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  • This is a production of World Video Bible School.

  • To God be the glory!

  • In the last several years tattoos and body piercings have become extremely

  • common, perhaps more popular than they've ever been in history.

  • The movie stars have them, the sports figures have them.

  • In fact, a news story dated April 30, 2009, says that

  • Barbie now has them.

  • In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Barbie doll,

  • Mattel has created a new Barbie complete with tattoos

  • and a toy tattoo gun so that children can stamp themselves with washable tattoos.

  • The American Academy of Dermatology website references a 2004

  • survey

  • with people from the ages of 18 to 50

  • which revealed that: "24% of the people surveyed reported having

  • a tattoo."

  • A Harris poll dated February 12, 2008, stated that

  • 32% of those ages 25-29 had a tattoo"

  • and 25% of those age 30-39.

  • And because they are so popular

  • it's a topic that young people have to deal with

  • and that Christians have a lot of questions about.

  • I personally have had people come to me and ask,

  • "Is that right for a Christian to get a tattoo?" Or, "Is it right to have multiple

  • piercings in your ear?"

  • What about a ring in your nose?"

  • And at times it's young people wanting to know the answers to these questions.

  • Other times it's parents who've been discussing it with their children and

  • they want to know what the Bible has to say about this subject.

  • Now in light of these things,

  • I think it's appropriate that we spend some time trying to answer these

  • questions. We want to know,

  • "Does the Bible address these issues?"

  • Is this a matter of right and wrong or is it purely a matter of opinion?

  • In this study, we're going to seek to answer these questions

  • and we want to be very fair in our approach.

  • Our goal is not to shame those who have tattoos,

  • nor is it to reach unwarranted conclusions.

  • Our goal is to examine this topic in light of relevant Bible passages

  • and then to draw accurate conclusions.

  • Now first, I want to discuss some misconceptions that people have

  • about what the Bible says about tattoos.

  • Frequently when discussing the subject of tattoos or body piercings,

  • you'll hear somebody say, "Well, the Bible specifically forbids that."

  • The fact is there's no passage in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not get a tattoo."

  • Now, many

  • times

  • people will go to a passage in the Old Testament that they believe addresses

  • our question.

  • Specifically, they will use Leviticus 19 and verse 28

  • where the Bible says:

  • "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any

  • marks upon you:

  • I am the LORD."

  • I want to suggest to you that I don't believe that's inaccurate use of that particular

  • passage.

  • You know, first we've got to be very careful

  • about trying to use an Old Testament passage as a proof-text for what we can

  • or cannot do in the Christian age.

  • The Law of Moses has been mailed to the cross

  • and it's not the standard by which we live today.

  • But I also want you notice with me that

  • this same chapter, which forbids putting marks on your body,

  • also gives instructions concerning animal sacrifices. It requires leaving

  • certain portions of your crops unharvested.

  • It forbids sowing two types of seed in the same field.

  • It tells the Hebrews that they were not to wear a garment with two different

  • types of fabric, wool and linen mixed.

  • There are also restrictions about how a man's hair was to be cut, and

  • ways in which he wasn't allowed to trim his beard.

  • Now I would ask,

  • why would you pick out one of these things and try to bind it

  • and ignore the others?

  • The context of Leviticus 19:27 and 28 is that of:

  • "Keeping the people away from heathen practices

  • and things associated with idolatry."

  • Cutting the flesh is mentioned and

  • you may remember from 1 Kings 18, verse 28

  • that that was associated with the worship of Baal.

  • And there's archaeological evidence that indicates that

  • some of the Canaanites would tattoo themselves with the names or symbols

  • of their favorite gods.

  • This appears to be what's being forbidden, not the modern practice

  • of tattoos.

  • The idea is that the Jews were not to identify themselves with the heathen

  • practices

  • or the idolatrous religions that surrounded them.

  • And so, Christian should be careful when making arguments from the Bible,

  • that we don't make bad arguments.

  • Because, number one, it hurts our credibility and the case that we're

  • trying to make.

  • And, number two,

  • It really isn't "handling aright the word of God."

  • Now, perhaps there is a principle

  • in Leviticus 19 that we're not to associate ourselves with ungodly

  • things,

  • but that would be all that we could get from that passage. And so, back to my

  • point.

  • There is no passage that says: "Thou shalt not get a tattoo."

  • But you know, just because there's no direct

  • prohibition against tattoos,

  • that doesn't necessarily mean that it's right to get one.

  • You know, there's no passage in the Bible that says:

  • "Thou shalt not inject heroin into thy veins."

  • But we understand that it's wrong to do that because of Bible principles.

  • And so in determining if an activity is right or wrong, a Christian needs to ask

  • himself certain questions.

  • He needs to ask himself questions such as:

  • "What would this do to my influence?"

  • "Would this be a stumbling block for other people?"

  • "Is engaging in this practice good stewardship?"

  • "Will this have any negative effects on

  • me as a servant of God?"

  • So let's discuss some Biblical principles

  • that have bearing on this issue of tattoos and body piercings.

  • Number one, I want to talk about the principle of

  • influence.

  • I want to begin by looking at a passage of scripture in 1 Corinthians,

  • chapter 11.

  • There's a rather unusual discussion there that takes place dealing with the

  • subject of the wearing of veils.

  • In verse 5, the Apostle Paul writes:

  • "But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered (that is without

  • a veil on) dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

  • For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to

  • be shorn or shaved, let her be covered." That is, let her wear her veil. Now, some have

  • concluded that this passage applies to all women for all times.

  • I don't believe that's correct.

  • In fact, I think that

  • it's being made clear that's not the point,

  • in verse 16, when Paul writes: "But if anyone seems to be contentious,

  • we have no such custom,

  • nor do the churches of God."

  • Now, if the point of this passage is not that all women for all time must have

  • their heads covered when they worship,

  • then why does Paul command the women in Corinth to do so?

  • I believe the fact is that in that particular city

  • in that particular time

  • it was customary for a woman to wear a veil.

  • And to not do so was to send a message that was rebellious in nature.

  • It was to reject the authority of her husband.

  • And so, for a Christian woman to refuse to wear a veil,

  • she was sending a message that,

  • in that culture,

  • would be very offensive.

  • It was an association that a Christian woman

  • would not want to have. Now, what connection does that have with tattoos?

  • In our current society, tattoos send a particular message.

  • For years, tattoos have been associated with counterculture.

  • Tattoos and unusual body piercings

  • send a message that

  • "I'm a certain type of person,"

  • or, "I'm associated with a certain type of people."

  • A former police officer told me that when he was on the police force,

  • that as more and more officers began getting tattoos, the department

  • asked that the officers only get tattoos in places that could be

  • hidden by their uniforms.

  • And the reason they gave was they were concerned about the message that it

  • would send to the public.

  • On the internet, there are numerous news stories that discuss the problem of

  • tattoos and body art

  • in the workplace.

  • One article from FOX news points out that some employers are having to write

  • very specific dress codes

  • to address this issue that they deem as a problem.

  • Many employers are requiring that their staff dress in such a way as to hide

  • their tattoos because they don't like the message that it sends.

  • I mentioned to you earlier about the new tattoo Barbie doll.

  • I want to read you an excerpt from an article that talks about this new doll. It

  • says that: "Parents have already rallied up against Mattel,

  • asking for the dolls to be pulled off the market."

  • One parent asked,