Does Scripture Ban Piercings?

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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“Is there Scripture that bans earrings and other body piercings for Christians?”

Earrings for women are often seen in a favorable light in Scripture (Gen. 24:22; Ex. 35:22; Num. 31:50; Pr. 25:12; Ezek. 16:12). The men in Israel also wore them (Ex. 32:2; 35:22), although that may or may not have been because earrings were associated with slavery (Ex. 21:6), and they had just escaped from slavery in Egypt. Either way, they are certainly not associated with slavery today.

Judges 8:24 talks about some men who “had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites,” and so we see that such ornaments on men were at one time associated with people other than God’s people in Israel, just as they were once associated with pirates in more modern times. This suggests that male earrings might have an associative significance that changes with the times, and this is something that should be taken into consideration for any man contemplating them in our own day.

The Bible doesn’t mention other piercings, other than when God was displeased with the people of Israel and vowed to “take away…their… nose jewels” (Isa. 3:18-21). But this was because He wanted them to mourn and not rejoice. If we say that He vowed to take away their nose jewels because they are wrong in and of themselves, we’d have to argue that “bracelets” and “bonnets” and “headbands” and “rings” are also wrong, for God vowed to strip them of these ornaments as well in that passage.

So the question of body piercings under grace seems to come down to a matter of personal conviction, and in such cases the apostle of grace advises us to be gracious, not judgmental (Rom. 14:3).

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