Tattoos in Christianity: A Sin or Virtue in Bible

Interest in tattoos in Christianity is on the spike, as 1 in 5 U.S. adults is believed to have at least 1 tattoo inscribed. With such predominance and interest, Christians rightfully ask what the Bible says about tattoos. 

Tattoos in Christianity are forbidden based on the interpretation of Leviticus 19:28 – “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.”

However, the above passage has different interpretations by different scholars. Below are some of them for your quick glance –

  1. An ancient mourning ceremony of self-mutilation – thereby prohibited.
  2. Tattooing of ink using the ashes of the deceased family – thereby prohibited.
  3. Lev.19:19: binding only upon Jewish people – thereby not prohibited.

Is it a Sin to get tattoos in Christianity?

The word tattoos do not directly appear in any of the Bible texts; so many followers have a decent argument that tattooing is not a sin in the bible. Yet, if you have read Leviticus 19:28, it clearly forbids tattoos in Christianity.

Is it as Sin to get tattoos in Christianity?
Is it a Sin to get tattoos in Christianity?

It reads as – “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”  Since this is an Old Testament law, therefore many people completely contradict the statement.

An important point to note here is that the word “tattoo” did not enter the English language till the late 1700s and thus the phrase mentioned in KJV translates to “ye shall not…print marks upon you.” {Print marks à Tattoos}

Since Bible does not explicitly explain tattooing, let us explore some other perspectives of it to get a better perspective on the topic:

  1. Body Modification in Christianity: Bible Perspective
  2. Motive and Message of Tattoo: Personal Thoughts
  3. Marketing Gimmicks or Modesty: Individual’s nature
  4. Health and Money: Financial Nature
  5. Body Modification in Christianity: Bible Perspective

Body Modification: Bible Perspective

To better understand the religious perspective of Tattoos in Christianity, we need to relate it to its close counterparts. This will help us understand the limits of tattooing with Bible citations.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 –  States that our body is not our own but a temple for God. This high stature is given to the human body and God’s work done on it, thereby clearly forbidding tattoos in Christianity or any other alterations in that case. {Bible Verse on Tattoos in Christianity}

Therefore, it is always suggested to take an informed decision on how much you want to challenge the limits of God’s work when you have decided to modify or altercate it.

Motive and Message of Tattoo: Personal Thoughts

1 Corinthians 10:31, clearly suggests that our primary reason to do anything should be to glorify God and his work. So, if you have decided to proceed with tattoos then do it as an honor to someone rather than as an act of desperation or upheaval.

If you are looking to get evangelized then this might not be the best alternative to verbally communicating the gospel, as tattoos in Christianity do not mean fulfilling the Great commission.

Our values, grow with experience, and getting a tattoo early in life might be a regretful decision as you might have to carry the same throughout your life, therefore think before you proceed with what you actually want to convey to the world or yourself.

However, if you are certain that tattooing is going to solve your purpose and your motive & message are clear, then there is no one stopping you.

Marketing Gimmicks or Modesty: Individual’s nature

Many companies avoid hiring candidates with tattoos and might even restrict your entry, requiring you to cover them up before you enter the premises.

This is not socially acceptable to them, as a business. So, think if you are doing this as a marketing gimmick, then the returns might not be highly favorable.

If your goal is not to self-promote but instead self-actualization, then thinking with modesty could help you to limit the tattoos on your body and the locations.

Health and Money: Financial Nature

Tattoos in Christianity are prohibited not only due to religious beliefs but many avoid them as the medical repercussions of the same could also be alarming. These include blood-borne diseases like hepatitis B & C, infections, allergic reactions, and scars.

Be careful of the tattoo parlors you choose as they are not healthcare centers exposing blood and puncturing your skin. Be careful if you are making the wisest decision with your hard-earned money.

We are answerable to God, for our decisions which means wisely using the money and being aware the tattoo reversal technology is even costlier. So, it is urged to weigh the pros and cons; and then decide on how you want to proceed ahead.  

Bible Verse on tattoos in Christianity

If you are having doubts about getting a tattoo and fighting your mind if the decision is religiously okay or not, then the below verses will help you gain a better perspective of Bible beliefs on tattoos in Christianity.  

  1. Leviticus 19:28 You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? You have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.
  3. Romans 12:1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.
  4. 1 Kings 18:28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out upon them.
  5. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? Are tattoos a sin in Christianity?
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
  7. Leviticus 20:23 “You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.”
  8. Deuteronomy 12:4 “Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods.” Is getting a tattoo a sin in Christianity?
  9. 1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.
  10.  Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
  11.  1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Is it a sin to get a tattoo of a cross?
  12.  Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  13.  1 Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
  14.  Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
  15.  Revelation 19:16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
  16.  Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
  17.  Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat because their eating is not from faith, and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
  18.  Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so you are not to do whatever you want.
  19.  John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
  20.  1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
  21.  Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
  22.  Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
  23.  Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  24.  1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.
  25.  Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.


Think Before you Ink – Don’t make hasty decisions and regret them. Use the above-mentioned guide on Bible beliefs on Tattoos in Christianity; to weigh the pros and cons and then decide.

Speak up your mind with your friends and family, and seek their suggestions with an open mind. The decision is your make, in the end.

What does THE BIBLE SAY about TATTOOS in Christianity?