Monday, March 5, 2012

Bible Tattoos

I have to admit, I am fascinated by tattoos. I don't have one, and don't want one. I am too old and too skinny to have a tattoo that would look good. Plus, I don't want anything that permanent. But, I am intrigued by others that have tattoos, especially one category of tatts--- Bible verses.

I also like to watch mixed martial arts. One of the best young stars is the 24 year old light heavy weight champion, Jon "Bones" Jones. This guy is the real deal. He has the entire range of skill sets necessary to be the champion he is. He can box, jiu jitsu, muay thai, wrestling, he is quick, and athletic. He is one of the youngest champions ever. He also claims to be a Christian. It is hard to judge someone just from watching on television, but from what I've seen and read, he seems to be genuine in his faith.

He also has a tattoo. In a flowing script, across the right portion of his chest is tattooed "Philippians 4:13".

When you look up the Bible reference it reads, "I can do all things through Him (Christ) who gives me strength."

Let's evaluate that verse in it's context. Paul is writing to the Philippian believers. In chapter 4 Paul acknowledges that the Philippian believers had expressed concern about Paul's physical needs. The Philippians had entered into a partnership with Paul as he went about his missionary journeys for the sake of the gospel. Paul is glad that they have expressed this concern about his financial well being. But, Paul also wants them to understand that there are more important things than finances. Paul goes on to say how he has learned the secret of being content in Christ. He is satisfied with Jesus, whether he has an abundance of provision, or whether he does not have an abundance. It is in this context that Paul writes verse 13, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." So, the application of this verse is in the context of contentment. Paul is saying that he can be content in Christ no matter the situation because the Lord is always His strength.

Jon "Bones" Jones is not reflecting that context on his tattoo. Jones seems to be advocating, "I can do all things...I can fight and win and beat all of my opponents because of Jesus in my life." Wait a second...maybe my analysis is wrong. Maybe that is exactly what Paul was thinking when he wrote that verse. Maybe Paul had been schooled in mixed martial arts and was touring the world taking on all comers. Maybe Paul did write that verse because when he faces a fight Jesus helps him win. No, no--that's no it at all.

It makes me laugh!! Jon Jones has a permanent tattoo on his chest that doesn't mean what he thinks it does. Admittedly, I am making an assumption about Jones here. Maybe he does understand the context and the tattoo is his reflection on being content in Christ, but I don't think so. I am making a guess that he thinks it relates to his fighting. It's like he has a permanent statement saying, "I'm stupid and don't really know what the Bible says -- but I still love Jesus." I don't mean that in a mean spirited way, it's just funny. I applaud Jon for trying to live out his faith and honor the Lord. I wish him the best. I am a fan of his, and root for him to win. I just think that after his jiu jitsu lesson, he needs some lessons in how to read and study the Bible. By the way, he is not the only one who gets Philippians 4:13 wrong.

The lesson -- if you are going to put a permanent tattoo on your body, and it's a bible verse, please make sure you get the context and meaning right. If not, send me a pic, I like a good laugh.