Bible verses are a common inspiration for tattoo designs. In spite of a lot of people contesting its credibility, there is no doubting the power of a Bible verse. People from different races and walks of life have attested to the power of the Bible not giving them power per se, but reminding them of their own power to make their lives better. Here, you can explore more about the reasons as to why people tattoo Bible verses on themselves, whether it is a sin for Christians, and the 15 most popular verses people use.
Why Bible Verses?
There are a lot of reasons why people would want a Bible verse as a tattoo. Here are a few:
There is no scientific data showing that the Bible is powerful. If there are, the studies conducted are not conclusive nor are they devoid of bias. However, those who believe in God and those who have faith in their beliefs adhere to how powerful a single Bible verse can be. Depending on the person, different feelings of power can be felt.
For some, Bible verses serve as a nudge in the right direction. To others, it can be as strong as an eye-opener to a change in lifestyle. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, a lot of people can attest to how a Bible verse (and a constant reminder of the said verse) has helped them change their lives.
Maybe the Old Testament isn’t inspiring. In fact, there were a lot of deaths and punishments going on here and there. But if there is a section in the Bible that has inspired a lot of people, it would be the coming of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament was able to connect God with a lot of human beings. It is said that Jesus was born to bridge the widening gap between God and His creation. Well, you can say that Jesus did a great job at it. The New Testament allowed people to understand God through Jesus Christ. The stories of Jesus inspired many and it is with his actions and words that people have come to consider getting a tattoo of some of Jesus’ sayings.
It keeps people grounded.
A lot of people can easily lose their way. It’s only part of being human. So in order to keep people grounded, some have tattooed a Bible verse that will help them remember to get back on track. Yes, a sticky note or a phone wallpaper is helpful, but a tattoo is like a mantra that you have put to heart with more commitment and depth as compared to putting a Bible verse wallpaper on your phone.
There are a lot of verses to choose from.
Another reason why people choose Bible verses is simply that there are a lot of verses to choose from. From The Book of Genesis to The Book Of Revelations, you can find hundreds of quotable quotes that will speak to you on any occasion. Some people even randomly open the Bible to look at a random verse that might speak to them. And in doing so, there are some who have found mantras for themselves.
Lastly, there are a lot of faith stories where people talk about how going back to God has saved their lives. These stories can always be told and retold or even published. However, a very personal thing you can do is to literally mark those faith stories on your body to remind you of how far you’ve gone and the power of your faith.
A tattoo can do exactly that. Aside from serving as a guide, it can be a reminder of how your faith has saved you or how a single Bible verse has turned your life around.
Most Popular Bible Verses
You are well aware that in spite of Bibles being written in plain English, there is a lot of misinterpretation that goes on in it. There is a lot of historical contexts that need to be considered in order for you to understand what the verse is saying. To add to that, you should be aware that the Bible should not be taken literally. So before you put ink on your skin, make sure that you understand the verse you want to put. Here are the most famous Bible verses that might inspire you.
- Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through God who strengthens me.”
- Psalm 139:14
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
- Hebrews 11:1
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
- Mark 10:9
“What God has joined together, let man not separate.”
- Jeremiah 29:11
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
- Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
- John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- Proverbs 3:5
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
- Genesis 3:18
“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
- Psalm 40:2
“He heard my prayers and brought me out of the pit of misery, He set my feet upon a rock and directed my steps.”
- Romans 5:8
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Proverbs 31:25
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.”
- Luke 6:35
“But love your enemies and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
- Ephesians 3:17
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and grounded in love”
Other Tattoo Inspirations Aside From Bible Verses
If you aren’t keen on writing the actual Bible verses, then don’t worry, there are a lot of ways to show your spirituality. Here are a few ideas:
- The Cross
Aside from Bible Verses, the cross is one of the most common tattoo designs you will ever encounter. There are many ways to design a cross, but a lot of people also like its simplicity. The cross is known as the symbol for Jesus’ sacrifice to save humans from their sin.
There is also a portion of the Bible where it talks about the cross being a symbol of other people’s sins and worries. If you want a representation of your struggles, then you can get yourself a tattoo of a cross.
- A Dove
A dove has many meanings, but its religious meaning is hope and new beginnings. In the story of Noah’s Ark, a dove was sent to check for life, and it returned to have an olive branch in its beak. This was a sign of life and a new beginning.
A dove is a great way for you to show that you have had a new beginning in your life. Whether it is of a medical or mental background, a dove is a great way to show your freedom from your past and that you have taken the leap to start a new life.
- The Rosary
The rosary is another religious symbol, especially for Catholics. The rosary is used by many as a sign of asking for protection from God and warding off evil spirits. If you have a Catholic background, you will notice people praying the rosary in times of struggle and fear. Moreover, the form of the rosary can symbolize never-ending love and faith with God.
- Latin Quotes
Latin quotes are famous not simply because it reminds people of a dead language, but Latin also has a rich history in its own. If Bible verses in English sound mainstream to you, then you can get your favorite Bible verse and translate it to Latin. Remember to get an expert to translate it for you though, because Google Translate can be faulty.
- A Tree
Trees are important religious symbols in Christianity. If you will notice, the world started with an image of a tree and that at the end of it all, there is also a tree. Trees marked important events in the Bible and a tree was used in Jesus’ cross. Hence, trees symbolize eternal life and God’s love of the world. The Bible verse Jeremiah 17:8 best explains the meaning of trees:
“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
- Scenes from the Bible
Instead of words and symbols, you can also take inspiration from scenes in the Bible. Famous scenes to use as tattoos are The Resurrection of Jesus, Adam and Eve, the birth of Jesus, the Last Supper, Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
- Hands Joined in Prayer
Lastly, you can also use any symbol that reminds you to pray. Usually, this is depicted by two hands in a praying position. Although this does not tell you of a specific Bible verse, it is a good reminder that the best way to communicate with God is through prayer. For some people, prayer is the most powerful way of showing how much they love God. If this feels the same for you, then a praying tattoo would be a great idea.
If You Are a Christian, Is It A Sin To Get A Tattoo?
This issue has always been talked about but never solved. The Bible says something about making marks on your body as Leviticus 19:28 points out; however, there is a lot of contention to its validity and its literal translation. It is also frowned upon to translate the Bible into your own moral compass, but before getting a tattoo you should consider the following points:
Roughly translated in many versions, it says, “you shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Older versions do not even have the word “tattoo” in it which makes it debatable. People claim that other Bibles explicitly say that tattoos are forbidden; however, tattoos were not mentioned in any of the older versions. You can think about it as marks and inks in the body were coined as “tattoos” to conform to modern activities.
Your reason for getting a tattoo
More than the actual tattoo, the reason for getting it is also very important. Why do you want to get a tattoo? Is it because it is very popular these days? Or is it because you want to commit to something that will remind you of your faith? If your reason revolves around the latter, then as a Christian, getting a tattoo is not a sin.
How it will look on your body
Lastly, consider how the tattoo will look. As a Christian, the body is God’s temple and that your body is not your own – it is only a gift. So, if you think that a tattoo will look bad on your body, then you should be discouraged from doing so. It is up to your discretion and taste to say if a tattoo will make your body look like it is not being taken care of in God’s name.
Common Tattoo Placements For Your Chosen Bible Verse
So finally you have decided to get a tattoo. Where you put it now? Here are a few suggestions:
The arm is a common place for your Bible tattoo. It has enough space to put a whole Bible verse, and you can also use your forearm to put a Bible scene on it. Some people prefer putting bigger tattoos in this area to make it proportionate to the size of their arm.
The wrist is a great place to put smaller tattoos. A Bible verse will not fit in this area unless it’s just a phrase. However, you can put the Bible citation instead. A Bible citation is the actual name and number of the Bible verse you want. For some, a Bible citation looks better because it is not as explicit. It also attracts more curiosity and attention (and a lot of bragging rights if you’ve memorized the actual Bible verse).
The Ankle is another area where you can put other Bible tattoos and verses of your choice. Since the actual ankle area is small, what people do is extend the area to the side of their foot. If it’s a Bible verse, the quote starts from the ankle up to the little toe. For smaller religious tattoos, they are better when they are of a solid black ink right at the middle of your ankle.
Below the collarbone
There is a lot of space below the collarbone and people make use of this area for putting Bible verses. It is better to maximize the space by putting a whole line of the bible verse. For those who want a subtler appearance, a Bible verse is replaced by other more compact religious symbols. You can also put a flock of doves in this area.
Lastly, the back of your shoulder is a great place for Bible verse tattoos. It is wide enough to put a few lines on it and at the same time, the area is flat no matter what your size so the visual effect of the tattoo does not change over time.
In the end, it is important to know why you are getting a tattoo. As a Christian, there is no one answer telling you if it’s a sin to get a tattoo or not. Nonetheless, a lot of people have used tattoos as ways to express their faith and their love of God. If you plan on getting a Bible verse, make sure that this verse resonates with you and that its meaning is not lost whenever you put it into ink.