Beauty for Ashes:
My Views on Tattoos & Piercings
Scriptures dealing with tattoos, piercings, and the like
- nose ring-- Genesis 24:21-23, 29-31, 46-48
- 22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23and said, "Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?"
- 46She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder and said, 'Drink, and I will give your camels drink also.' So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. 47Then I asked her, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.' So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48 Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD and blessed the LORD)the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.
the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right wayto take
- 46She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder and said, 'Drink, and I will give your camels drink also.' So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. 47Then I asked her, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.' So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48 Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD and blessed the LORD, to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.
the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way
- nose jewel-- Isaiah 3:16-23
- 16 Moreover the LORD says:
“ Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
And walk with outstretched necks
And wanton eyes,
Walking and mincing as they go,
Making a jingling with their feet,
17 Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion,
And the LORD will uncover their secret parts.”
18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery:
The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents;
19 The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils;
20 The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands;
The perfume boxes, the charms,
21 and the rings;
The nose jewels,
22 the festal apparel, and the mantles;
The outer garments, the purses,
23 and the mirrors;
The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes.
- nose jewel-- Ezekiel 16:11-13
- 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty.
- pierced-- Exodus 21:5-7
- 5 But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
7 “And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
- markings, tattoos-- Leviticus 19:27-28
- 27 You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.
How does this apply to me?
One of the uses of all forms of jewelry, including nose rings in the Bible, is decoration for brides-to-be, brides, and married women. Even God uses this cultural custom to show how He betrothed Himself to Israel and cared for her in her youth. He also used it to show how He would remove the high status that they had placed on themselves, as judgment for being haughty, idolatrous, and unjust/oppressive.
As far as tattoos go, in the Old Testament the Israelites were strictly forbidden to mark themselves (some translations infer that that was specifically for the dead) and also forbidden from cutting themselves for the dead.
Earrings could be jewelry but were also a sign of devotion of a slave to his master, as every seven years slaves were to be freed. If the slave wanted to stay with his master he would have his ear pierced with an awl.
- Piercing is not disallowed by Scripture
- Tattoos were along with shaving the beard in a certain way. It was apart of The Law
- As a Christian I am not under Mosaic Law. Not because it has passed away but because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of The Law and most Christians understand this. However it must be understood thatwe as Christians do not live under any part of The Law
- Galations 3
- 1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
I used to wonder if I was holding onto the idea of being, for lack of a better term, "tatted up" (that's my song!) and pierced because, "'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be enslaved by anything." I didn't want to be enslaved by my desire for body art/decoration--which is how I see tattoos and piecing--I don't understand how people can not want art that is meaningful that they carry with them the rest of their lives. Art means that much to me, and to have something that is so personal and so beautiful and so creative on your body always. To me that's just... wow!
And people who are against tattoos always want to bring up 1 Corinthian 3:16-17 (Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.) and it's as if they forgot that the temple was beautifully embellished with tapestries and embroidery and covered absolutely covered in gold. Body modification has nothing to do with destroying and everything to do with celebrating God's creativity by expressing our own and appropriately adorning the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Anyway I was praying about it and god brought to me one of my favorite verses, Ezekiel 16 and He told me that my desire for these things was because of what He had done in my life and that these adornments were just physical evidence to remind me of the beauty He had given me for the ashes of my life. They are to remind me that I am wedded to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lover of my soul. And my heart was settled. But this is just my personal experience, I'm not saying that this is so for everyone. But the scripture above do show that scripturally there's no reason for anyone to regard piercing or tattoos as a sin. It's a personal choice to have them or not.