Everyone has their own reason and desire for having a needle slowly inject ink onto their skin, resulting in a tattoo. In my opinion, there are three types of tattoos. The first type comes from the rebellious phase/I just want a cool or cute tattoo in a generic location that does not mean much but looks sweet, and can be hidden and revealed when chosen.
The second is the artsy or symbolic tattoo that has an awesome story or meaning behind it; this type always sparks a conversation and you know a lot of time was put into thinking about the look, placement and reason behind it.
Finally, there is the ministry tattoo. Much like tattoo number two, it has a lot of sentiment and meaning, but usually the purpose behind it has to do with one’s faith or relationship with Christ.
This tattoo allows for people to ask what it stands for or why it is important, which opens a door to ministry. It can be an opportunity to share a verse and the meaning behind it, the way God has moved, impacted or saved their life or just how much they love God.
It is not uncommon for people to see Christians, pastors or others in leadership within ministry, perhaps, with tattoos and think “doesn’t the Bible say not to get tattoos?” Yes, it does.
Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.”
As much as I respect the Bible as the word of God and as guidance on how we should live our lives, there are some pieces of scripture that Christians may take out of context too often.
If we read this verse for its black and white meaning, not only would we not be allowed to get tattoos, but we would not be eating pork (Leviticus 11) and when women are considered unclean they would have to go through a ceremonial cleansing (Leviticus 15:28). Those are both pieces of scripture that we respect in the Bible, but no longer view as a necessity to be a Christian.
Tattoos can be used for ministry. They can lead people to ask questions that can be directed back toward having a relationship with God and what that means to that individual.
It may open a door to conversation about Christ in a casual way. It gives people the opportunity to publicly display what they believe and are proud of.
A simple tree on the ankle, verse on the back or a detailed picture on the forearm may lead to salvation, God’s grace, the power of scripture and more.
It is a good thing that we do not take Leviticus 19:28 so literally, or there could be a lot of people in the world today that would never hear the gospel.
Williamson is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@ my.whitworth.edu.