What does the Bible say about tattoos/body piercings?

Many of my Christian friends have tattoos.  Some of my family members have them.  Many Christian ladies have their ears pierced to wear pierced earrings.  Young people have made tattoos and body piercing very popular.  It has gone to the excess with some covering arms, neck and ankles with tattoos or having rings in the nose, lip and tongue.  What does the Word of God say about this?

The Old Testament law commanded the Israelites, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”  (Leviticus 19:28)  Christians are not under the Old Testament law.  (Romans 10:4; Ephesians 2:15)  While we are not under this law, because God commanded this to the Israelites, we should pause and think.  The New Testament does not say anything specifically about tattoos and body piercing.

The Bible is not a book of minute laws, it is a book of general principles. This is good because if it were a book of minute laws it would take a train with several cars to carry them.  It is also good because you may find a loophole in a law, but you can not in a principle.   For example:  The Bible does not say, “thou shalt not watch X rated movies.”  The Bible does say that a man is not to look upon a woman for the purpose of lusting after her. (Matthew 5:28)

An important scriptural principle about how we treat our bodies is recorded in I Corinthians,  “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 Cor. 6:19-20)

Each Christian should personally seek God’s permission before doing anything to his body that might be offensive to other Christians or God.

About Dr. Mike Harmon

Dr. Harmon began preaching at the age of 15 while living in southern California. He has conducted over 600 revivals and evangelistic campaigns nationwide, and has served as Senior Pastor at seven churches. Dr. Harmon has degrees from Central Baptist College, the University of Central Arkansas, and a Ph.D. From the Christian Bible College and Seminary. He has served as trustee for Southeastern Baptist College and Chairman of the trustees for the BMA Theological Seminary. He also served as Chaplain for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas State Senate. His many sermons and articles on Christian Apologetics are widely published. He is married to one wife of 43 years; has two sons, and seven grandchildren. He considers the simple pleasures of cooking, dining with family and friends, and liesurely rides on his Harley through the Texas Hill Country to be some of the most enjoyable blessings from the Lord.
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