I've had this conversation with a dear friend who, just like me, thinks a classy person won't deliberately scratch him/herself, like would you deliberately scratch a bentley? He however was of the opinion that the verse only applies to pagan funeral rites. Now dear T, I put it to you that the verse doesn't say "Do not cut your bodies or mark your skin with tattoos for the dead". It says "Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos". Two different scenarios just into a sentence with the word "and". "Do not go to Ire's house and do not wear that dress", does this mean that you should never wear that dress or you can wear it anywhere else besides Ire's house?
An excuse is that it was in the OT, we're no longer under law but under grace. We quickly forget Matthew 5:17 "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose." The only things I think have changed are our direct access to God, not having to offer burnt sacrifices - it's living sacrifices now,... An example, Leviticus 19:29 "You are not to defile your daughter by engaging her in prostitution so the land won't become filled with wickedness". So, can we prostitute our daughters now because we're under grace and not under law?
Another excuse is "Leviticus 19:27 asks guys not to get a haircut or trim their hair, therefore haircut = tattoo = harmless". International Standard Version puts the verse this way "You are not to cut your hair in ritualistic patterns on your head or deface the edges of your beard." The haircut here is a pagan ritual = the idolatry God frowns again. Here is how Matthew Henry's and Coffman's Commentaries reflect on the "forbidden haircut".
"Those that worshipped the hosts of heaven, in honour of them, cut their hair so as that their heads might resemble the celestial globe; but, as the custom was foolish itself, so, being done with respect to their false gods, it was idolatrous." (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Leviticus 19:27)
"Herodotus tells of the use of this type of haircut, forming what is called a tonsure, as the practice of pagan religious cults of ancient times who did so honoring one of their gods."(Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, Leviticus 19:27)Lastly, I think our personal convictions matter. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. If after reading 1Cor 6:9 you decide to go ahead and get a tattoo (or an incision), you should take some painkiller before heading to the saloon. Thanks for reading. I love you.
*OT = Old Testament
"Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD" Leviticus 19:28
"You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don't you? You do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought for a price. Therefore, glorify God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19
"Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." Romans 6:14
|Tattoo of his late son's heartbeat|