Bible Studies/ear peircing

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QUESTION: I think a lot about getting my ears pierced. I think pierced ears are so pretty. But I wonder about 1st Chorinthians 6:19.

What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? Because you are putting holes in the Lords body. The same goes for tattoos ect.
Maybe I am misunderstanding what it means? Because if it is wrong, I won't do it.

ANSWER: Hi Joyce! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. The weather is nice here in southeastern Pennsylvania--perfect for yard work or a nice walk!

Matters such as ear piercing, other types of piercing, and tattoos are a little tricky. It's natural to read I Corinthians 6:19 and other passages and wonder how they might apply to the situation.

Romans 14 is an excellent passage dealing with the topic of "Christian liberties." It helps to guide the Christian regarding decisions involving matters that may not be clearly outlined in Scriptures by considering how those actions might impact others.

Matters such as ear piercing and the like are not specifically forbidden in the Bible. Yes, there are strict laws laid out in the Old Testament that applied to dress, fashion, and other customs that were designed specifically for the nation of Israel at that time. So we cannot go to those passages and find a hard and fast rule for today.

So what are some of the guiding principles? According to Romans 14, Paul makes it clear that, in certain matters, Christians have the freedom to make choices that they feel are appropriate, do not violate Scripture, and do not violate their consciences. It's also important to balance that freedom with the potential impact it may have on others.

For example, what impression will this make on others? Could it affect my testimony for Christ? Could it cause a Christian brother or sister to violate his conscience and make a poor or unhealthy choice?

Ear piercing (and the like) is a culturally-mandated issue. It falls into the category of what sociologists call mores (pronounced MOR-AYS). A more is something that is neither right or wrong but is considered "acceptable" or "unacceptable" by a particular society or culture.

There was a time when ear piercing was considered a bit extreme ... say back in the 50's or 60's. As with many such customs, when it's new, society tends to resist it, and only the "daring" or "extreme" buy into it. However, over time, it can become commonplace and acceptable to most, with perhaps only a very small minority having any issues with it.

Nowadays, at least in our area (which is a pretty conservative area), ear piercing is pretty much commonly accepted. Very few would look down on anyone who chose to pierce her ears. And even those would take such a position out of extreme caution or even legalism in an attempt to take the moral high ground. (Note what Paul says in Romans 14 about passing such judgment on a brother in such areas of Christian liberty.)

This is something you would have to decide for yourself. I can tell you that my wife, mother, and sister all have pierced ears, and it doesn't concern me whatsoever. Further, I don't know of anyone who has an issue with it.

I hope that helps.

Scott

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: ok. that helps. But what exactly is this verse talking about then?

Answer
What this verse means (I Cor. 6:19) is that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit--God Himself--lives inside of us believers. How we treat our bodies is a matter of stewardship. Not only do we belong to God, but our bodies do, too. And the way we appear on the outside reflects our testimony to others. It is a way we "show God" to others. And it's just as much about our actions as it is our appearance.

So, by way of application, we should care for the health, well-being, and appearance of our bodies and consider how we might reflect God to others. We should be responsible and not careless.

When working through this issue, we should consider what others think. But Romans 14 also balances this with a warning against unnecessary judgment from others who simply wish to legislate with man-made rules and guidelines. We can never fully prevent judgment or condemnation from others who have their own set of rules. But we should always consider the impact (not just attitudes or feelings) our decisions may have on others.

Scott

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Scott Talbot

Expertise

I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.

Experience

By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Organizations
Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Education/Credentials
Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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