Tattoos and Body Piercings – What Does The Bible Say?

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I know this next topic will be a very sensitive one for many in this day and age. As you all know, many people like to get different types of tattoos and body piercing put on the different parts of their bodies.

You will see people getting tattoos on just about any part of the human anatomy, even on their most intimate, personal, and private parts. The same goes with the different types of body piercing. You have people getting piercing on their noses, navels, eyelids, nipples, tongues, and genitalia.

For those of you who are really wanting to know what the Lord may think about this issue, I would challenge each and everyone of you to go before Him in prayer and ask for His direct opinion on this matter. I know there is a bit of a rift in the Body on this issue right now.

On the one side are those who believe that God’s command back to the Jewish people in the Book of Leviticus no longer applies to any of us in this day and age since we are now operating under a New Covenant with Jesus and we are now no longer under the law, but under grace.

On the other side are those who believe that this command still applies to everyone in this day and age, and that God has not changed His mind on this issue.

For what is worth, we are going to give you our opinion on this subject. In addition to the verse from Leviticus, I believe there are several other verses that you have to match up with that one to get what God’s opinion may really be on this issue.

Again, we do not want to get dogmatic on this issue. This is just our own personal interpretation of what we feel God may be trying to tell us in these specific verses. You are each responsible for getting your own answers from the Lord on this issue.

For the record, we do not believe the Lord wants any of His people getting any kinds of tattoos or body piercing put on any parts of their body.

The Scripture Verses

I believe there are 5 key Scripture verses that need to be grouped together to get what God’s opinion may really be on this issue. I will go ahead and run them all together, and then comment on how I feel they may be shedding some light on this very controversial issue.

  • “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)
  • “Do NOT think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did NOT come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
  • “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)

I believe that when you put all 5 of these verses together, one right next to the other, and then study what the Lord is trying to tell you in these verses, I believe it is possible to pick up what God’s opinion may be on this very controversial issue.

Commentary

1.  The very first verse is from the Book of Leviticus back in the Old Testament. God was telling His chosen people what they could and could not do in their personal relationship and interaction with Him.

As we all know, God gave them quite a bit of rules, regulations, and commandments that He wanted them to abide by. This one particular command was one of them.

Notice this verse specifically isolates not only tattoos, but any “cuttings on the flesh,” which I believe relates to all of the different types of body piercing people are now getting these days.

Also note that God was referring to them making any kinds of tattoos or cuttings in their flesh “for the dead.” Back in those days, many people had the practice of marking up their bodies with tattoos and different types of cuttings as a way of mourning and paying respect for those who had just passed on.

God the Father was flat out telling His own people that they were not to engage in this type of activity. Notice that God uses the word “any” tattoos and “any” cuttings” in their flesh. He was not cutting them any slack on this issue – and He was wanting absolutely no cuttings or tattoos of any kind, shape, or form put anywhere on their bodies.

If God was telling them that He was not wanting any kinds of tattoos or body piercing put on their bodies as a way of mourning for the dead, then I also believe that you can extrapolate off this command and assume that God did not want them doing this for any other possible reason, whether it be for the dead or not.

The wording is just too strong in this verse to think that God was only referring to doing this as a way of mourning for the dead. I believe the tone and intensity of these words are showing us that God did not want His chosen people to be doing this for any reason whatsoever.

These people were being called to be God’s special chosen people. They were being called to become separate from the things and ways of this world – especially from some of the pagan practices of many of the people who were still inhabiting parts of their Promised Land.

If God the Father did not want His special chosen people back in the Old Testament to be putting on any kinds of tattoos and cuttings in their flesh, does He still have that same opinion today with all of His New Testament believers? I believe that He does, and this will now lead us into the second verse above.

2.  In this second verse above, Jesus Himself is telling us that He did not come to do away with the laws of His Father and the prophets. He says that these laws and commandments are still in effect until “all is fulfilled,” which I believe refers to when we get the New Heaven and New Earth after the 1000 Year Millennium Kingdom has passed.

Notice that Jesus says “till heaven and earth pass way.” These words perfectly describe what will happen when we get the New Heaven and the New Earth as described in the Book of Revelation.

It says that our earth and heaven as we know it now will pass away, and in its place we will be getting a new heaven and a new earth. Until this glorious, final event actually occurs, Jesus is telling us that all of the laws and commandments of His Father are still in full play.

This means that all 10 of the commandments are still in effect, along with all of the commands on engaging with any parts of the occult.

Unless the New Testament specifically does away with some of these specific laws and commands back from the Old Testament, I believe that we have to assume that God still wants all of us to abide by them. And this command that we are not to tattoo or cut into any part of our flesh still applies to everyone in this day and age.

The Bible says that God does not change, that He is the same today as He was yesterday. If God the Father is telling us that homosexuality and anything to do with the occult are abominations in His sight back in the Old Testament, then He is not going to be changing His mind just because we are in New Testament times.

Granted, we are no longer under the law, but under grace in our New Covenant with Jesus. But this does not mean we can start engaging in activities that were expressly forbidden by His Father back in the Old Testament

. As Jesus has stated in the above verse, all of the moral laws from His Father have not been done away with at this time, and they will not all be done away with until we get our New Heaven and New Earth. And until that even happens, I believe God wants all of us to do our best to abide by them.

So if God the Father was not wanting His chosen people back in the Old Testament to be putting on any types of tattoos or cutting into any parts of their flesh, does this same command still apply to all of us in this day and age? I believe that it does, and these next three verses will tell us why.

3.  The last three verses listed above are all telling us that our bodies have now become the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. Notice that God is specifically telling us that it is our human physical bodies that have now become the temple of His Holy Spirit.

Think of the ramifications of this statement – that since our human physical bodies are now literally carrying the Holy Spirit Himself on the inside of us once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, that God is now telling us that our physical bodies have now become the actual “temple” of His Holy Spirit.

Notice in the last verse that God is using the words “defiles the temple of God,” and that anyone who attempts to defile His holy temple will be destroyed.

God then ends this statement with talking about our physical bodies being the temple of His Holy Spirit. In other words, God does not want our temples, which are our physical bodies, to be defiled in any way, shape, and form. Is putting any kind of tattoo or body piercing on our physical bodies a form of defilement with the Lord? I believe that it may be.

Also consider this fact. The Jewish people did not have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them back in the OT. Jesus had not yet come to die for all of our sins, so the Holy Spirit was not living on the inside of the Jewish people like He is now doing with all New Testament believers.

This means that the physical bodies of the Jewish people back in those days were not considered to be actual temples of the Lord since they did not have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them.

So if God the Father is telling His chosen people that He did not want them tattooing or putting any kinds of cuttings into their flesh – and their bodies were not even considered to be the temple of His Holy Spirit back in those Old Testament times – then how much more seriously should this command be taken by all New Testament believers, since all of our bodies are now considered to be the actual temple of the Holy Spirit?

As the above verses are telling us, our bodies have now become the temple of the Lord Himself.

We are no longer our own. As a result, we should be doing everything we can to glorify our God – which includes glorifying Him in our bodies as the second last verse above is telling us to do.

Marking up our bodies with the different kinds of tattoos and body piercing may not be what the Lord had in mind when He is telling us to glorify Him in both our bodies and our spirits.

Again, you will each have to get your own interpretation as to what all of these verses are trying to tell us.

Conclusion

As I said at the top of this article, each Christian will be responsible for getting their own direct answer from the Lord on this very controversial issue. I believe that when you put all 5 of the above Scripture verses together side by side, the answer might be in the correct interpretation of these verses.

Without question, the last three verses listed above are telling us that our physical bodies are now considered to be the temple of our living God since we now carry His Holy Spirit on the inside of us.

I believe that our physical bodies are now more sacred, more precious, and more special in the Lord’s eyes than the four physical walls of any church may be since God is now calling our bodies His actual temple.

And just as we would never consider marking up or defacing any parts of an actual Christian Church building – in the same way I do not believe that our Lord wants us defacing or marking up any parts of our physical bodies.

This is why I believe God made sure to put this specific command in His Word.

When God is using the words “any” tattoos and “any” kinds of cuttings in the flesh, He is not making any exceptions with this kind of activity. I personally believe that God is letting all of us know, loud and clear, that He does not want any of us marking up our bodies with these kinds of defilement.

As a side note, I will leave you with a personal testimony from a good close friend who went to God after she had got her navel pierced. When she first called me up to tell me what she had done, I told her about the above verses. However, I told her not to take my word or opinion about this. I told her to go direct to God the Father to get His direct opinion on the matter.

She did, and shortly thereafter God came through loud and clear for her. He told her that He did not approve of it and that He wanted it removed. The revelation she received back from Him was that He was looking at this piercing like a smudge mark or dirt mark on her physical body.

When she called me back up and told me what she had received, I received an immediate vision in my mind’s eye of a young 5 year old boy coming back into his parent’s house. He had just fallen into a mud hole and he had mud caked all of over his face.

I then saw the mother have an immediate and instinctive reaction to want to go and get a wash cloth to wash all of the mud off his face. Can you imagine a mother just sitting there letting her child have all of that mud remain on his face for the rest of the day?

I believe that God may be having the same kind of reaction to many of His own when they start putting tattoos and different kinds of body piercing on various parts of their bodies.

Again, this testimony is a personal and private testimony. You will each have to get your own witness on it, as well as getting your own interpretation on the above verses from our Bible.

I will leave you with one last challenge on this issue:

For those of you who have a good ability to pick up an inner witness from the Holy Spirit on many different matters in your life, simply tap in and see what kind of inner witness you get from Him once you entertain the thought of wanting to put any kind of tattoo on your body, or make an attempt to want to put any kind of body piercing in your navel, tongue, eyelids, or to any parts of your genitalia – knowing full well that you carry His presence right there on the inside of your physical body.

What kind of witness do you get from the Holy Spirit when you tap in to see what His opinion may really be on this kind of a matter?

My own inner witness tells me that He does not want us getting any kinds of tattoos or cuttings done on our bodies – and that if we do, it is a form of defilement since our bodies are now His Holy Temple.

We have had quite a few people write in asking our opinion on this matter since this is still such a popular trend and fad in our society. For what it is worth, all of the above is our own personal opinion on this matter and the biblical reasons as to why we feel this way.

Comments

52 Responses to “Tattoos and Body Piercings – What Does The Bible Say?”

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  1. Great!! I feel a sense of relief in my soul that has been satisfied by your message on tattoos. Thank you for explaining the word of God with direction from the Holy Spirit. As a Southern Baptist Pastor I am concerned that many new believers and many seasoned believers may find themselves wanting to fit in with how society in the world is evolving. Good and evil have always collided and always will. God calls every Christian, believer, child of the most high God into His submission, His authority over their own will. His will is done. You are write in saying to pray and ask God what His word is saying, but then wait on the Lord for His answer. Beware: Christian, believer, for the devil will mimic. Satan will talk to you and try to cause confusion. Make sure you are hearing the Holy Spirits still small voice! Amen. Thanks again commentator for your conversation.

  2. You left out verses were tattoos were ok.
    Where piercings were given.
    Where jewels were placed upon heads.
    In fact none of these books were mentioned.

    Please, I am truely sincerely on a quest here.
    How can I TRUELY serve the Lord if the facts are not stated?

    All of them. Objectively.

    Despite your personal opinions and not meaning to be dogmatic, in truth, you only referenced scripture to validate your personal opinion.

    Not cool.

    Ezekiel for example, was outcast and seen as blahhhh in the jewish works.

    But for western, modern, and oh, the ruler, King James, he is considered a prophet.

    It is amazing how people can percieve the facts, unless however, they are written to appease anyone’s view except for God’s command.

    I may very well get a tattoo that says, “I belong to God” who knows?

    • No one sin is greater than another. I choose to continue to remove the plank from my own eye rather than anyone else’s. We need to remember that God is our Heavenly Father and we need to regard his word as a witness to us and anyone that comes into our life’s path. We are living examples of Gods word to each other and are expected to hold each other accountable as well as help each other. If you have tattoo/s, and/or piercings or not you are making a statement. What kind of statement are you making to the Holy Trinity, others, yourself and your children? Is this the statement you want to make for eternity? Just food for thought. No one is perfect.

      • It is quite clear that the law was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross. When he died all past present and future sins are forgiven when he said it is done he was talking about the old testament Because there are over 600 laws in the Old Testament Who are we to say which ones still apply or don’t apply we cannot keep any of them that is why we live by grace when he said the old is gone the new has come . That happened on the day he died that was when the new covenant Started . But I do agree that you should bring it before the Lord before you make a decision

  3. I really loved this I totally agree. Because it was precise and also not the opinion of men. You backed it up with scripture.. and I just take God up on his word.. I grew up with the fear of God in me . By my family lol but I also enjoyed that testimony by your friend.. thank you and God bless you

  4. I believe so much in God..I feel the same guilt and fear. I have to two sleeves, reading this and how intense the message is, not sure I will be forgiven. Just saying.

    • That guilt has only one purpose, to drive you to God. The texts are right but the purpose is not to make us stay away from the forgiveness that Jesus bought for us on the Cross. Go to him ask and receive forgiveness. Then praise him for your tattoos that will make you think of him every time you look at them. I think it is pretty clear what God thinks. He thinks we are all sinners so he sent Jesus to clear up any question about ANY of our shortcomings. Just be sure to go to Him and you will be fine, He promises.

    • he who is in Christ is a new creation and behold the past is gone. it does not matter what you did in the past,the lord forgives once you are in him

    • None of us are keeping our earthly bodies, God will make new ones for us, and Jesus’s paid for our sins so if you feel that your tattoos are a sin, that’s ok, Jesus’s blood covers them anyway

  5. But what about tattooing in general? Encyclopedia Britannica says, “Tattooing has been practiced in most parts of the world, and examples have been found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dating from 2000 BC.” In the Canaanite religion, tattoos were associated with idol worship. Leviticus 19:26-28 says, “You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft. You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” It is certainly clear what the Scripture passage says, but what does it mean? Drinking blood was also associated with idol worship. Hebrews wouldn’t even eat a rare steak! Trimming your beard was associated with witchcraft. Ironically the long beards that good Hebrew men were supposed to have are today mostly found on tattooed bikers! Clearly these verses are meant to be taken in social context. Remember, these rules were meant for the Hebrews as they were moving into Canaan. If you live in a culture where trimming your beard is a sign that you’re a witch, don’t trim your beard. If you live in a culture where trimming your beard is more acceptable, then go for it! The same is true for tattoos.

  6. Some who are opposed to body piercing quote Leviticus 19:28. Here, I will quote the first part. Later I will quote the second part. It says, “You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead.” During the time the Israelites were entering the land of Canaan, the pagans who lived there had a practice of cutting themselves in mourning. They would also cut themselves as part of their fervent idol worship (See 1 Kings 18:28). Today, there are people who have psychological issues regarding self-abuse. These “cutters” often say they cut themselves to make life seem more real, or to punish themselves for their perceived low self-worth. These practices have nothing to do with body decoration. People who engage in such activities are in need of psychological help. As the verse quoted above involves such practices, and not body decoration, it cannot be used to condemn body piercing.

    • This is what I believe to be true to, not the twisted version by adding bits and pieces out of context as above… Spare us!

  7. Just a thought. If we believe that our body should not be pierced or tattooed because it defiles the body, then what about other signs of defilement, like obesity (gluttony) reference Proverbs 28:7, The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father. Proverbs 23:2 And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.
    I am a sinner too, so I strive to be righteous so I also need to pray for help, a lot. I seem to be sensitive to seeing people casting the first stone because the topic is not one of their sin issues.

  8. Thank you all for the pieces u hav shared and indeed fulfilng Matt24:14 in these last days, am almost startin a tatoo job to save my siblings and i frm unbearable hardship, i bliv it wil ”be benefial” in ths case bt ofkos it wil b dentrimental. I would realy appreciate more spiritual help bkoz i want to Serve the Lord as i once did in such a another dark arena. MORE PRAYERS PLEASE. SHALOM

  9. I want to ask : Did Jesus had tattos on his body or an earring ? think who is your example to follow? maybe you just want to be trained to receive the mark of the beast? or you want to get the attention of others using a tatto or piercing, maybe you need some pastor to ministry because you feel alone ,depress,etc. loook for help from a qualified pastor full of Holy Spirit . remenber Jesus is our example.

  10. Before we go on the tattoo bandwagon let me tell you a true story about myself. I had a ton of Satanic tattoos before I came to Christ. When I turned my life to Christ, He called me to be a traveling minister aka evangelist; I had to break the commitment to Satan by covering them up with Christian ones to show that Christ owned me not Satan. So I leave you with a final question: Which would God want me to do, keep it and while I’m out in public they see that I belong to Satan because of the tattoos or would God want me to cover it up with signs that I am a born again believer? I chose to cover it up and now it is easier to share my faith.

  11. Roxanne:

    This isn’t about “people, feelings, traditions, culture, trends, peer pressure, emotions or opinions”… It’s about Truth, that’s is all! So many who are not clear on what the Bible teaches are so quick to dilute or fabricate the word of God. It has to be read in whole not part. We want to cloud it with human weaknesses listed above and so much more the things of this world. All these things not coming under the authority of the Holy Spirit will indeed be under deception and will cloud our beliefs. If you are a Christian you are “Not of This World” which in short means everything about you comes under the subjection and authority of God for by which you were bought at a price with God’s only Son’s shed blood that of Jesus Christ. You no longer have a right to choose what to do with your body. It no longer belongs to you, even to the point of death which your case would be C-Section since you brought about this scenario. Bringing everything under the authority of God will give you your answer…not people and certainly not the opinions of the people which is mostly futile at best. God chooses people to be a vessel in delivering truth and to perform His will and purpose…and that is all. If your getting a word from a Christian (child of God) it would be wise to seek His face and His counsel and His word as to the authenticity…but if the child is genuine you can be confidant God knows what He’s doing so don’t be so quick to condemn the children of God as they are Gods messengers.

  12. “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)
    here it is really clear do not make cuttings on your flesh ‘for the dead’
    ‘Tattoo any marks on you’ (so no tattoos apparently)
    These are really clear if you ask me. Notice how everything above says, ‘I believe’ by the author. Bc it doesn’t say straight forward on both just tattoos. So then we go searching the bible for other verses to support our opinion…

  13. I was giving you an example to compare. If he is saying NEVER then your aren’t allowed to do these things either. You people that pretend that you know it all are the ones looking for complete control! God never said do not adorn yourself. Actually he said the exact opposite. And I never said that I disagree with people being able to have a c section! I said that with what this person is saying then God didn’t want those people to do that. But I don’t believe what you all are saying. I believe that you have nothing to do but waste your time trying to make people that do things that your too scared of or don’t want to do bc it’s out of your realm of comfort feel bad about things they do. You can read it and pull anything you want out of it but the fact is he didn’t say don’t do it at all he said don’t do it in this circumstance my point was if he meant never then he would have said it straight, not in code. And I don’t have any tattoos… I am not looking for a clear conscience with God, no one has one anyway bc WE ALL SIN! I’m not rejecting God’s word I’m rejecting that of the people who obscure it.

  14. FOR ROXANNE:

    I wonder if you, in any capacity, realize what you are saying??…in the case of a C-Section the immediate and natural thought would be…”To save a life or lives”…which would be exactly the case involving Jesus, most notably the nails that were put to his wrist and that we will witness with our own eyes one day…Jesus died to save many lost ones b/c His love for us is so deep…so Jesus stretched out his hands in order to save us…and has the scars “not tattoos” to prove it…your theory is disapproved and could never apply to the same thing as getting tattoo’d versus having a heart for people and choosing to die for them. Here you have two completely and totally different viewpoints and scenarios with many wanting to distort the word of God in order to arrive at a clean conscience. I’m finding that the word of God is very offensive to many and the truth is a hard pill to swallow. The people of this nation do not want truth they want to be in complete control. Moreover, many Preachers teaching it’s okay is exactly what’s been prophesied “For in the last days they will be lovers of themselves rejecting the fullness of the word of God”…is there anyone in your life that you know of that would die for you?

  15. No cuttings: all you ladies who needed a c section to have your kids, you were meant to either die or your kids die. Also, any of you that had weight loss surgery you have also ‘defiled’ your body. That being said: Everyone has their own walk with God and he is the only person to ask whether it is right to do or not. It clearly states not for rituals of the dead it does not say never. With everything else that he was straight forward about in the bible what makes you think he would make you ‘read into’ this issue for?

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