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Joined: 2012/9/5
Posts: 17

 Can A Christian Have Tattoos?

Hello Saints,

My intention of posting this up is genuinely for healthy discussion.

Can Christians Have Tattoos on Their Bodies?

I personally think it is okay. What do you think?

David Kendrick

 2013/7/8 8:55Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7504

 Re: Can A Christian Have Tattoos?

Why do you want a tattoo?

What is the driving motive?

Does it serve any useful purpose?

Does it promote health?

Is it money worthwhile spent?

Does the WORD have anything anywhere to say about this?

Seems to be the answers to these questions should make the wisdom of this procedure obvious.

Sandra Miller

 2013/7/8 10:49Profile


Well, it is a legalistic question isn't it?

A tattoo is neither good nor bad, morally speaking. It is just ink. Ink is amoral. Neither good nor evil. Evil proceeds out of the heart.

If the Lord is telling you not to get a tattoo then it is self-explanatory what you should do. Don't go against His voice to you.

You see, a Christian can do many things but not all things are expedient or edifying. God is always looking at the motivations of the heart and His Holy Spirit will guide you whether the thing is not pleasing to Him or not. There are many ways our hearts can be turned away from Him and as our Shepherd He knows how to let us know what we need to do to keep our eyes on Him and our heart free from idols.

So, to sum things up. No one but you can decide if a tattoo is wrong for you, or not because no one else has your relationship with God. It is between you and Jesus.

I don't even have the wisdom and knowledge to ask you the right questions (interview you) and determine what you should do.

Medically speaking it may not be good. Aesthetically, you may come to regret it but is the Lord allowing you to do it? No one can know that but you.

 2013/7/8 12:27

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4537


A Christian friend asked me this while I was in college. I pointed him to the passages in the New Testament that refer to your body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit (e.g., I Corinthians 6:19-20, I Corinthians 3:16-17).

I then asked whether it would have been appropriate to plaster a mural on the side of the Temple in Jerusalem circa 500 B.C. What about the Temple at around 33 A.D.?

Remember: There were very specific instructions from God for the building and decorum of the Temple. While it was necessary to clean it and even restore it, it wasn't proper to inscribe things into the outer walls that were beyond the scope of instructions inspired given by God.

Even if well-intentioned, a tattoo is tantamount to a "mural" or, more correctly, graffiti that you commission. However, a tattoo is permanent. Even if you attempt to have it removed, there will always be a scar.

It is important to remember that you are not your own. You -- and your body -- was bought at a price (I Corinthians 6:20). Thus, you don't even "own" your own body. It belongs to God.

If you lived in a rented home or an apartment, would you pay someone to permanently carve a picture into the outer wall? I can't answer the question. However, you would first need to seek approval and permission from the owner.

The Lord is the Owner of your body, your temple. If anything, I would urge that any person who desires a tattoo first seek approval from God in this. If they don't feel that they have gained His approval or permission, then I would recommend against it.

I hope that this doesn't sound "legalistic" in an Old Covenant sense. I certainly would not tell you what to do or not to do. However, there are New Testament precedents regarding the treatment of the physical body.


"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

- I Corinthians 6:19-20


 2013/7/8 12:53Profile

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1564
Scotland, UK


If you had tattoos before you were saved then that's okay, but to go and get one after being saved would be wrong.

In the world right now it is fashionable to get a tattoo but Christians should not be following the lead of the world.

Remember “You Are Not Your Own”

1 Corinthians 6:19 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?

Colin Murray

 2013/7/8 13:13Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5678


A man prayed about a tattoo
"Lord, I want to run it by you."

Said the Lord, "I don't mind
If you are so inclined
But get something cool if you do."


 2013/7/8 14:15Profile


The context of "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost" is not about tattoos. Read it again.

If we want to be legalistic about that verse, then all Christians should stop drinking sodas, and other artificial drinks, food laced with additives, popsicles with food coloring, birthday cakes, packaged foods, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Every time someone starts a sentence, "Is it ok if I do this or that", it is a big tip off that they think Christianity is a life that comprises following rules and regulations. And those who answer them in kind, believe the same thing. It is also a big tip off that they are looking to men for direction and probably thinking they cannot hear from God on their particular issue. Either that, or they did hear from God but did not like His answer.

We live by His life, not by rules and regulations.

Young kids always ask their Mother and Father, "can I do this" or "can I do that". The goal as far as maturity goes is that when they grow up, they have come to know how to honor their parents, and show them respect. They know how to show their love to them. They are not thinking about themselves and whether they "can do this or that". They understand relationships now and what it takes to nurture them.

Their life no longer revolves around, "Can I do this" or "Can I do that", or "Is it ok if I do this or that"?

 2013/7/8 14:31

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5678


excellent observations, just-in.


 2013/7/8 14:43Profile


I like your poem, TMK.

 2013/7/8 15:00

 Re: Can A Christian Have Tattoos?

Hello David

Can christians have tattoos on their bodies?

Here is another question brother!

Can a believer cut of their hand if it offends them? Or their foot? Or pluck out their eye?

Here in the UK tattoos go back five thousand years. No doubt tattoos go back a similar period of time in other places as well. My point is that tattoos are not a new thing. In almost every culture in the world it is possible to find some form of body markings which correspond to a deep meaning. Many new nations such as the USA don't have a meaningful understanding of tattoos simply because they have no significant cultural meaning beyond perhaps a measure of individuality. In all other cultures however in the ancient world and even today in Asia, including Malaysia where you live, tattoos have meaning which is connected to death cults and spirits. They are always about being part of something and not essentially about expressing something individually.

Realising that the western cult of individuality lies at the heart of the question however, one would have to say that just as that which goes into your body is passing into the drain, so the body itself is passing away. The real question I would ask myself in your shoes is "why do I want a tattoo?" If you can answer that and it amounts to no more than vanity and individualism then you are yet vain and rebellious. If it has another meaning (and the style and attraction of the tattoo will tell you this) then you may be being led on and ought to flee from it.

If you look at most modern descriptors of tattooing the explanation is almost always one of self adornment and personal beauty. Rather similar to the western perception of tattoos today. However their real meaning lies somewhere else historically and the above article will highlight just what this meant for Malay females traditionally. You will see that the meaning is "tattoos save the soul". If you think that this is exaggerated then I can bear witness to a Hindu man who came to me and a brother one day out of the blue. He was clearly possessed and absolutely desperate to be delivered. He literally begged us to cast out the spirit which was tormenting him. His words were "I have heard that you can cast out demons". In the course of ministering to him we needed to establish a basis for really helping him and so we encouraged him to repent of his sins and so on. Then realising that he had no intention or desire to be free from sin, we drew attention to a tattoo on his lower arm. "What is this we asked?" His reply was "It is the name of the demon who throws me out of bed every night. I wrote his name on my body to placate him". This too is salvation of the soul by tattooing the body. Needless to say it does not work.

One last thing brother. If you pass by a mosque in the next few days take with you some beautiful red, yellow and red paint. Then go to the door of the mosque and paint the name of Jesus on the pillars of the door and make it a beautiful work of art. Then say your prayers and very soon you will be taken by violent men. How much more will the man be taken by unclean spirits who takes the house of God to be nothing?

End Note: The Indigenous Indian Nations of the America's are not new!

 2013/7/8 15:05

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