The Bible And Tattoos Part 2

Yesterday we focused on the only verse in the Bible that actually mentions "tattoos" by name. Folks like to point to some other verses in the Bible when it comes to tattoos. Some will mention 1 Corinthians. From the NIV, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 reads: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for God's temple is sacred, and you together are that temple." Similarly, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reads: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies."

In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (and in the preceding verses), Paul is not talking about our physical bodies. He's explaining that the collective of Jesus followers in Corinth are together the temple of God, and division destroys that temple. "You" is plural in these verses. In other words "Y'all are God's temple. Anyone causing division among y'all is causing destruction to his temple." This isn't about our physical bodies. This is about church division.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (and in the preceding verses), Paul is concerned with people in the church at that time who justified going to prostitutes. Some might say, "Doesn't the principle apply?" I don't think so. I'm not sure why some people think a tattoo destroys God's temple or dishonors God. That seems a little strong, to say the least. Many times, tattoos are decorative, not unlike earrings or our choice of clothing. Frankly, the potato chips a lot of people eat are much more destructive. Not only potato chips, of course, but whatever poor dietary choice we like to sweep under the rug. One could argue the garbage we put in our bodies is very destructive and dishonors God.



You may not like tattoos. You may think tattoos are a poor life choice or just plain tacky, but suggesting that tattoos destroy God's temple is a difficult argument to maintain.

Tomorrow we'll wrap up by looking at some of the "weaker brother" passages that people like to mention when talking about tattoos. Thanks for sticking around, and don't miss tomorrow's post. 


  1. So this is where my concern for my blog comes in… I don’t know the Bible and its meanings as well as you do. I’m concerned just googling a topic I might take a verse out of context. Does that make sense?

    1. I'm happy to help, but I'm sure you'll do great. Let's talk about this sometime.


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