What does the Bible
say about TATTOOS?
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Question: Does the Bible say that tattoos and body piercing are WRONG? Are they a sin?
Answer: The Bible certainly DOES have something to say about wearing tattoos and having piercing through the body. Since God is Holy, clean and pure he wants his people to be the same: holy, clean and pure. The Old Testament book of Leviticus, written by Moses under the inspiration of God, discusses the issue of tattoos. The New Testament, however, is silent on this practice. The book is Leviticus (in reference to priests), the instructions, and principles found within it are not just for holy men or even the children of Israel.It is in the Bible so that all man can benefit from its words. The command regarding this practice is in the 19th chapter:
"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, NOR TATTOO ANY MARKS ON YOU: I am the LORD. " (Leviticus 19:28)
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary states the restriction in Leviticus 19 concerns tattoos and other marks placed on the body:
" . . . by tattooing, imprinting figures of flowers, leaves, stars, and other fanciful devices on various parts . . . The impressions (tattoos) were made sometimes by means of a hot iron, sometimes by ink or paint. It is probable that a strong propensity to adopt such marks (tattoos) in honor of some idol gave occasion to the prohibition in this verse; and they were wisely forbidden, for they were signs of apostasy; and, when once made, they were insuperable (impossible) obstacles to a return. "
Ancient people, who worshipped false gods, used tattoos for religious purposes. God says he is a jealous God in Exodus 20:5. We are not to practice the way of the heathen when we worship Him (Deuteronomy 8:19). The Bible mentions or alludes to body piercing in several places. For example, the piercing of the ear of a bought servant was performed to bear witness that the servant has chosen to serve, until death, his master: