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What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos and Piercings?

Tattooing is all about the pain…. the ink is just a souvenir!

In recent years, the trend of body modification is on full swing such as,

  • Piecing
  • Tattooing
  • Scarring
  • Branding
  • Cutting
  • And outright mutilation

The insertion of jewelry in various body parts has graduated from the traditional ear lobe piercing to the piercing of noses, navels, nipples, tongues, eyebrows, cheeks and even gentiles are not left save.

Is the bible silent on tattoos and body piercing?

Obviously not, bible has several verses which say that body piercing and tattooing is forbidden.

According to the US news and world reports,

  • Tattooing and piercing is the country’s 6th fastest growing retail business.
  • It is estimated that one new Tattooing and piercing studio opens up every day.

Even among Christians, what was once forbidden is welcomed. With thousands of Christians are getting “marked for Jesus” at so called Christian tattooing and piercing shops.

What Does Bible Say About Tattoos?

The Scripture versus

There are 5 Scripture versus that are reflecting the God’s opinion on this issue.

  1. “You shall not make ANY CUTTINGS IN YOUR FLESH for the dead, nor TATTOOS ANY MARKS on you: I am the Lord”(Leviticus 19:28)
  2. 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, not jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
  3. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” ( 1 Corinthians 3:16)
  4. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Go, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirits, which are God’s.”(1 Corinthians 6:19)
  5. “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)

What does it mean?

The very first verse is written in the Book of Leviticus back in the Old Testament.  This verse particularly 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.

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.

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

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


We cannot set up our own standards to judge people by. God is sufficient to judge the hearts of people because He sees the heart and knows for sure; we can’t and we don’t know.

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