There seems to be some controversy about Christian having tattoos still. I think for the most part, the negativity around tattoos has faded into the background, but every once in a while I see it crop up, even in my own home. Allow me to give you some insight on this topic.
Can Christians get tattoos?
Yes, the answer is yes.
Should Christians get tattoos?
Is it Biblical for Christians to get tattoos?
The answer is IT DEPENDS.
Before you say, “But Jesus didn’t have any tattoos.”
While Jesus was on earth the first time, no, He didn’t have a a tattoo. But He also didn’t have a home, a job, or a mode of transportation. Just because Jesus didn’t have it, doesn’t make it inherently wrong.
But Jesus has a tattoo now…probably. Revelation 19:16
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
It doesn’t say it is written on His pants, tunic, or belt. The Bible says it is written on His robe and His thigh. Is it possible it is painted on? Yes, but this passage talks about the letters being on His robe, those wouldn’t be painted on, those letters would be permanent. Why should we assume that these letters are not permanent as well? He is King of kings and Lord of lords forever, right? Some translations even say, “tattooed on His thigh”.
The book of Revelation is full of metaphors and symbols, so this may be one of those images but no really knows either way. The Jesus in my head sports a fatty thigh tattoo and is a bit hipster, so, it fits with my visual concept of Him. 🙂
If you want to believe that it is painted on His thigh, that is your choice. He is still King of kings and Lord of lords. Let me give you scripture why it is acceptable for a Christian to get a tattoo according to the Bible.
1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
This whole chapter talk about that, as believers, we have a lot of freedom. The New Testament is clear on what NOT to do but everything else is left up to us, with just a few guidelines.
- Do everything for the glory of God. (verse 31)
- Don’t seek your own, but the good of others. (verse 24)
- Do not cause anyone else to stumble. (verse 32)
So, the question to ask yourself as a Christian before getting a tattoo would be: what is your motivation?
- Do you want a tattoo of a scantily clad she-devil? I can safely say: BAD IDEA.
- Are you considering a verse tattoo across your ribs? Good idea but inappropriate placement.
- Does a simple word picture on your foot or wrist appeal to you? Depending on your motivation, stellar idea!
Now, why am I stressing your motivation? Even if the tattoo you want is appropriate, it can be done with the wrong heart.
The cool thing about Jesus is that He stopped focusing on people’s physical actions (like the law did) and He got to the “heart of the matter”. “If you even look at a woman with lust in your heart, you’ve already committed adultery,” Matthew 5:28. Your heart motivation is incredibly important for anything, and something as permanent as a tattoo is no exception.
- Do you want a tattoo because you think they are cool?
- Because you look at Pinterest too often? (don’t look here if you are still against tattoos)
- Or because you have such a passion for a particular verse or word picture of God’s love?
For many years now, I have wanted to have a tattoo of the Hebrew word, EMET, which means truth. It is three letter in Hebrew, and it is the first, middle, and last letter of the alphabet because the idea is that truth encompasses everything. It so speaks to my heart of hearts. I want to on my wrist. It would be a great conversation starter. I have wanted it for years. I think this would be a great example of an appropriate use of getting a tattoo as a Christian.
Why haven’t I gotten it? Because my husband doesn’t like tattoos and my body is his body. So, despite the fact that my tattoo idea meets all the above criteria, I would be disrespecting my husband if I got it without his approval. I would cause my husband to stumble (give him a reason to be upset with me) every time he looked at my wrist. I don’t want to do that, so I have chosen not to get it…for now ;).
If you are considering a tattoo right now, whether you already have full sleeves or no tattoos, do some soul searching with Jesus. Examine why you truly want to get it and what are the repercussion of getting it. The option will always be there if you want to get it in a few months or a few years, but once you get it, there is no taking it back (unless you want to pay a lot of money to get it removed).
If you are going to get inked,do it for Jesus!
***Wondering about piercings too? Check out the article on our website: Mini Tattoos Piercing Bible Study