I met a gentleman who had given in to peer pressure as a teen and had a rather large tattoo. Years later he discovered his liver failure could be tracked to that tattooing. A professional shop, meeting state regulations, and still his health was destroyed, his wife and daughter impacted as the family adjusted to his medical care.
If that worst case scenario doesn’t happen, does it mean a tattoo is appropriate? Although socially acceptable in many circles, such acceptance does not change what the Bible says.
b'tzelem Elokim. In the image of God. The phrase was included in a discussion of Jewish interpretation of the following verse:
Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28 KJV)
The first part of the verse speaks of those who cut themselves while grieving. The middle is interpreted to include tattooing.
Often it is young people who wish to be tattooed against their parents’ wishes, thus breaking the one Commandment with a promise.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12 KJV)
The greater reasoning, that our bodies are a gift from God, is both Jewish and Christian, as Paul wrote:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV)
Nor do I see it fitting into any of the following:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
And, if the above is insufficient for a young person contemplating marking their bodies permanently, consider how impermanent things really are. Skin, the largest organ of our bodies, changes over the years, responding most to gravity.
Another consideration would be, to whom would you NOT show the tattoo? Do you respect that person? Do you wish their respect? Will obtaining a tattoo gain their respect? Move a step further. How would you explain your choice to God as glorifying Him.
You remember Him, the one who said:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: (Genesis 1:26a KJV)