“What does the Bible say about tattoos / body piercings?”Answer: The Old Testament law commanded the Israelites, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28). So, even though believers today are not under the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4Galatians 3:23-25Ephesians 2:15), the fact that there was a command against tattoos should raise some questions. The New Testament does not say anything about whether or not a believer should get a tattoo.In relation to tattoos and body piercings, a good test is to determine whether we can honestly, in good conscience, ask God to bless and use that particular activity for His own good purposes. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The New Testament does not command against tattoos or body piercings, but it also does not give us any reason to believe God would have us get tattoos or body piercings.An important scriptural principle on issues the Bible does not specifically address is if there is room for doubt whether it pleases God, then it is best not to engage in that activity. Romans 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not come from faith is sin. We need to remember that our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. Although 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 does not directly apply to tattoos or body piercings, it does give us a principle: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do and where we go with our bodies. If our bodies belong to God, we should make sure we have His clear “permission” before we “mark them up” with tattoos or body piercings.

Aplication of these texts to modern times can be challenging. But the guidelines on hairstyles, body piersing and tattoos are generalized in the New testament, with the basic idea thet the women should dress modestly and me should look masculine (1Cor.11:13-16), but even this is noted as being expressed through both creation and universal practice in the church (1Cor.11:16) So in reference to the choice of some Christians to have longer or shorter hair or tattoos or body piercing, recognize that while it my have been sinful in ancient Israel it may not be sinful today given our different culture situation . All our choices about personal appearances should be influenced by a desire to obey God, an understanding of the universal practice of the church, and a love for those who may stumble spiritually because of our appearances.

The physical requirements listed here – not cutting the hair on the temples or clipping the edges of the beard – referred to religious practices of surrounding cultures Leviticus 21:5 lists both these same requirements and a ban on self-mutilation. An underlying theme of God’s relationship with the Israelites was their religious separation or distinction from the people around them. Obviously their worship was restricted to God, thus their worship practices were distinguished from the surrounding religions.

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