Decorating or modifying the body is not new. In certain parts of Africa, ritual scarification and tattooing have been used for centuries to identify specific family groups or tribes. Interestingly, in many of these lands, such practices are now viewed with disfavor and are on the decline.
Tattooing, piercing, and cutting existed in Bible times. They were most often practiced by pagan nations in connection with their religion. Understandably, Jehovah forbade his people, the Jews, to imitate those pagans. (Leviticus 19:28) As God’s own “special property,” the Jews were thus protected from degrading false religious practices.—Deuteronomy 14:2.
No, not a sin.
Whether or not an individual decides to accept these risks is a personal decision. But one who seeks to please God recognizes that becoming a Christian involves the offering of oneself to God. Our bodies are living sacrifices presented to God for his use. (Romans 12:1) Hence, mature Christians do not view their bodies as their exclusive property to be damaged or defaced at will. Especially those who qualify to take the lead in the congregation are known for their moderate habits, soundness of mind, and reasonableness.—1 Timothy 3:2, 3.
Developing and exercising the Bible-trained power of reason will help Christians avoid the extreme, masochistic practices of this world, which is so hopelessly “alienated from the life that belongs to God.” (Ephesians 4:18)