What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

Name: Angela
Question: Getting tattoos is very popular. Is getting tattooed a sin? What does God say about it? Thanks!

Answer: Angela, thanks for the question.

The Bible is pretty clear on this, God is against tattoos or any other marks on the body.

Do you know why?

The people who lived in the land with the Israelites marked their bodies, and God did not want the Israelites to do the same. Instead, God wanted the Israelites to follow His ways and laws, not the people of the world.

With that, let’s read some Scriptures to get to the bottom of this.

Leviticus 19:28
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

God just made it very clear, do not tattoo your forearm, legs, or back. Don’t tattoo any part of your body, certainly not to remember a lost loved one, which a lot of people do.

So tattoos are a big no-no.

Now, who was God talking to anyway?

He was talking to the Israelites. God wanted His People to be separate from the other people in the land, (Deuteronomy 14:2). When you read the Old Testament, God overwhelmingly told the Israelites not to be like the people in the land.


They were heathen people who worshipped every false god under the sun.

They even worshipped the sun!

Tattooing and marking their bodies would honor these gods, or delve into other heathen religious practices.

In fact, in Leviticus, God continually speaks about the Israelites presenting unblemished sacrifices before Him, (Exodus 12:5, Leviticus 1:3, 4:32). Even the priests could not be blemished.

I realize we do not perform sacrifice today, but the point was, God wanted His People to be holy. He had a certain standard for them to follow.


Leviticus 20:26
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

God is Holy, and He wants us to be holy as well.

That means we should be pure in heart, pure in all aspects. Hey, we’re going to fall short at times, Scripture tells us that, but I think you get the idea here.

Now, the Bible verses we read were written thousands of years ago, and they were addressed to the ancient Israelites.

Do they really apply to us today?


Remember the main point of those verses.

God wanted His people to be separate from the world around them. In fact, Jesus told us, since we are not of the world, the world will hate us for it, (John 15:19). Christians should strive to be popular with God, not popular with the world.

Remember, “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” (1 John 5:19).

Do we really want to be a part of that?

I don’t think so.

One more point about following laws that were directed to the ancient Israelites…

Scripture tells us, God set aside a people to be holy to Him. Today, those people are the individuals who accept Jesus Christ. In fact, once you accept Jesus, you become the children of Abraham, and you’re adopted into the family of God, (Romans 4:13-14, Galatians 3:29).

Genealogy plays no part in it.

So even when we’re reading the Old Testament, there’s value for us. It contains the Laws of God, His best wishes, and guidance for us to follow.

All right, now back to the tattoo bit, and a verse from the New Testament.

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Remember what I said earlier about sacrifice?

God always demanded that the sacrifices were perfect, without blemish.

Today, we are supposed to be perfect. As perfect as we are able.

Moreover, we should always present ourselves as acceptable to God, for we are the spiritual temple, (2 Corinthians 6:16). That means honoring God’s Law in every aspect and presenting ourselves to the world as faithful followers of Jesus Christ.


The fact God specifically said, do not cut or print on your body tells us, tattoos were common and practiced in the land. That’s why God said don’t do it. In fact, tattoos are even found on the mummified remains of those in Egypt, and ancient Egypt was all about worshipping false gods.

Tattoos are certainly not a sin to death, but instead of bringing you closer to God, they push you further away from Him. God asked you not to print any marks on your body. If you do so knowing God is against it, then you are pushing Him away from you, while embracing the ways of the world.

That’s not the Christian way.

/* *** Print tooltip */ #printfriendly .underline.web-tooltip.web-tooltip-top:after { content: ' (' attr(data-tooltip)')'; font-size: 70%; font-style: italic; color: #777; } /* *** Font body of document */ #printfriendly #pf-body, ol, ul, dl, li { font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; font-size: 14pt; } #printfriendly #pf-title { font-size: 18pt; font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; text-align: center; } /*dev*/ #printfriendly #pf-author { font-size: 9pt; font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; font-weight: bold; color: #888; text-align: center; } /* *** Style Table of Contents */ #printfriendly .elementor-toc__header, .elementor-toc__body { background-color:#f1f1f1; border-radius: 5px; padding: 15px; width: 75%; margin:auto; margin-bottom: 10px; display:none; } #printfriendly .elementor-toc__header-title { font-weight: bold; text-align: center; } #printfriendly h2 { font-size: 16pt; font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; text-align: center; } #printfriendly h3, h4, h5, h6 { font-size: 14pt; font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; text-align: center; } /*print link color, does not affect pdf*/ #printfriendly a, #printfriendly a:visited { color: blue; } /*remove reftagger link attributes, does not affect pdf*/ #printfriendly a.rtBibleRef, #printfriendly a.rtBibleRef a:visited { font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; color:#333; text-decoration: underline; text-decoration-color: transparent; } #printfriendly p, ul { font-size: 14pt; font-family: Georgia, Arial, Tahoma; } /*style blockquote font size*/ #printfriendly blockquote { font-size: 14pt; } #printfriendly img { border-radius: 3px; } /*favicon*/ #printfriendly #pf-src-url img { border-radius: 0px; } /*print in footer*/ #printfriendly #pf-print-area:after { content: 'Visit: worldeventsandthebible.com, © World Events and the Bible'; font-size: 10pt; color: #777; display: block; text-align: center; }