Are Tattoos Really Sinful?

According to a recent poll, 45 million Americans currently have one tattoo or more, and the total amount spent on them annually is a whopping $1,650,500,000.

With the popularity of tattoos steadily on the rise, it’s no surprise that this question is becoming ever more popular in the church: Is it a sin to get tattoos?

And what does the Bible really say about them?

According to Christian professor Will Honeycutt, “The short answer is…nothing. At least nothing definitive,” he stated in a Crosswalk article on the subject.

He continued:

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The Bible makes no specific reference to tattoos as we understand them in modern times. Some Christians condemn all tattooing as immoral because God clearly forbids them in Leviticus 19:28. Since the word tattoo does appear in this verse in some popular English translations, this argument seems straightforward. For example, the NIV reads, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”

Other Christians say this passage no longer applies to us because it is Old Testament law, and not for Christians. If you go online to try to answer the tattoo question, you’ll see both approaches and contradictory conclusions.

As an inked Christian himself, YouTube personality Jefferson Bethke decided to take this controversial topic head on for himself. In this insightful video, watch as Bethke elaborates on what the Bible really has to say about tattoos and the context they are referenced in within the Scriptures. You might just be surprised…


Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.