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Scripture mentions nose and ear piercing, but is other body piercing okay?

In general, the Old Testament prohibitions against cutting or piercing the body as in Lev. 19:26-31 were prohibitions that related to pagan religious customs which were to be avoided, including pagan mourning rites (vv. 27-28), cultic prostitution (v. 29, in contrast with proper worship of the LORD, v. 30), and necromancy (v. 31). Cutting oneself was forbidden by the Law (Deut. 14:1) because of its pagan associations (cf. 1 Kings 18:28). On shaving one’s head see comments on Job 1:20.

Such practices as body piercing are often done because of an emphasis on the outer person. It usually involves an ostentatious display to call attention to one’s self, rather than on the inner or spiritual person which is of greater value to God. For the Christian, the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for accordingly. Thus, anything that might harm the body would be wrong and this would apply to many things including how we eat or how we take care of ourselves, etc.

Finally, sometimes piercing or cutting the body are done as a part of a religious works system in an attempt to make one more holy. Such is futile and does not make one any closer to God. It is part of that broad way that leads to destruction. Salvation and true spirituality is found only through faith in the person and work of Christ.

Related Topics: Cultural Issues

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