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What about jewelry and piercings?

Submitted: 1/3/2008
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Question: Are there any verses in the Bible that talk about not wearing jewelry or piercings? Please explain Leviticus 19:28. I know that it's referring to tatoos, but is this referring to piercings also? And what does 'for the dead' mean in the scripture?

Answer: The Bible admonishes believers not to adorn themselves with gold ornaments and costly clothing on the basis that external ornamentation obscures the holy glow of the internal qualities produced by the Holy Spirit. Believers do not need to wear jewels, we are jewels. See 1 Peter 3:1-5, 1 Timothy 2:8-15, and Malachi 3:17.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary explains Leviticus 19:28 this way: 'The practice of making deep gashes on the face and arms and legs, in time of bereavement, was universal among the pagan, and it was deemed a becoming mark of respect for the dead, as well as a sort of propitiatory offering to the deities who presided over death and the grave. The Jews learned this custom in Egypt; and, though weaned from it, relapsed in a later and degenerate age into this old superstition (Deuteronomy 14:1; Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 16:6; 41:5; 47:5). Nor print any marks upon you - by tatooing; imprinting figures of flowers, leaves, stars, and other fanciful devices on various parts of their person. The impression was made sometimes by means of a hot iron, sometimes by ink or paint, as is done by the Arab females of the present day and different catses of the Hindus. It is probable, from the association of Leviticus 19:29, that a strong propensity to adopt such marks in honour of some idol gave occasion to the prohibition in this verse; and they were wisely forbidden, for they were signs of apostasy, and, when once made, were insuperable obstacles to a return.'