The Bible And Tattoos Part 1

Since I'm offering consultation for biblical language tattoos (no joke, check out hebrewtats.com or facebook.com/wghebrewtats), I thought it might be a good idea to mention what the Bible says about tattoos. Considering the lengthy posts you can find online, you might think the Bible has a lot to say about tattoos. You can check out 25 Important Bible Verses About Tattoos or What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos. They're both... problematic, but check them out. In reality, the Bible doesn't say much about tattoos. Like a lot of things in the Bible, we have the ability to take a tiny amount of content in the Bible and yammer on about it endlessly.

The "go to" verse in the Bible for tattoos is Leviticus 19:28, which in the NIV reads: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD." At first glance, this text seems rather straightforward. For this reason, I've heard this verse cited in opposition to tattoos countless times. But it's the "straightforward" verses that are most often misused.

There are a number of reasons this verse doesn't trouble me and shouldn't trouble you. For starters, there are other verses in this chapter that I ignore and my guess is you ignore them too. Look at Leviticus 19:27, the verse right before our verse. In the NIV it reads: "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head, or clip off the edges of your beard." Men, if you don't look like these guys, then you're ignoring this biblical prohibition.

Orthodox Jewish men

Why is it ok to ignore Leviticus 19:27 but not Leviticus 19:28?

Back up a little further in the chapter to the end of Leviticus 19:19. Quoting again from the NIV, we read: "Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material." If you're ok with sporting a 50/50 cotton-poly blend, then you should probably relax about Leviticus 19:28 as well.

Tomorrow we'll turn to the New Testament and look at some verses that talk about our bodies as the temple of God.

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