The word tattoo occurs only one in the Bible. It is found in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:28
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, not make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I an the Lord. Leviticus 19:28
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo arks on yourselves. I am the Lord
This passage is talking about tattoos which are part of a religious ritual worship was common. Another example of this occurs in 1 Kings 18:26-28 where the prophet Elijah confronted the priests of Baal.
Then they took the ox which was given to them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, ‘O Ball answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the alter which they made. And it came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with voice, for he is a god, either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.’ So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to there custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out of them. 1 Kings 18:26-28
Since ancient times men and women have cut and painted themselves as a part of their religious worship. It was and still common in some countries for younger men to mutilate and tattoo their bodies. History tells us that the ancient Egyptians, Thracians, Greeks, Gauls, Germans, Britons, Romans, Africans, American Indians, and many others used tattoos. God prohibits any activities associated with religious worship of other so called gods.
Tattoos – Pictures on the Body
The first passage mentioned above, Leviticus 19:28, is the only passage in the Old Testament about tattoos. The Hebrew word used for “tattoo” in Leviticus means incision or imprint. It has the idea of putting a Mark into the skin. The Mark can be embedded or have color.
If someone wants to object and say this passage rejects all cutting of the flesh and marks of the flesh, then we want to ask, “Does God prohibit any cutting of the body for medical reasons such as operations?” The answer is “no” since God wanted Jewish boys to have an operation called circumcision of males. So does allow us to cut our bodies? The answer is “Yes,” but only for a good reason. We need to Rey that we are the temple of God. It is not to be abused.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16.
Does God also reject also reject all imprints into the flesh?
Again the answer is “no.” But are tattoos safe? Are there any concerns? The answer is “yes.” There are health risks, including allergic reactions, infections, and AIDS or HIV. It is very common for those who have tattoos to want one or more removed later in life. But tattoo removal is not easy.
The Bible does not prohibit tattoos for non-religion reasons. The Bible has nothing to say about it otherwise. Before someone gets a tattoo themselves they should ask “Can I do this in good conscience before God?”
Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
If you have any doubts that God would approve, then to have a tattoo would be sin.
Whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23.
I must admit I have a tattoo. I had it done when I was young. Another thing I did to rid myself of the pain in my life.