Is It a Sin to Get a Tattoo?

I was leaving a comment on another blog and it got out of control.  I decided to post instead and link to it.

For a person getting a tattoo to disobey God, there would have to be verse of scripture that says “Do not get a tattoo.” Some would be surprised to find there is no such verse in the Bible.

I know, Leviticus 19:28 says not to get a tattoo. Shame on any Bible translation (and most of them do, sadly including the ESV) that renders any Hebrew word as “tattoo.” That commandment is about cutting, specifically involving a practice of worshiping the dead. You have to consider the context of the command; who God was talking to, the time period, and where they were. The Hebrews were meant to live (act, dress, eat, worship) differently than the many pagan, polytheistic cultures surrounding them. Continue reading