Spiritual circumcision (Rom 2:29)


A person

Is a Jew,

Who is one inwardly.


Is a matter of the heart,


And not literal.

Such a person

Receives praise

Not from others,

But from God.”

ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Paul said that a person is a Jew (Ἰουδαῖος), who is one inwardly (ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Circumcision (καὶ περιτομὴ) is a matter of the heart (καρδίας), spiritual (ἐν πνεύματι), and not literal (οὐ γράμματι).  Such a person receives praise (οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος) not from other men (οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), but from God (ἀλλ ’ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Paul indicated that a true Jewish person was inwardly Jewish, because the circumcision of the heart was spiritual not merely literal.  The Jewish people should not seek praise from other men, but from God.  The Jews were privileged to have circumcision, but that assumed a circumcision that comes from the heart, not the mere fact of having the foreskin of the penis removed.  Only God would judge or praise them for what they have done.  It doesn’t matter what other humans think about this.  Paul was following the Jewish tradition of Jeremiah, chapter 4:4, where they were to circumcise themselves to Yahweh by removing the foreskins on their hearts, and chapter 9:25-26, where the harshest treatment is for the house of Israel that is uncircumcised in the heart.  Ezekiel, chapter 44:7, had Yahweh say that you admitted foreigners, the uncircumcised in heart, the uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary.  Thus, Paul continued the Israelite prophetic line about uncircumcised of the heart.  Do you have a circumcised heart?

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