stamp thine own image, deep on my back

Last week at church I was asked how to spell “Jesus is my Savior” in Greek for a young person who wanted an exceedingly cool, Christian tattoo.  The Greek letters wouldn’t translate from MS Word to this blog, so if you’re interested in spelling this tattoo correctly you’ll have to email me directly.  

I verified the spelling with Gary Meadors, who said that because he hangs out with bluegrass “artists” this is not the first time he’s been asked to compose a spiritual tattoo. Gary is retiring after this year and taking his talents to South Beach, but before he goes he has started his own blog. Please visit and tell him to post something–anything.

A few reflections on the “Jesus is my Savior” tattoo:

1. My education is finally beginning to pay off. Is anything more recession proof than Christian body art?

2. I’m thankful that the fads in my youth were not permanent. We had mullets, perms, and jams, but nothing that we couldn’t easily cut off or throw away.

3. Are Christian tattoos softening up the saints to receive the mark of the beast? Sorry, that one slipped in from Jack Van Impe.

4. Depending on how the epidermis on this young person ages, by the time she is 85 her tattoo might read “Jesse is my salad.”

5. That might hurt her chances when she stands before Jesus and answers the question He learned from Evangelism Explosion: Why should I let you into heaven? She’ll turn around and say, “See what it says right there? Oh, never mind.”

6. I agree with the parents of this young lady who, although they are not too excited about her inking her back, nevertheless appreciate her heart that led her to want to do this. I hope that she will always trust Jesus as her Savior, even if her tattoo eventually stretches and fades into something else.






9 responses to “stamp thine own image, deep on my back”

  1. I have some ink myself, and this was not the reason why. But I have heard it suggested that the increasing prevalence of tattooing in my generation is reaching for something permanent, some sort of commitment even, in a world that seems quite unreliable and transitory.

  2. This is completely irrelevant to your post, but I thought you might find this interesting if you haven’t seen it already.

  3. mikewittmer


    That’s an interesting point. I do remember that my generation had perhaps an even stronger sense of transitoriness, for we thought the Russians might nuke us at any time. Maybe we just gave up and didn’t try for anything permanent.


    Thanks for the link. I don’t know why we continue to give him a platform. I like how Scot began to push back at the end, but that was too little too late.

  4. Years ago when my daughter was still in high school, asked me to provide her with a design using the Greek word for “forgiven” because she wanted to always remember that she is forgiven by Christ. She still sports this small tattoo on her upper, rear, left shoulder “ἀφέωνται”

  5. John Lemke

    I’ve been asked to find a couple Hebrew words, too, by some of our college students.

    No one knows Hebrew, so I just make stuff up.

  6. John Lemke

    (For clarity, and before someone reports me to Dr. Lawlor – the second sentence of that last comment is a joke.)

  7. Rob

    At the risk of being seen as totally uncool, I have to admit that I don’t understand this fascination with tattoos. From my youth, I remember my uncle returning home from the navy with a tattoo of an anchor on his forearm. It reminded me of Popeye, but for some reason the other image that stuck was of cattle branding. Even back then, I remember wondering why he would want that on his arm “forever.”

    Today it seems almost everyone has some form of body art, visible or not. While the “art” of tattooing has developed, I’ve never found it an attractive accessory on anybody. There’s even a show on The Discovery Channel – LA Ink – that glorifies the business and adornment of tattoos. Athletes have so many “tats”, I’m surprised someone hasn’t decided to sell space on his body like a billboard. Does LeBron have the Nike swoosh among the gazillion tats on his body?

    Biblically, I interpret 1 Cor. 6:19-20 as saying that we should not defile our body since it is also God’s holy temple. Can you imagine graffiti painted on Solomon’s temple? Colossians 3:17 says all our actions are to represent Christ. Would Jesus have defaced his body with tattoos? A fish on one forearm … a lamb on the other? Maybe a big cross on his back?

    For my money, the best tattoo is the one you get at the county fair. It washes off tomorrow.

  8. Come on John, own your assertion.

    Rob, I wouldn’t bring up 1 Cor 6 with a young lady…the context is about sex.

    Gees…McKnight and McWhatshisname dress the same!! Was that planned? Two more of those and you have a dressed up bluegrass band.

    I think the google ad here on Wittmer’s blog is about buying a theology degree without going to a campus is fitting.

    If I would have been 18 when I was in San Diego in the Navy in 19__, I would have a real good pagan tatoo. Just think, that might have led me into evangelism instead of teaching.

    If I actually have to do a blog, I certainly will not start the semester sober.

  9. Rob

    Gary – You’re not alone. I certainly don’t plan to start the semester sober either.

    How much does that theology degree cost? Maybe I’ll buy it with my M.Div scholarship money 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: