Wednesday Wisdom Tip: A New Tatoo


Deep roots are not reached by the frost. – J.R. Tolkien

Tatoos. Some love ’em.

Many hate them, especially when it comes to our children.

Tatoos are something we have processed in our family for many years, beginning with my oldest, who is now 21. We fought about them, made rules against them and let this issue become a source of conflict.

As I look back now, I see how my opinion of tatoos, like many things in my life, are a product of the time I grew up in. Tatoos were stereo typed – reserved for the rough and wild.

Being a mother of three young people, I have had this thinking challenged and I believe it has been for the good. I have had to ask not will people think, but what does God say. In my digging, I came across Isaiah 46:19:

“”See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16(NIV)

What is God saying? Is it a metaphor or is He being literal? Does He, in fact, have a tatoo of sorts?

Barnes Notes on the Bible shares this insight on Isaiah 49:16:

The essential idea is, that Zion (the city in Israel that he is speaking of in this passage) was dear to his heart; and that he had sketched or delineated it as an object in which he felt a deep interest – so deep as even to delineate its outlines on the palms of his bands, where it would be constantly before him.

Thy walls – The meaning is, that he constantly looked upon them; that he never forgot them. He had a constant and sacred regard for his people, and amidst all their disasters and trials, still remembered them.

Exodus 13:9 also tells us: “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

Again…God speaks of having a sign on the body.

Years ago, I had a dear friend who had the Christian symbol of the fish tatooed on her foot. When I met her, she was not walking with the Lord. I can’t help but wonder how the Holy Spirit could use this each and every day as a reminder…as a way to remind her of who she really was.

I don’t know how you personally feel about tatoos, as they do seem to be a very personal issue. I am not by any means saying that tatoos are from God. I’m just giving something to think about and challenge us to consider a way of thinking that might be outside of what we have embraced in the past…

The winner from last Wednesday’s Wisdom post is Sheila McIllwain! Congratulations on winning Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Made to Crave for Young Women”.



  1. I have two grandchildren scripture tatoos. My first thought was:”Scripture! I love it.” I meant it then and now.

    However, pierced ears were big when we raised our duaghters. Looking back, I think,”What was the fight about.”

  2. iraida malpica says:

    when i was a lot younger, i myself wanted a tattoo, though, after reading some scrptures from leviticos, i had second thoughts..regarding marks on one’s body… which could be tattoos, earings holes, cutting,etc.i am guilty, i still wear earings…but sometimes i wonder…yes, you are rigth about those Bible verses, it might refer to that..imprint the Word in your hands and foreheads… though if so…i dont know anyone that has put tattoss in ther foreheads or palms of their hands with Bible verses….just my thought and opinion…thank you for sharing…btw, i might be wrong about the levitico verse

    1. I have tattoos. I do not regret them at all. I grew up in a home totally against it and taught it was against God. I married a man with tattoos and he always reminded my family and others that it says ” for the dead”
      I did not have tattoos until I turned 31.
      Now being a mother of 2 teenagers that both want tattoos. I still stand on not being against them. My daughter wants an anchor with Hebrews 6:19 written. She would love it if I get the same one as her. I will continue to pray.
      I thank you for writing this. It is a hard topic..

  3. Lately I have been thinking about what Paul : “All things are lawful to me but not all things ar beneficial. Not all things edify.” 1 Corinth 10:23. When I come up against choices that are unclear to me about whether it is right or wrong, I tend to ask myself what the benefits are and why I consider them to be benefits. This requires raw honesty and interspection. Is it self motivated/self building or kingdom motivated/building? Will it edify the message and the building of the kingdom of God? If not or if only “maybe”, Then why do I feel compelled to do it? (Not just on this subject but on many others as well.) I just don’t see the benefits. Aren’t there many other ways to memoralize or honor someone? Like carrying on things that they loved, telling stories of their charactor or displaying that charactor to the next generation? Many other ways to surround myself with scripture (like hiding it in my heart) and other ways to display Christ or to be an effective witness than putting symbols on my car, my wall, or even more permanent and painful, my arm (like having love for others in word and deed). I don’t know that tattoos or drinking occassionally or a whole host of other things are wrong, just not beneficial enough for me to want to do it.

  4. Tattoo My Vote iS No Lol HowevEr At One PoInt I
    Too Wanted One. My Kids Going Into Adolecent Ponder
    The Idea I Pray They Wont. I Seen Lots Of People
    Lately W So Much TatooeS In The Body I Just Hurt
    FoR Them. I Personally KNow Quiet Of Few W TatoOes
    In The Neck Why?Besides Painful Why? Now I Seen
    SoMe Cute Ones But Still I WoulD Have To Say No

    I am well I Also Read LaviticuS .MY Husband Has Some Got
    Them Before He Came Into A Relationship W Our Lord
    And Earings As Well As He Grew In The Lord Earings
    Came Off And ViewS Of Tattooed Also Change.

  5. Tattoos are so subjective. But what isn’t when it comes to our children! This is great to think about for any decision for our children, from piercing to clothes to hair styles. It’s a great way to challenge ourselves to look at the decision or opinion from a different perspective, to step outside of the box. I recently read one of Karen Ehman’s post about letting your kids dream. She talked about her own experience with her daughter that didn’t quite fit the mold and she wanted to make her fit in, but her husband talked her out of it and let their daughter express herself. You never know what wonderful things will happen when you let your children be who they are!

  6. I appreciate you sharing a different perspective on this topic. Your right that so much of our aversion to such things as tatoos is related to a sterotype from our own early years. Since we live under grace and not the law, we need to be sure we don’t create our own “laws” or judge other believers about what is or isn’t acceptable if there is no biblical basis, but each of us follow the leading of God’s spirit in our own lives.

  7. My daughter’s started with piercings and then when 18 they received tattoos which meant so much to them. People looked at them like they were dirt but once they opened their mouths and spoke in knoweldge about God it totally changed their opinions. I’m now 55 yrs old and I got my first and only tattoo at 48 yrs old and I prayed before I created it with crayons and leading of the Holy Spirit. I have many people and ALL ages ask me about the beautiful tattoo and I tell them my testimony: My husband had colon cancer and surgery in 2002 and 6 months later we learned he had cancer in his bone marrow, Multiple Myeloma and I’d be a widow in 18 months. Every 3 months we go into the oncologist to see if it was moving. It started and we prayed and it moved back to “smoldering” which sits there and we know one day it will move and then blow up all at once. In 2005 we learned my brother had a rare cancer and had only a couple years. In 2007 my husband was depressed and not feeling well. I said you’re the only one honey,. He said you will remarry. So my tatto had a blue butterfly for my new life in Christ Jesus, a red and white rose which is “unity” for my husband and I then our wedding date and a green vine heart around it all. So it it “life”, “love” and “joy”. The joy is I can see it as it’s on the inside lower part of my arm. Every time my husband sees it he smiles and I do too. God continues to amaze me in showing his love to others as my tattoo has opened doors to many non-christians and they felt accepted.

  8. This is a great way of seeing how the Father cares for His own! Oh to be enscribed in the Father’s hands…but really we are, through the nail scars of the cross! So thankful that He saved me. I got a tattoo when I was 33 (now 41). I wanted one for years but was always “chicken”. It is significant to me as it is a fish with bubbles—each bubble (3) has my children’s first initial of their name. My son’s first tattoo is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” My daughter as well just got a tattoo and it is an anchor the script says, “Anchor my soul in Christ alone”. The lyrics from one of her favorite songs. Both are great reminders for them regarding their faith. Thank you for this encouraging word of faith!

  9. What an interesting subject!
    To introduce myself, first and foremost, I will say that I am a Christian, a child of God, a believer that the bible is true and words breathed by God himself.
    I am an ordained Chaplain of the christian faith and I am a tattoo artist and owner of a tattoo studio. The Tattoo Studio is my mission field. I have studied this subject extensively and chose this profession only after much study and counseling.
    As far as Leviticus 19:28. God tells his people “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
    This happens to be the only verse in the entire bible that directly refers to tattooing. So, you should look at the context of the chapter, rather than ‘hunting and pecking’ a specific verse to use for a point.
    God was speaking to his people who were being purified to enter the land that he was giving them. They were going forth and taking over the lands of pagan peoples. God was setting them up to guard against their sinful desires and tendencies to do as the pagans did.
    Some of the rituals used to worship pagan Gods included the tattooing of the image of that God on the body for worship and commitment.
    If you read the rest of the chapter, God also tells them not to eat red meat, cut the hair at the temples or cut the sides of their beard, along with practicing magic, rules for planting, ect.
    I learned that the bible will never contradict itself, but you must study more than just one verse in the bible to find out what it is really saying.
    During my decision making, one of my professors said something I will always remember. “Whenever you are doing something, just picture Jesus sitting right next to you. Look at his face,,, is he smiling or frowning at what you are doing?!”
    I have always expressed high values relating to my tattoos. I will not do tattoos that are satanic or sexually explicit. I use my profession as an opportunity to reach out to those who need to know Christ.

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