Thursday, July 25, 2013

Does Jesus Have a Tattoo? - Interpreting the Bible

"And Jesus is going to come back riding a white horse, and with a tattoo on his thigh!"....

Jesus...with a tattoo? Chapel at my daughter's school started out simply enough. I love the Chaplin there, who is a wonderful teacher and the kids hang on her every word. But Jesus with a tattoo?  I'd never heard such a thing. I leaned in to the mom next to me, "Did you ever hear that Jesus had a tattoo before?" She hadn't.

Upon coming home I began my research, when I found the verse the Chaplin was interpreting: Revelations 19:16:

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  king of kings and lord of lords.

When Jesus returns he will have "king of kings and lord of lords" written on his thigh. How will it be written? It could be a tattoo. If could be a mark similar to a birthmark. For all I know, it could be written in Sharpie. The fact is, it's Jesus. There are lots of ways it could be "written", but the Chaplin shared her interpretation, that the writing would be a tattoo.  And I'm not disputing that fact.

But likewise on the same verse, I could say that Jesus is going to return wearing a monogrammed robe. Because really, if your name or mine were written on our robe, it would be monogrammed, right? So I could interpret that Jesus is going to wear a monogrammed robe. But that isn't what the scripture says. It says his name will be written on it.

There are lots of ways that we can "re-word" scripture to make it more understandable to us.  But we must exhibit care not to over reach. 

Whether Jesus has a tattoo or not, I don't know. Isaiah 49:16 has been translated several ways; having our name engraved, inscribed, written and graven in God's palm. Yet, I have heard some folks interpret it to mean God has our names tattooed in his hand.

Some people are strongly against "The Message" Bible, because it is paraphrased, not a word by word or thought by thought translation. Still others will only read from the King James.

I don't know the answers. Does it matter whether Jesus or God have a tattoo? Does it matter if we read a paraphrase? Does it matter how we interpret, as long as we believe Jesus IS the king of kings, and lord or lords?  I don't know. I just pray that God leads me the way he wants me to go. And that when I get the details wrong, not from lack of trying, that he will forgive me and help me find the answers on the things that matter.

What do you think?

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at

Chatty Kelly

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