Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many Christians are wondering what the Bible has to say about them. While there is no clear passage in the Bible that addresses tattooing, there are some guiding questions that can help Christians think through their decision. The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains defines qa'aqa as “a mark on the skin through an incision, as a non-verbal sign of mourning”. This suggests that tattoos were not uncommon in the ancient Middle East, but the writers of the Hebrew Bible prohibited them.
The Bible warns Christians who are considering getting a tattoo and tries to help them overcome the consequences of those mistakes. It is important to remember that this is not a license to get tattooed without restrictions. The principles of the Bible clearly state that it is wrong to desecrate our bodies with tattoos. I hope this brief study will be a reminder of the dangers of a careless biblical interpretation that is then imposed on others as legalistic demands that God never made.
All quotes from the Scriptures, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, the standard version in English. Visit the Bible online to search for words if you don't know the specific passage you're looking for.