Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Interesting conversation on Facebook the other day where someone asked if it is permissible for Christians to get tattoos. You can only imagine the plethora of responses to that kind of question. Seventy-four comments, last I checked, and growing. It is true that nowhere in the New Testament are Christians forbidden from getting tattoos. However, arguments from silence are never strong arguments. This is akin to paedobaptists arguing that nowhere in the Bible is infant baptism prohibited. Simply because God does not openly condemn a behavior should not be taken as implied consent. However, unlike infant baptism, the Bible does speak against tattoos. In Leviticus 19:28 God commands, “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD.” In understanding this verse, many commit one of two fatal errors. First, it is in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament so it must not apply. This is a dangerous way of interpreting the Old Testament. The New Testament says nothing about marrying or having sex with your sibling (see Lev 18:6-18). Is incest now permissible? The second fatal error many commit is in thinking the basis for the prohibition is in the second half of the first clause: “for the dead.” Thus, so long as we are not cutting or tattooing ourselves “for the dead,” then these behaviors are permissible. However, the basis for the prohibition is the second clause which controls and explains the entire first clause: “I am the LORD.” God wants his people to understand we belong to Him—mind, soul, and body. We do not have the right to do with our bodies whatever we desire. The apostle Paul rightly understood this when he wrote: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
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