Circumcision (1 Cor. 7:18)

“Was any one

At the time of his call

Already circumcised?

Let him not seek

To remove

The marks of circumcision.

Was any one

At the time of his call

Uncircumcised?

Let him not seek circumcision.”

περιτετμημένος τις ἐκλήθη; μὴ ἐπισπάσθω· ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ κέκληταί τις; μὴ περιτεμνέσθω.

Paul then asked, “Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised (περιτετμημένος τις ἐκλήθη)?  Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision (μὴ ἐπισπάσθω).  Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised (ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ κέκληταί τις)?  Let him not seek circumcision (μὴ περιτεμνέσθω).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπισπάσθω, draw over, become as uncircumcised, and the word ἀκροβυστίᾳ, that means the prepuce, foreskin, or uncircumcision.  Paul made a big deal about circumcision because of the Jewish tradition and the importance of circumcision as a sign of God’s chosen ones.  Due to Corinthian public baths and playing games in the nude, circumcision or non-circumcision would be known to other people.  Paul said that if they were circumcised when they got the call to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then they should not try to undo their circumcision, which would be difficult anyway.  However, at the same time, he pointed out that those who got the call to follow Jesus Christ who were not circumcised, did not need to be circumcised.  Basically, he was saying that the Jewish Christians should remain circumcised, but that the gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised, because circumcision had nothing to do with Christian faith or belief.  Do you care about circumcision?

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