There are a few questions that must be answered when dealing with a question like this. We must be careful to not create laws that God has not created or ignore laws that God has established. Some question to consider are as follows: 1. Does the New Testament specifically forbid Christians from getting a tattoo? 2. Are certain moral principles violated through getting a tattoo? 3. Is there any situation where a tattoo would be sinful?
Argument #1 - Leviticus 19:28 forbids Christians from getting tattoos! --- Does it really??
First off, this section of Scripture also forbids trimming the sides of ones hair and shaping a beard. To be consistent one would have to follow all of these commands. (However, just because one is inconsistent, does not always negate their argument).
Second, the Christian is not under the Old Law. The Old Law was given to Israel for a specific purpose. The Old Law was designed to lead one to Christ and once Jesus came, it was no longer needed.Note Galatians 3:23-25:
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.The point of the section is "don't commit sexual sin". The motivation for not committing sexual sin is the reality of the Christian being a temple of the Spirit. When one "joins himself with prostitute" it is as if he is defiling the very temple of God.
- Although NOT implicitly wrong there are some times when getting a tattoo would be sinful. Getting a tattoo would be sinful if:
- If the tattoo promoted something immoral or ungodly (nude person, foul language, the Devil, etc.).
- If it was done for vain reasons. (To make you look tough/cool etc. Or to try to just get people to look at you).
- If it severely harmed your influence. This is a judgement call that each individual will have to make, it may be best to exercise extra caution in this area.
- If it was placed in a location that allowed the tattoo artist to look at parts of your body that only your spouse should see or caused people to focus on certain parts of your body.
Image from True Artists Blog "Tattoos in the Workplace"