Having a tattoo is not something that is new to the world anymore, everywhere we go to, we see people, adults, youths, teenagers having tattoos on them. Tattoos may mean different thing to different people, some may take it to be an artistic work or something to identify one’s culture. It is an act of decorating the body with images, words, or some other art which might depict the cultural background of the person.
In this current world, tattoos are not limited to the adults anymore, anybody can get the tattoo. The culture of some countries allows tattoos on children, this might be to identify the baby or give illustrate some kind of stories through the tattoo. Tattoos can be attributed to religion sometimes too, an example is the monks in Thailand, the children have tattoos on them. Some part of Ethiopia allows children to have tattoos as a means of identification. Another reason why some have it is that they want to feel like they are part of something trending.
Arguably, in most cases, we have seen servants of God, the pastors or someone who holds an important position in the house of God having tattoos. In this modern world, it doesn’t seem to be a sin in any way or people have the belief that it is not a sin – of course, it did not start in this generation, it has been like that for years. Tattoo in some places is used as it’s being said that it is a means of identification, some use tattoos to tell others who they really are or what they have been through – in short, it serves as a thing that tells the history of the person. This left us with the question of is it a sin to have a tattoo or what does the Bible say about tattoos? As Christians, we live basically on what God has instructed through his servants, these instructions were properly written down for us to follow.
There have been people, Christians, that say having a tattoo is nothing but sin. Yet, there are Bible scholars that have stated it that having a tattoo does not necessarily mean you have sinned or it is a sin. Each person supporting or abolishing tattoo have his or her reasons which can be backed by some Biblical evidence. These are the view of the man on the tattoo but what then does the Bible say about it?
The first and the only place the Bible mentioned tattoo is in the book of Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” This is the reason why some believe it is a sin to draw a tattoo but then God himself said that tattoo should not be found on anyone’s body. Does it mean that God is clearly saying it is a sin? What is the Bible saying here, does it means people shouldn’t have tattoos on their bodies?
In the era of slavery, that is when the children of Israel were in slavery, one way to identify the person a slave belongs to is through piercing or tattoo. After they became free from slavery, God told them that there is no reason to have tattoos anymore since no one owns them again except He Himself. In the final part of Leviticus 19:18, he said: “I am the Lord.” This is synonymous to “I am your Lord.” In this case, God is telling them that he is now the one who owns them and it is not necessary to have tattoos to show who they belong to, he was not requesting tattoos from them like the slave masters. It was never stated in the Bible that God declared it a sin.
Instead of putting too much effort into the topic of whether it is a sin or not, the Bible made it clear that God is much more interested in the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The type of sin that much attention should be paid to is that which corrupts the heart, an example is a sexual immorality. Proverbs 6:12 “But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.”
God is so much interested in what we do with our body which is why he wants us to do things that will glorify his name with it. Our body is his temple, most importantly, the heart – it must be made clean. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” One more thing is that giving glory to God is essential. In whatever we do, we must learn to do it to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is part of the Bible is saying “whatever”, even if you are going to have a tattoo, let giving God the glory be your priority.