Tattoos are always up for debate in the Christian world of do’s and don’t. Legalistic Christians always explain the reason you shouldn’t get tattoos with the verse:
“Don’t gash your bodies on behalf of the dead.”
When translated many people take this verse out of context and immediately make it the whole reason why everyone with tattoos is going to hell. Number 1, you’re going to hell if you deny Christ not if you have tattooed your body or pierced your skin.
Tattoos have been around for centuries and when we dig deep into this context of this verse we have to look at who God was talking to and when. The reputable Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary’s article on tattoos says,
“Any kind of self-laceration or marking of the body was prohibited among the Hebrew people. Such cuttings were associated with pagan cults that tattooed their followers while they mourned the dead” (1986).
This verse was strictly given to a specific people (Hebrew people) at a time when tattoos were used as worship on something that was not God Himself. Which leads me to the true answer if tattoos are good or bad.
Like anything else, we can eat the best brownie you have ever tasted once and it’s a good thing. Enjoy that brownie but when you make the brownie the reason you wake up every day, the reason you’re alive that’s when there’s a problem.It’s the same when you make a man the reason for your existence. See these things, the brownie, tattoos and a man are things that God gave us to enjoy but we cannot believe and rest in them. They will fail you. Eventually, your brownie will get old and can give you a stomach ache. Eventually, that tattoo may lose its meaning and eventually a man could fail you.
Making any of these examples first before God is the problem. God is a jealous God and He wants to have a relationship with you. What’s great is that if you ever went too far that’s why He sent down his Son to give us Jesus righteousness in exchange for Jesus to bare all our sins.
Tattoos are beautiful, piercings are exciting and jewelry is fun to wear. It’s great to use these things!
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson