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But aren’t tattoos forbidden in the Bible?
In the Hebrew Scriptures, God established a covenant with Abraham (circumcision) and with his descendants after delivering them from Egypt. The Hebrews were in slavery for over 400 years, so it’s safe to assume that they didn’t have any idea how to govern themselves (see the golden calf fiasco). So after establishing the basic moral law of the 10 Commandments, God established Levitical law, which served as a system of government for His newly-emancipated people.
The Old Covenant, however, was never meant to last forever – and not because the Law is too harsh. High standards are the point: The first purpose of the Law is to convict us of sin. The second purpose is to make us despair of saving ourselves, driving us to Christ. The third use of the law is a guide for Christian living. The Christian does not follow the Law because of the threat of hell, but rather out of the joy of salvation and love for Christ.
Similarly, the Levitical law was for Levitical rule. The moral law transcends time and culture.
The New Covenant is not only a Christian idea, but a Jewish one as well. Hundreds of years before Christ, Jeremiah prophesied: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 31:31-34)
The New Testament author of Hebrews interprets this passage, saying, “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ [Jesus] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Heb. 8:13)
Hebrews illustrates that the Old Covenant “is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” (Heb. 10:1)
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt. 5:17)
He explains the basic reasoning behind every biblical law: ““Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40)
Elaborating on this, Paul writes in Romans, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
If you feel that getting a tattoo violates your relationship with God, violates your faith, then it would be unloving for you to get a tattoo. It would violate the greatest commandment.
If getting a tattoo would grieve your parents, then it would be unloving for you to get a tattoo. It would violate the command to love others, particularly honoring your parents.
If tattoos are accepted in your culture, if the tattoo glorifies God/does not affiliate you with paganism, and if you don’t feel that getting a tattoo is a violation of your faith, then I say go for it.