharing your testimony! Your words may well influence others; God can make that happen.

Keep reading God's Word, and responding to what the Holy Spirit shows you!

Joan Rooney

Joan Rooney's picture

I have read many of the arguments here, pro and con. For myself, I have always looked upon those with body tatoos
as unknowingly following Satan I decided to do a little research just a while ago. As a minister you may be interested
in tatoos and paganism.....Readers here should also do their research: **Link removed to comply with comment policy**.
The bible instructs to. Stay away from evil,. We are not to follow the ways of this world, and because we are Christians claim it's OK to sin..Jesus forgave us. "Christians"" shall be judged also! I pray for all who are not truly saved.


Lombago's picture

The WORD says "COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE THEE SEPARATE". If you came to Jesus with tattoos and repented of your sins, you are now a new creature in Christ. That means we don't have the stinking thinking of the world. We are different than the world. We are in the world but not of it. Now we are to read the WORD daily to make us strong and pray daily to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. We are to show the world that we are different. If there are churches that let this happen, the church is undone. You might as well write the word Ichabod over the door. Anything goes in that church.The Spirit of the Lord will not be there.


AubreyAlyssa's picture


I'm sixteen and I just got a tattoo on Wednesday. I got the Chi Rho symbol that included the Alpha and Omega symbols. The Chi Rho means "Christ" in Greek, and the Alpha and Omega represent God's eternal grace and reign as our Lord and King.

However, I would like to comment on David The Tattooed's post. Thank you. You are a great example of someone who understands what Christianity really is. We don't have to sit here and judge on what is on our bodies. In fact, I love the idea of being a minister and having tattoos.

I go to a church in Indiana where most of the Church attenders have tattoos, stretched ears, piercings, and colorfully dyed hair. I believe it isn't what is on the outside of a Christian, but what is on the inside. If God is in you, that's all that matters.

So, I just want to ask the others that are posting things to be considerate and love everyone. Even Jesus tells us to love thy neighbors and love thy enemies. How can you love God without loving your brothers and sisters, too?

Thank you, and God Bless.


Skip's picture

Hi AubreyAlyssa!
I have to agree that what is inside is more important than what is outside. So I guess I am a little confused because when I have a conversation with anyone having extremely noticeable tattoos, stretched ears, piercings, or colorfully dyed hair I tend to look at these with real interest. I possibly might even miss the point they are making because I am fascinated by what I see.
When anyone wears anything (or chooses not to wear something),that person, by default, is making a personal statement.
I guess the real question is: What statement do we wish to make?


kmontgomery's picture

I am a Christian and am currently researching about this topic. My mother just passed away in May of 2012 very unexpectedly. It has been very rough on my family. She passed away at the age of 50 and I was 21 at the time.

I wanted to get a tattoo in remembrance of her and not so much as a mourning thing. I wanted to get a cross with the day she passes away in roman numerals underneath but I wouldn't want to get this if it wasn't acceptable. I am wanting to get this because it will be my way of honoring her. She was cremated so I have no where to visit to show respect of remember my mother...although I know you don't need that in order to show that.

Would like to know yalls opinions and I could really use some nice legitimate guidance.

United Church of God

United Church of God's picture

Dear kmontgomery,

We are very sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, especially at such an early age. It is wonderful that you want to keep a remembrance of her and keep her close to your heart. You ask if getting a tattoo or a cross with the date she passed away would be a good way of doing that.

Although the current fad of tattoos is not directly mentioned in the Bible, Leviticus:19:28 mentions tattoos in relation to pagan religious practices. It says, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord”. The following excerpt from “Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary’s” article on tattoos gives us some helpful background: ‘Any kind of self-laceration or marking of the body was prohibited among the Hebrew people. Such cuttings were associated with pagan cults that tattooed their followers while they mourned the dead’. We realize that the circumstances under which God gave Israel this statute are different than the present grooming fads.

There are some other principles that you might want to consider as well; the Bible says that women should dress in moderate apparel (1 Timothy:2:9-10). This principle would also apply to men. You would have to decide if a tattoo was moderate or not. Although getting a tattoo for the purpose you have in mind is a noble one, there might be better ways of memorializing your mother. A tattoo is permanent and hard to remove and it could continually draw attention to your mother’s death to others. A better way might be to have pictures and keepsakes of her displayed around your home.

When it comes to getting a cross with the date of her death inscribed below it, the second commandment forbids making religious objects, such as a cross. Exodus:20:4 states, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image -- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” The cross was also a Roman instrument of torture, which of and by itself would make it inappropriate to wear as a religious symbol. Christ Himself also said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John:4:24), not by using physical objects.

United Church of God

United Church of God's picture

The best way to honor your mother would be to emulate what she taught you and to be the son she wanted you to be. She will always be in your heart. God will preserve her life for a future resurrection. To honor is to value. God so valued all of our lives that He gave His Son to die on our behalf. Christ laid down His life so your mother, and all of mankind, could be brought back to life in a future resurrection.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to write again. You can also go to www.ucg.org/booklets and read online, or request a free printed copy of our booklets “The Ten Commandments,” “What Happens After Death?” and “What Is Your Destiny?”


ace1's picture

Well let me start by saying that I too have tattoos (more than a few) and plan on getting more. Yet I have read all of these comments and I don't agree nor disagree with any of the statements above. The fact is the bible is a tool to our faith and are the words of our Lord and his followers. The key word is "OUR" not mine, not yours, but OUR Lord. To be honest there is a reason there are 2 testaments. The 1st testiment being the understanding and acknoledgement of God being our only God. The laws were ment to implicate that OUR people are following in God's vision and path of rightiousness. The laws also were a means for God to know who is true people were. So in a way it was Gods way of judgeing his people to better shape man kind into rightiousness. At the time of this people worship many and or other "gods" or people. SO God was angry with his supposed "people".

The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies! The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans and rivers dry up, the lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wilt. In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him. But he sweeps away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He pursues his foes into the darkness of night. (Nahum:1:2-8 NLT)

so to sum this up the old testament was so that God may replenish his name and the faith of his created people. The new testiment was ment to continue strenghtening our faith, to also know of and follow God's only begotten son our Lord Jesus Christ, and to show that the old laws were no longer needed but ours sins needed to be washed away. There are differences in the use and purpose of each testiment but I would be here all day pointing them out.
(“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned")

Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Re: "[The New Testament was meant] to show that the old laws were no longer needed"

(without specifically addressing tattoos)

The giving of God's laws was indeed intended to 'shape mankind into righteousness.' For this very reason, they are just as applicable now as ever: "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth" (Psalm:119:142 NKJV)--and because "[A]ll your commands are true...Your laws will last forever...The very essence of Your words is truth; all Your just regulations will stand forever" (Psalm:119:151-152,160 NLT 2010).

"[T]he law that was changed [in Hebrews:7:12] was the one that limited the priesthood to the descendants of Levi. Moreover, the laws pertaining to sacrifices were changed. The Levites offered daily sacrifices, but Jesus offered one sacrifice for all" ("The Nature of God and Christ"): http://members.ucg.org/papers/NatureofGod.pdf

"The law stayed the same...Th[e] fault was with the people, not with the law...In the New Covenant, God writes the law in the minds and hearts of His people (Hebrews:8:10; Jeremiah:31:33-34)...God's Spirit enables His people to obey His laws!

'...Paul explains that 'what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh' God has accomplished by sending Jesus, who overcame the flesh and 'condemned sin [lawlessness] in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit' (Romans:8:3-4; see also 1 John:3:4.

'The International Critical Commentary, in reference to Romans:8:4, says: 'God's purpose in 'condemning' sin was that His law's requirement might be fulfilled in us, that is, that His law might be established in the sense of at last being truly and sincerely obeyed—the fulfillment of the promises of Jer[emiah] 31:33 and Ezek[iel] 36:26...'

'Jeremiah:31:33-34...'is often misunderstood as a promise of a new law to take the place of the old or else as a promise of a religion without law at all. But the new thing promised in v. 33 is, in fact, neither a new law nor freedom from law, but a sincere inward desire and determination on the part of God's people to obey the law already given to them'" ("Does the New Covenant Abolish the Commandments?"): http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/jesus-t...


Skip's picture

Hello ace1,
I really liked what you had to say about God, since you were pretty much just quoting from God's Word.
But what I don't understand is Why so many tattoos?

Spread The Love

Spread The Love's picture

I'm reading through all of these pros and cons of getting tattoos and I am seriously confused with what I should do.

I have a tattoo that I've wanted to have covered up, because I have gotten it done when I was younger and it no longer applies to me. I would rather have something more wholesome, something that would be appreciated by God and other believers.

Come time for research, and I find out that Tattoos are a sin in the first place? Am I going to have to live with my current ink job now? I think removal would only make it worse :(


douglaskc's picture

A common theme of those who are "for" tattoos is that they shouldn't be judged or condemned for having or getting tattoos.

That's correct as far as it goes. If our attitude is primarily one of condemnation toward another person because of what they're doing then that's wrong. We each have our sins to work on:

Mat:7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.
Mat:7:5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Note that the condemnation against judging is one of hypocritical judgement. But a "speck" and a "plank" are BOTH sins in this analogy.

There ARE standards of right and wrong that the Lord has written in scripture. And as Christians we are expected to know, learn and teach these standards.

Heb:5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Mature Christians use Christ to help them learn what is good and evil. As Christians we should be humble and consider why someone is correcting us:

Pro:1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro:1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;

We learn from scripture through God's spirit which can speak to us from other members of God's church.

When it comes to tattoos it's clear that the Lord Jesus Christ in the words he caused to be written in the old testament prohibited his people from having their bodies marked in certain ways for certain reasons.

The overriding reason is that it resembled a return to the world. To a place where they did not know God. A return to the time when they were like everyone else around them. Anti-Christ.

It's much the same way with tattoos today. Tattoos were once the identifying symbols of outlaws, criminals and of pagan cultures that did not know our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Symbols of people who were anti-Christ. How does the Lord feel knowing that those who claim to be his followers are marking their bodies in the same fashion? It seems to be a huge insult!

Christian instruction is vital for edifying and building the body of Christ. Helping each body part to function as it should isn't hypocritical judgement, but rather a restoration of the body to health.


apostolicgal's picture

I believe the word of God has principles to live by...For example:The word of God does not say doing crack cocaine is a sin, however it does say in Titus:1:8
but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
and Titus:2:6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded.
So it says be "sober-minded"...That means to me, if i'am not sober-minded then i'am in sin. It's the principle and being obiedent to God and not chasing after the flesh of the eyes (1 John:2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.)I've read alot of post and people saying not to judge, however the word of God judges.
...So in my opinion i believe tattoos are not of God and The Lord says be holy for i'am holy. Alot of people these days want to bring God down to their level, when in fact we need to be on his level. Thank you and God bless.

Glenn Minks

Glenn Minks's picture

I just want to put my 2c in here. I haven't read all the comments, but whatever they contain is irrelevant. I'd like to share my story, as this is something I'm dealing with right now.

I'm a devout believer in Christ. I love the lord. When I get in the car, the radio is on Christian talk radio, when I get home from work, I usually spend at least an hour in prayer and bible study. Sometimes upwards of 3 hours. Suffice to say, Jesus rules my life, without any doubt.

On the radio one day about a month ago, while I was on a business trip, I heard one of the speakers talking about how the cross is being erased from society. Of course that's a figurative statement, but true, nonetheless. When I heard that, something inside screamed at me. I was seeing various tattoo designs, God-glorifying designs, and I felt a serious motivation to get a tattoo.

I didn't go get it. I still haven't settled on the idea yet. I decided that I would pray on it for a time. And so I did. And so I still am.

Today, something else happened. While in prayer before starting work today, I thanked my Father for guiding my wife to her ministry finally. I've been praying for both of us to find our calling. Then I told Him how I'm still waiting for confirmation on what I'm to do with myself, what He wants of me. I let my thoughts wander a bit, as I often do in prayer. I was looking for the next thing I wanted to talk to him about. Well, very suddenly, and very vividly, I was shown a tattoo design, three crosses. Very simple, modest, straightforward. I believe that was the Holy Spirit guiding my thoughts and imagination.

The more I pray about it, the more I ask for His will to be done in my heart and in my life, the more my thoughts gravitate around this tattoo. I'll continue to pray about it. I don't know for how long. But today, the thought also crossed my mind while in prayer, we're not to challenge God, or infer meaning into what he's telling us. We're not to assume into his commands. And when he tells us to act, we're to act. Today, I'll look for a good tattoo artist that's at least moderately interested in the design.

Glenn Minks

Glenn Minks's picture

A question for you: In obtaining a tattoo, a lot goes on. An artist creates a design. The client collaborates with the artist to perfect it according to the client. The artist then spends a lot of time laying out the tattoo and then putting it on the client. A lot of thought, contemplation, meditation, occurs in that artists mind. Is he an unbeliever? Would that thought process help him? Would it plant a seed?

They say a typical T-shirt gets looked at over 3,000 times in it's lifetime. A tattoo lasts far longer than a T-shirt.

If, in this corrupt, sinful society, that worships the body, one tattoo successfully planted one seed, that eventually brought one more soul to love Him, would God then look at the tattoo as abomination?

In the account of the Magi coming to baby Jesus, God had (in the law) commanded that no one of Israel should study the stars. Astrology was forbidden. This blinded the Israelites to the appearance of the star that would tell of the birth of Christ. Yet this is where He chose to reveal His coming. In that time, astrologers were one of the many heathens of the world. Yet God chose to use these pagans to alert Israel to what's going on. And likewise, Jesus found his true allies among the pagans, and his most dire enemies among Israel. So again, does the Lord value our bodies, in their pristine natural state, so much?

I am only saved by grace, not by the law. Therefore, I'll live by grace, and not by the law. And if I can bring a person to Christ by unconventional means, I'll happily do it.

Staunch legalism keeps so many unbelievers from felling their walls and coming to Christ. It's sad. God gives us His grace, that we may be truly free. Unbelievers see the legalist lifestyle and think they're more free as an unbeliever, and so they won't change. That's heartbreaking. Since I've come to Christ, I've quit smoking, quit drinking, I eat better, and exercise, I'm happy, I'm content. None of those things were true for me as an unbeliever. My life has been radically changed by Christ, and I'm truly free. Much freer than the unbeliever, and that much more so than the legalist.

God bless, all of you. Thank you for reading.


Philologus23's picture

Great Post. Being a tattooed Christian myself I would have to agree to this post. On the other hand, treating the body as a temple of God adresses more than just individuals with ink. For example anyone who has led an unhealthy lifestyle and developed preventable chronic diseases such as obesity would be just as wrong according to this. We should grow to understand the word for ourselves and let the Word of God shine out of you. Because of this post, think about what many people have done. They have unconsciously judged others. And we should all know that if God judges us at the end of our lives what makes us so special to do it to others before that day? A sin is a sin is a sin. Each one of your judges is no different than each persons individual tattoos. What saddens me about "Christians" is that we tend to act like we are so righteous forgetting that we all have fallen short. If we jumped from a ship and tried to swim to shore and I get 50 feet away from it t and your a mike away. Am I any better because I got closer even though we both died?


Skip's picture

Hello Glenn Minks,



Skip's picture

Hello again Glenn Minks,

Thanks for sharing your story.
I'm going to approach a reply from an experience I had a few (actually quite a few) years back.

I was told that Jesus Christ was crucified on a single upright stake. I believed this because I trusted the person who told me. I didn't think it was possible but then I had the opportunity to visit Italy (& their many museums.) In one of the museums in Florence they had several depictions of Roman crucifixions.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that the MAJORITY of them were on single upright stakes.

Perhaps you will want to check out the variety of crucifixion instruments before you permanently alter your appearance.


Jesusfreak95's picture

I think as long as you're a good person and you do good deeds and except Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you're safe you're saved. I don't suggest any tattoos that do not honor The Lord. I'm 17 when 18 I'm getting Jesus's name in the language and writing he used during his time called Galilean Aramaic. Which in English writing which translates into Eashoa Msheekhah. I'm saved there's no turning back.


slb127's picture

Good article!

And this has probably already been addressed by many. I didn't get a chance to read all of the comments yet. But I'd like to ask amjd81, and others, is it acceptable to omit obvious scriptures such as Acts:15:20 where gentiles were being instructed to keep old testament laws (even one brought up--the blood law--they literally told the gentiles to observe)? Why did the gentiles attend the synagogue on Sabbaths to hear the teachings of the "old" law (Acts:15:21)? When God said to love Him and love your neighbors, wasn't that followed with this is how you do it (the laws)? Doesn't the Bible say all over the old testament and new testament that if you love Him, you'll obey His commandments?

2 John:1:6
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Deuteronomy:11:13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.

1 John:5:2-3
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Now, I personally believe that we are supposed to keep the laws that were stated by amjd81 since they are a part of the law and God gave them to us for our best interest (and I know for sure that a lot already keep the blood law).

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

You can continue down your path but be warned that those who do not try their best to follow Christ's instructions are not of Christ. And:

1 John:3:4
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

James:2:19-20 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Hopefully this helps some who read it.



The Rebellious Soul

The Rebellious Soul's picture

Oh my.
I got here looking for a tattoo that would express me- my motto for many years. I fully intend to get it when I'm older. But I looked at this article, and I looked at these comments- and people, I'm a fourteen-year-old who's lived in the same place their entire life, who's lived quite a sheltered life, but this I know is wrong. We as Christians should see through the skin and into the soul. We are not defined by what we look like- what we look like should be defined by who we are. God would understand many of the tattoos worn by people today, in my opinion, though I'm not sure how much the opinion of a child counts in society. I have endured years of my atheist dad trying to convince me that God is not real- and I have come out strong and possibly more a believer because of it. God has helped me through dark times in my life, God has given me someone to talk to when I had no one, and God has given me strength when I was weak. I am as much of a believer in the Bible, in Jesus, in everything pertaining to Christianity, as any one of the people who have posted a comment on this page. And I believe one little line of words on my ankle, which I have reason to believe may have saved my life at one point, will not damn me to Hell or whatever you think happens to men and women with tattoos. We are children of the Lord. We are all this one big family- sure, we get into fights, sure, we annoy the living life outta one another. But in the end, we will ALWAYS be there for one another.

It's the most simple logic in the world- protect your family. Help them. Support them. They will do the same. And if you don't, you will regret it when it is too late to fix. I've learned this firsthand.

I'm 14. I'm barely more than a child. And I hate it when my siblings fight.

Lotsa Love,


Lori's picture

At the time of the rapture our bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible.

Greatest Of The...

Greatest Of These Is Love's picture

& they will know we are Christians by our love.
remember whenever you talk to anyone about anything be Christ like about it. Its our job as followers to represent Him. Dont let our reactions leave others offended. Simply stare what you believe out of love and compassion for that person and leave the rest up to God. Dont get heated or worked up or feel like you need to defend yourself. You laid out the info for people, let them do or say whatever they please with it. Let go & let God.
Food for thought.
God Bless Everyone

God Seeker

God Seeker's picture

Someone above said that our bodies don't belong to ourselves. That's true. They don't. They belong to the "Living God".

Jesus actually purchased every human being on the planet at the Cross. The thing is that some people realize it more and more gradually through the study and application of His Word. Learning what God intends and means is a growth process like eating bread nourishes the body on a day to day basis.

Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of His Word. He came so everyone could know who God was and we are suppose to identify with Him. We identify with the Living God.

Some people like to say "What would Jesus do" to determine our actions. No where in scripture is Jesus reported as having a tattoo. So try if possible to identify with Jesus in all things and trust your dead to Him, too. He's the one that will make them alive again. Your character is what attracts people to Jesus. As people get to know you if you are trying to know God then they are getting to know God, too through you whether or not they realize it.


Tasha's picture

I read a comment above. Someone praying for those who "are not truely saved" and tattooed or not i just dont believe its possible to not be truely saved.There is a place in the bible Acts 16 30:31 -"Sirs,what must i do to be saved?"They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."We are not saved or unsaved by our actions.Our best is only as good as dirty rags.Im not saying its ok to knowingly sin and just think its ok but everyone sins and it sounds arrogant of someone to say they will pray for those who "unknowingly follow the devil". No one here is any better than anyone else here.All fall short of his glory but are eternally blessed by the Sacrifice Jesus made for us.That comment just bothered me.

As to the main discussion...i confess i am torn.The more research i do on the subject,the more torn i become.I know what the bible says and have done research about the customs to which the verse is refering.I debate because we as christians do technically break many old testiment laws such as with meat,hair etc.Some of the arguments above are so strict but the odds that everyone follows all the old testiment laws is slim to none so i guess my question is-

Why is it so important to follow the law about no tattos but it ok for men to shave their beards(just the example that came to mind)?

Im not asking to be obnoxious.Its just that the odds that the people in this discussion(those adamantly againt tattoos)follow all of the laws themselves is unlikely so why is it ok for them to force this one?Some of the surrounding verses say not to do other things that everyone does on a daily basis like a man shaving to use my previous example.I would seriously like some feedback on this stuff because im honestly torn on the issue

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Tasha, I can understand your being torn. I've read the article spurring this discussion, plus all the previous comments on this post, and there's a lot that's already been said about tattoos. Regarding the beard-shaving issue, I believe it was a particular type of pagan beard-shaving style that God forbade. I agree with the comment that we shouldn't judge a person by his/her outward appearance. God looks on the heart (I Sam.16:7). However, if tattoos have any possible connection with evil, we should avoid them, as God told us to avoid even the appearance of evil(I Thes.5:22).

A person with a godly heart will tend to be modest and not go to extremes of dress or appearance. Would we want to be remembered for our body markings or instead, the way we are as a person? Tattoos tend to distract from what is truly important.

Yes, there are even some things we could do that are lawful, but if they cause another person to stumble, those would be wrong (Rom:14:13). Also, I would consider that at some point down the road (as a few on this discussion thread have already admitted), you may change your mind and wish you had not gotten your tattoos, which are very difficult to remove without permanent scarring.

I hope this helps you in making an informed decision.


JesusBoy's picture

To continue on the topic of tattoo...
God is just and faithful in that once you give your life to God, it does not matter what you did in your former life He forgives, most importantly He heals, what does that mean if you came to Christ with a tattoo, if God knows that years later this tattoo will be detrimental to your health, He will heal you and deliver providing you became born again by realizing you are a sinner and there by "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" 1 john 1:9. This is what it means to not be subject to the laws of the Jews because the Holy spirit will come into your life and dwell in you and write God laws in your heart, above all the spirit of God will empower you and give you power over sin. Brethren There is so much more God want to teach us but the question is do you thirst for God and his word? I pray that Our Father will grant us the hunger to move closer to Him, that he may empower us to know more about Him. So if you are still not sure regarding this issue perhaps you should pray and ask Your Heavenly Father for more understanding. God bless you all.


JesusBoy's picture

I thank God for your lives brethren and for mine. I pray that anyone who seek answer why tattooing is ungodly. After searching all scriptures related or addressing this issue of tattoo and yet still crave for more answer. Sometimes God's word isn't just enough, that is where prayer and fasting becomes important, so that God can intervene through the person of the Holy Spirit. Now, I want all who read this to understand this That the God that we serve does not waiver nor change His mind regarding His word. What we all need is understanding. It is true the law was written for the Jews especially at that time but it still apply to all of us whether you are a Jew or a Christian because our God is a God of Holiness, Purity, and Cleanliness. Now regarding the issue of tattoo God said no to it because it is a sin to defile yourself, in this case your skin because you are the temple of God. It has a spiritual meaning while father God said no, read Leviticus:17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life." What does that mean spiritually my fellow brethren in the Lord, It means that your that God has given you lies in your veins, arteries, and in the case of your skin it lies in your capillaries which carries oxygen to your skin, thereby when you stain your skin with this ink chances are you will fall sick and it can be very dangerous for this ink to mix up with your blood because as you know the blood flows throughout the body and even to your brain. I could go further but I think this is enough. SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING is what we all need brethren, you can only get this by first consecrating yourself to God and to God only through praying, dwelling in His word daily, as well as fasting. Is one thing to have the spirit of God but it is even better to have the power of the Holy Spirit. They are two things, I ask you do you have the hunger to know and move closer to Father God? How strong is your relationship with your Heavenly Father? How well do you know your heavenly Father? Lastly I want to address is the issue of already having a tattoo before you gave your life to Christ. That is ok because it was something you did out of ignorance, as long as you are born again and you have received the person of the Holy Spirit. God


joannalemery's picture

Hello Everyone,

This is a very interesting thread. I truly believe that it is silly for Christians to argue among themselves. We have better things to do with our time and energy-there are non-Christians out there to be saved! So many of us are so worried about what the other Christian is doing. I believe that as you mature in your walk, you will realize that it is what is in your heart that matters. I love Jesus and want to do all that glorifies Him. It really doesn't matter what the world thinks.

I also think that it might be interesting to see how many of those who commented and agree that getting tattoos is a sin, might have pierced ears, get any procedures that seeming make them look better, might dress provocatively....the list is long.

We shouldn't judge each other. God is love.


Tasha's picture

Thanks Malachi 3_16-18. I have thought it over. I'm not going to get a tattoo. Not because i believe its right or wrong. I realized i was using it as a distraction. my sister in law passed away suddenly and the tattoo thing gave me another focus.

As for the tattoo discussion, I wont judge anyone for thinking it is right or wrong for getting a tattoo. Some disapprove of my logic but many people interpret the bible in different ways.There can be a hundred people can interpret a single verse in a hundred different ways. I see both sides of the Leviticus argument. Which context are we supposed to take it in? Literal or the technical context where it is refering to pagen practices?

it all comes down to this. You can Give your 2 cents about it but that is really the extent. It will be between each individual and God. Does it not say in the bible that to go to heaven we just need to believe in Jesus as our lord and savior(Acts 16: 30-31)? If thats true then wether or not christians get tattoos is irrelevent.

Its not a pass to run around doing whatever we want but since we all fall short anyway i dont see how a tattoo is the final straw to condemnation.

There are just other things to worry about than other peoples tattoos. everyone can have there opinion but it comes down to them and God which is all that matters in the end


Tasha's picture

Thanks Malachi 3_16-18. I have thought it over. I'm not going to get a tattoo. Not because i believe its right or wrong. I realized i was using it as a distraction. my sister in law passed away suddenly and the tattoo thing gave me another focus.

As for the tattoo discussion, I wont judge anyone for thinking it is right or wrong for getting a tattoo. Some disapprove of my logic but many people interpret the bible in different ways.There can be a hundred people can interpret a single verse in a hundred different ways. I see both sides of the Leviticus argument. Which context are we supposed to take it in? Literal or the technical context where it is refering to pagen practices?

it all comes down to this. You can Give your 2 cents about it but that is really the extent. It will be between each individual and God. Does it not say in the bible that to go to heaven we just need to believe in Jesus as our lord and savior(Acts 16: 30-31)? If thats true then wether or not christians get tattoos is irrelevent.

Its not a pass to run around doing whatever we want but since we all fall short anyway i dont see how a tattoo is the final straw to condemnation.

There are just other things to worry about than other peoples tattoos. everyone can have there opinion but it comes down to them and God which is all that matters in the end

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi again Tasha! I'm glad if my comment helped in any way. I think the issue is a complex one and involves many issues of the heart. It is good that you were able to identify your reasons for wanting a tattoo, and thus make a thoughtful decision. Keep learning and growing in all areas of your life, and pray to God as a Friend, as I do every day, asking Him to show you His will in your life.

I'm so sorry about your sister-in-law's sudden death. What happens to us after death is something worthy of further study. Here are some scriptures to get you started: Acts:2:29, 34; John:3:13; Eccl. Ps:146:4; Ecc:9:10; Job:14:14; Heb:11:39-40; Rev:5:10. UCG's booklet (online or in print), "Heaven & Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?" may be of interest to you also.

And yes, we do indeed need to believe in Jesus to be saved, but this is just the beginning, one might say. There is much more to being saved, which is a process rather than an instantaneous event. Putting all the related scriptures together on the subject, belief is a start, but it also involves obedience, a change in heart and actions from our way to God's, and building His character in us by His Spirit. Here are some more verses to look at: Acts:2:37-39; Mt. 24:13; Jas. 1:22, 25; 2:22; 2 Pet:3:18. These are just a few. UCG's booklet "The Road to Eternal Life" may be of further help to you.

All the best! :)


Bear's picture

I soooo did not get involved into this discussion and all was pretty much done and dusted until I read the above post? I find it so worrying that a brother in Christ can plainly proclaim that we are not saved by the cross alone but by a process of works done by ourselves?!!

Malachi 3_16-18 Quote: "And yes, we do indeed need to believe in Jesus to be saved, but this is just the beginning, one might say. There is much more to being saved, which is a process rather than an instantaneous event.""

Wasn't this what Paul so painfully tried to fight off. The judaizers, false teachers, legalist, whatever you want to call them. They were in essences telling the new Christian that they need to become jews before becoming christians, especially, they wanted the gentile Christians to be circumcised, only eat clean meat etc etc. It is what Paul is so opposed too. Not to the acts if circumcision in itself, or the unclean food. He is against adding onto the simplicity of the gospel message.

The good news of Christ is simple. Jesus died so that all our sins are cleaned, not by our doing but by the grace of God, through faith, alone.. Read Romans, Galatians, people in Corinth were dealing with these issues as well, almost all Paul's letters are written to deal with

After we receive the Holy Spirit it will show us how to best live. Repent, meaning stopping with worldly things, doing a u-turn, not sinning again, even though we are still Human, and so we make mistakes. It is a process we call sanctification, in essence this process has nothing to do with our salvation but more so to do with our journey of becoming holy and christ like. The theology of sanctification ought not to be confused with the theology of ratification by the ramification of our sins through the death of christ. Ramification meaning our bond has been payed, we have received a get out of jail free card and more than that. We have been given the HS to help us wage war against sin.

This is also the core why it does not mater whether or not you want a tattoo.. Ok if you want a tattoo because you believe it will make you a better Christian --its wrong. If you get a tattoo because you want to boast and look cool--its wrong. However, if you get a tattoo purely for yourself or if you believe you are let by the HolySpirit, why not. If you later regret your decision it was clearly the wrong decision.

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi Bear,

I am sorry if I caused confusion. Please read these articles to understand where I am coming from. Perhaps I did not state it clearly:




DKB's picture

Well, the Comment Policy states that the UCG tries to approve ALL comments, so guess I'm going to put that one to the test.

I've been a believer for well over 35 years now and just recently got a tattoo on my left shoulder. I'm Irish (God's real chosen people:-), so it's a celtic cross and I like it so much I'm planning on getting a second one on my right shoulder. For me, it's almost as much a visible statement of faith as it is body decor and I DO NOT believe that I nor any other believer desecrates his/her temple by getting one. If that were the case, we'd also have to "strongly discourage" ear piercings, orthadontics, hair cutting/coloring and plastic surgery even if needed to correct, for example, a cleft pallet. Each one of these procedures modifies the body's appearance and, in most cases, much more dramatically than a tattoo.

Yes, there are people who later regret getting them but, then again, people also often regret nose jobs and face lifts. The mere fact that one may get a tattoo they later regret does not mean that it was a sin any more than the mere fact that one may PERSONALLY dislike tattoos means they have been given a license from the Almighty to judge it as such. It's a personal choice which has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on faith, spirituality or our personal relationship with Christ - which, in the end, is really all that matters, isn't it?

I close with the following:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters... Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls...each of us will give an account of himself to God... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.
-  Romans:14:1,4,12,22

Jeannette Tai

Jeannette Tai's picture

Allow me to add my thoughts. I had a bad impression of people with piercings and tattoos. My son challenged me and asked if God loves these people. We are no better than the pharisees if we just look at outward appearance.
Many women (especially Asian) get their eyebrows and eyelids tattooed and yet condemn the young. Why the double standard?
And if we want to keep the OT laws, not only we should not enjoy medium rare steaks. We should abstain from bacon, unclean shellfish like prawns, crabs and oysters too.
I say, let it be between you and the Lord. As long as the tattoo is not demonic or depicts something vile.
(I had a tattoo done when I turned 50 on my 30th wedding anniversary).


sonyaluvjesus's picture

Some of these comments, to me, smacks of a legalistic, Pharisitical attitude. The Bible says that the Pharisees piled so many rules on the people no one could keep them. No one can keep all the 10 commandments, and they were piling on more! Also, my Bible says God is no respector of persons, meaning He treats everyone the same, so if one is pardoned for having a tattoo before he was a Christian, is not everyone forgiven? If I think it is fine for me to do am I gonna show up in Heaven and have Jesus say, well, you shouldn't have gotten that tattoo, so you're out? I will have a glorified body in Heaven also, and I am sure my tattoo, and all my scars, will be gone. When the gentiles began to hear about Jesus and be saved, the Jews said, they have to be circumcised. NOT! People said, if you eat meat sacrificed to an idol, you are indulging in a pagan ritual. Paul said an idol is nothing but wood and stone and you can eat what you want, with the exception of causing some one else to stumble. If getting a tattoo will cause a weaker brother or sister to stumble, that would be something to consider. I feel an article coming on... LOL

Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

You make some good points Sonyaluvjesus - We should avoid doing things that may cause others to stumble, just like we need to be careful in our words. Sometimes what we say is true, but not all the things we say are necessarily profitable for the other person to hear. Before acting, it is good to think if what you are doing or saying will be helpful to others or hinder them. I think someone who already has a tattoo and becomes converted is something entirely different from someone who is already converted and is reading God's words and proceeding to cover their entire body with tattooes.

Giselle Ramdial

Giselle Ramdial's picture

Hey I'm 17 years of age and and I just got a tattoo two days ago. I'm very guilty of it because I knew it was against god,it wasn't my intention to get one but I did, and its bothering me I'm considering getting it removed I'm not comfortable with myself.I keep thinking that god wouldn't forgive me and I'll go to hell :( its a heart with the infinity sign on it and I didn't know the infiniy sign was something evil! By getting it removed will it still be consider a tattoo?

Giselle Ramdial

Giselle Ramdial's picture

Or I should just get over it and ask him for forgiveness and never make the same mistake again?


DanielSnedden's picture

You already answered your own question. Repent before God and do not make that mistake again. Part of growing as a Christian is recognizing your mistakes, asking for God's forgiveness and then moving forward to be more like Him and His Son Jesus Christ. See Acts:3:19.

As Christians we should repent, be baptized (full immersion), have hands laid on us by one of God's ministers and then receive God's Holy Spirit. Acts:2:38 & 2 Timothy:1:6 & Hebrews 6: 1-2

James:1:22 Be doers of the word (God's laws - Commandments) not just hearers.

James:2:20 Faith without works is dead. In other words we are saved by Grace but we must continue to work to be more like Christ in order to develop the type of attitude and behavior fit to represent God.

I hope that you take the opportunity to read some more of the free information that the United Church of God offers to answer many more questions that you may have.

Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi Giselle,

Whether or not it was a sin to get your tattoo depends on large part what your attitude and motives were, and that is between you and God.

If you feel guilty, remember that God is a loving and forgiving Father, and is always ready to forgive (Ps:103:1-3, 8-14). Confess your sin to Him, tell Him you are sorry, and ask Him to forgive you, then ask Him to help you to forgive yourself and move on, learning whatever lessons you can from this event. (And if you are able to get the tattoo removed as you allude to, I don’t think it still counts as a tattoo, although there may be some skin damage that will take a while to heal).


sonyaluvjesus's picture

I don't believe a symbol "carries" evil. If you do something unawares, you are innocent. Paul also said not to ask is the meat you are eating was sacrificed to an idol, just eat it in good faith. If you get an infinity symbol in good faith, which you did, you are not guilty of doing anything wrong. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 1 Corinthians:10:27

and yes, verse 28 says if someone tells you the meat was sacrificed to an idol, do not eat it. And our Lord Jesus said, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?" Matthew:15:17

The bottom line is, do not worry so much about outward appearance; worry about matters of the heart. In the very next verse, #18, our Lord says what comes out of your mouth is what defiles you. That includes condemning people for some outward appearance. I am thankful God looks on my heart, since I might be getting my tattoo this weekend! LOL God Bless


Rubenf.'s picture

All of y'all trying to do God's job. What all need to do is leave. Everyone that has tattoos alone. Cuz it not y'all job to be judging no one I have four tattoos and I don't care what y'all say cuz I still love God with all my heart. And I markets that not r tattoos cuz they r cuts form working.


truittmark84's picture

I was raised in a fairly strict and Pharisaical home I have gone about 540 degrees on this subject. I was raised to think that tattoos are evil and the work of the devil. Yet I had impactful people in my life who had them. That led me to the 180 that they are acceptable to God if they were the result of decisions before Christ. Then during my college years, I realized that this stance did not take into consideration for the results or consequences of our decisions pre-Christ (much like divorce for pastors and deacons) So I went back to thinking that they were "bad." I then went through a time in my life that my outward performance was excellent, but my heart was removed from the Lord. I was dragged into darkness to no one's knowledge, not even my wife's. Since coming out of that darkness, I have found that the answer to this problem much like other problems boil down to the heart of the individual. You cannot make a definitive call on the passages quoted from I Cor. 6 that eliminates tattoos. I was not aware that there were still people quoting the Leviticus passage as actually having any impact upon the current practice of tattooing. If someone gets a tattoo in honor of the dead and then worships that image that would obviously be idolatry. If that individual continued to struggle I would suggest the removal of that temptation (RARE! RARE! RARE!)

For those of you preaching the 1 Cor. passage, I would encourage you to take a look at your own life first. Are you overweight? Do you drink caffeine? Are you healthy?........Oh wait, now we have a list of rules and requirements on us? I agree with you that our bodies should be healthy and clean. I am still without tattoos on my body, but I have friends with tattoos. Many of them are either representations of the Word of God or actual verses. One of my friends has a verse tattooed on his bicep. Another friend has a human heart with a sword penetrating it representing the Word of God and its power to penetrate the soul.

I cannot image God being upset, angry or disappointed with someone proclaiming His truth in a way that is typically frowned upon. I seem to remember JESUS himself broke the law in healing on the Sabbath and then rebuked the Pharisees for their poor heart attitudes. If Jesus himself can illustrate the breaking of law to accomplish greater things while still maintaining truth.......................


brandann's picture

I have three tattos, and theyre quite visible..ive been realLy regretting them lately. Back then i wasnt really thinking. But now my thoughts have been, my body is suppose to be a temple...ive destroyed it. im even thinking about getting them removed, im scared...and i know itll b painful and leave me scars for the rest of my life...either way the damage has already been done, and its devasting that i barely realize that now. I know God is forgiving, but i feel like this is really big deal. Im worried that he wont accept what ive done to my body...
i hate my tattoos, no im stuck with the choice of keeping them or living with ugly scarrs for the rest of my life.
What have i done

Jenn Clark

Jenn Clark's picture

To brandann

I believe you are being too hard on yourself. If I may make a suggestion, you could pray about it and tell Him everything you've shared here. Tell Him how much it troubles you. God doesn't accept sin but He does accept true repentance. His love for us is stronger than that of any parent on earth. And so if He loves you that much, I can only gather that (as a parent myself) He is eagerly waiting for you to come to Him. Sharing our worries and I troubles with God can strengthen that relationship. Satan wants people to stay in their grief and guilt and uses that to tear people away from God. Don't let those feelings keep you away. I'm sure God is hoping you don't either. He is much more compassionate and forgiving than we are. 'Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.' So remember that no matter how heavy the burden of grief or guilt, God can help you to lay it to rest if you'll let Him. I've felt this way also, so know that you're not alone. And if I may share my opinion, I highly doubt God would want you to go through tattoo removal. Especially with the risks involved. I'm not a minister, I just wanted to share my thoughts and the knowledge God has given us through His word. I hope you find peace and God bless you.

Your friend -Jenn

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