Galatians 5:11
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

New Living Translation
Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised--as some say I do--why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.

English Standard Version
But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.

Berean Study Bible
Now, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

Berean Literal Bible
Now, brothers, if I still proclaim circumcision, why still am I persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

New American Standard Bible
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.

King James Bible
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

International Standard Version
As for me, brothers, if I am still preaching the necessity of circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.

NET Bible
Now, brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.

New Heart English Bible
But I, brothers, if I still proclaim circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But if I still preach circumcision, my brethren, why am I persecuted? Has the stumbling block of the crucifixion been eliminated?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching that circumcision is necessary, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the cross wouldn't be offensive anymore.

New American Standard 1977
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross {Gr. stauros – stake} ceased.

King James 2000 Bible
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.

American King James Version
And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.

American Standard Version
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the scandal of the cross made void.

Darby Bible Translation
But I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why am I yet persecuted? Then the scandal of the cross has been done away.

English Revised Version
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumblingblock of the cross been done away.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then hath the offense of the cross ceased.

Weymouth New Testament
As for me, brethren, if I am still a preacher of circumcision, how is it that I am still suffering persecution? In that case the Cross has ceased to be a stumbling-block!

World English Bible
But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.

Young's Literal Translation
And I, brethren, if uncircumcision I yet preach, why yet am I persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away;
Study Bible
Freedom in Christ
10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is troubling you will bear the judgment, whoever he may be. 11Now, brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those who are agitating you, I wish they would proceed to emasculate themselves!…
Cross References
Romans 9:33
as it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame."

1 Corinthians 1:23
but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

Galatians 3:1
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

Galatians 4:29
At that time, however, the son born by the flesh persecuted the son born by the Spirit. It is the same now.

Galatians 6:12
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. They only do this to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ.

1 Peter 2:8
and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the message--and to this they were appointed.
Treasury of Scripture

And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.

if.

Galatians 2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled …

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised …

why.

Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that …

Galatians 6:12,17 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain …

Acts 21:21,28 And they are informed of you, that you teach all the Jews which are …

Acts 22:21,22 And he said to me, Depart: for I will send you far hence to the Gentiles…

Acts 23:13,14 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy…

1 Corinthians 15:30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

2 Corinthians 11:23-26 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors …

the offence.

Isaiah 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and …

Romans 9:32,33 Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works …

1 Corinthians 1:18,23 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; …

1 Peter 2:8,9 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which …

(11)And I, brethren.--Rather, But I, brethren. Another abrupt transition. We should naturally infer from this passage that St. Paul had at one time seemed to preach, or at least to permit, circumcision. Thus, in the Acts, we should gather, from the account of the conference at Jerusalem in Acts 15, that he did not insist strongly upon this point, and on taking Timothy with him upon his second missionary journey--the very journey in which he first visited Galatia--his first step was to have him circumcised. It was only natural that the progress of time and of events should deepen the Apostle's conviction of the radical antagonism between the ceremonial Judaism and Christianity. This he is now stating in the most emphatic manner, and he feels that he is open to a charge of something like inconsistency. The Galatians might say that he preached circumcision himself. His answer is, that if he really preached circumcision he would not be so persecuted by the Judaising party. And he has also a further answer, which is conveyed in an ironical form: "If I do preach circumcision, and if I have ceased to lay stress on that one great stumbling-block, the cross of Christ, I may assume that there are no more hindrances in the way of my teaching." Circumcision is taken as occupying, in the Judaising system, the same place that the cross of Christ occupied in that of St. Paul. The two things are alternatives. If one is taught there is no need for the other.

Ceased.--Done away; the same word as that which is translated "become of no effect" in Galatians 5:4.

Verse 11. - And I, brethren (ἐγὼ δέ ἀδελφοί); but in respect to myself, brethren. The personal pronoun is again accentuated. It seems that it had been affirmed by some one, most probably that individual "troubler" of the preceding verse (on which account the point is just here mentioned), that the apostle did himself "preach circumcision." The compellation "brethren" has a tone of pathos in it: it appeals, not merely to their knowledge of his experience of persecution, but to their sympathy with him under it, He is grappling to himself, as it were, the better-minded of those he is writing to. If I yet preach circumcision (εἰ περιτομὴν ἔτι κηρύσσω); if I am still preaching circumcision. The phrase, "preach circumcision," is like that of "preaching the baptism of repentance" in Mark 1:4; it denotes openly declaring that men should be circumcised The force of ἔτι is best explained by supposing that the apostle is quoting the assertion of this gainsayer - "Why, Paul himself up to this hour still preaches circumcision, just as he did when he followed Judaism." And taking it thus, we may discern a shade of irony in the apostle's repeating the ἔτι in his reply: "Why, then, am I still persecuted up to this hour?" He had begun to be the object of persecution as soon as he began to preach Christ, as he pathetically reminds the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:32; cf. Acts 9:24). In trying to imagine how this gainsayer could have given the least colour of probability to so audacious an assertion, we may suppose that he would point to St. Paul's behaviour at Jerusalem, and no doubt elsewhere, when he "to the Jews became as a Jew; to those under the Law as under the Law" (1 Corinthians 9:20); and in all probability, as Chrysostom and others have observed, cited the well-known fact of his circumcising Timothy; and there doubtless were other facts of a similar complexion, all which, with a little distortion, might enable an unscrupulous or a merely very eager opponent to dress up a statement like that before us with a certain amount of plausibleness. Why do I yet suffer persecution? (τί ἔτι διώκομαι;); why am I still persecuted? The apostle distinctly implies

(1) that his persecutions were mainly occasioned by the hostility of the Jews; and

(2) that the hostility of the Jews mainly originated in his teaching the doctrine that the cross of Christ put circumcision, together with the observance of the Law of Moses, aside as terms of acceptance with God. The first point is fully borne out by the history of the Acts and various allusions in the Epistles, showing that the fact was so, both before and after the time when this letter was written. The second is perfectly consistent with the history, and alone fully explains it. Then is the offence of the cross ceased (ἄρα κατήργηται τὸ σκάνδαλον τοῦ σταυροῦ); then the stumbling-block of the cross hath been done away. The stumbling-block of the cross is that which makes the cross a stumbling-block. In 1 Corinthians 1:23 "Christ crucified" is designated as "to the Jews a stumbling-block;" while to Gentiles it simply seemed "folly." "Then" follows up an argument ex absurdo, as in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 18. The apostle means that the cross would not be to Jews the stumbling-block that it was if it had been preached in conjunction with the obligatoriness of circumcision together with the observance of the ceremonial law, upon those who believed in Christ. If, then, he had preached Christ crucified thus, he could not have been so offensive to the Jews. But it was all otherwise. It has been supposed that the notion of a crucified Messiah was offensive to Jewish feeling, merely because it ran counter to their conception of the Christ as a secular king and conqueror. St. Paul's words show that this was not the case. That preconception of the Jews no doubt made it difficult to them to believe in the Jesus whose worldly career had been closed by an early violent death; even as before our Lord's passion it had made it difficult to the apostles to believe that he was thus to die. But after the question whether the Christ was predestined to be a suffering Christ (Acts 26:23) had been discussed, and it had been shown from the Old Testament that the Messiah was to suffer before he should reign, it had yet to be determined in what relation the particular form of Jesus' death stood with respect to the Mosaic Law. Gentiles would naturally think of the cross chiefly, indeed solely, as a sign of extremest ignominy; they thought scorn of the Christians who looked for life from "this Master of theirs, who was crucified" (Lucian). But to Jews, with the habits of feeling to which they had been trained in the school of Moses' Law, the cross was more than a sign of extremest ignominy - to them it was a sign also of extremest pollutedness. Now, to the Apostle Paul it had been given to see, with more distinctness than the general body of believers at Jerusalem appear to have seen it, the inference to which the finger of Divine providence pointed in the particular form of death which, in the counsels of God, had been selected for the Christ to suffer (cf. John 18:32). He had seen that faith in the crucified Saviour, by just consequence and in the Divine purpose, disconnected those, who embraced it as the supreme element of spiritual life, from all obligation to the ceremonial law as viewed in relation to their acceptance with God (Galatians 2:19, and note). And because he held forth this truth, and insisted upon its vital importance in determining the mutual relations of Jew and Gentile in the Christian Church, therefore it was that he drew upon himself the peculiar unrelenting enmity with which the Jews pursued him. They could manage to live on terms of peace with their fellow-Jews at Jerusalem who held that the Christ predicted in the Old Testament was to be, in the first instance, a suffering Christ, and trusted in Jesus as fulfilling those predictions; for they saw that they, while believing in Jesus, continued, as St. James told St. Paul all of them did, to Observe and to be zealous for the Law (Acts 21:20); they were able, therefore, in some degree to tolerate their "heresy." But St. Paul was led by the Saviour of all the world to adopt a different line. The truth, which lay wrapped up in the manner of Christ's death, and which at Jerusalem was left, so to speak, in its latency, it became necessary for the welfare of mankind that Paul should bring forth into view, and apply for the doing of the work which it was designed to accomplish. The cross annihilated the obligatoriness upon God's people of the Law of Moses. And, by teaching this, this apostle revived against himself the animosity which had flamed forth so fiercely upon St. Stephen, who was charged with saying that "Jesus the Nazarene was to change the customs which Moses had delivered unto them." It illustrates the economy which marks the Holy Spirit's development of revealed truth in the consciousness of the Church, that this consequence of the crucifixion of our Lord was for a while left so much in abeyance in the mother Church in Judaea. The fact stands on the same footing as the development of the doctrine of the essential Godhead of the Lord Jesus; for this too would seem to have been not at once and by an abrupt illumination brought distinctly home to the consciousness of the Hebrew Church, but to have been deposited like a seed in its bosom to unfold itself gradually. It seemed meet to the Divine Wisdom to cradle the infant faith tenderly, that it should not be exposed to too great risks through want of sympathy on the part of its first nursing mother towards these two of its most important elements. By-and-bye, when circumstances allowed, the same great apostle, who in his Epistle develops the doctrine of the cross in relation to Mosaism, could with advantage address the Hebrew Church, either himself or through another whom he inspired with his thoughts, that Epistle, in which the Godhead of Jesus is proclaimed with as much clearness and emphasis as the dissolution of the Mosaic institute in face of the new spiritual economy. The Epistle to the Hebrews, however, in proving that the new covenant was superseding the old, does not lay the chief stress of the argument upon the Crucifixion, but upon the utter unavailingness of the Mosaic priestly functions for the clearing of the conscience as compared with the efficacy of Christ's one offering. Nevertheless,the other point is not altogether neglected; at least, a kindred argument is suggested in Hebrews 13:10-13, in which passage contact with Christ as suffering without the camp is spoken of as inferring a pollution which was incompatible with "serving the tabernacle." The "Cross" is definitely named only once, and that with relation to extreme" shame" attaching to it (Hebrews 12:2). In other Epistles which are certainly of St. Paul's own composition, the "cross" ]s mentioned in connection with the abrogation of the ceremonial law, in Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:14; but the manner in which it brought about this result is nowhere so plainly indicated as in this Epistle to the Galatians, in which "the cross" is the very key-note of the whole discussion. The flashing out of resentful feeling which we read in the next verse was probably in part evoked by the clear glimpse which the apostle this moment caught of the conscious insincerity of those seducers, shown in their making or adopting such an assertion respecting himself as he here rebuts, which facts proved to be so glaringly false. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision,.... The apostle was traduced by the false teachers, as a preacher of circumcision himself in some places; and this they did partly to show him to be a variable and inconsistent man, who preached one doctrine in one place, and another in another place, and so not to be attended to; and partly with others, to draw them into their scheme upon his authority: what might give them the handle, or at least what they improved to this purpose, might be his circumcising of Timothy; but though he did this as a thing indifferent, and for the sake of the Jews, to make them easy; yet he never preached it after his conversion, and much less as necessary to justification and salvation, as these men did. This calumny he refutes by putting the following question or questions;

why do I yet suffer persecution? as is clear he did, for being against it, and preaching it down; great part of the persecutions the apostle endured was from the Jews, and that on account of his teaching them everywhere, that were among the Gentiles, to forsake Moses, and that they should not circumcise their children, and walk after the customs of their nation; a clear point this, that he did not preach it; had he, persecution from this quarter would not have followed him; and he could have done it with a good conscience, he must act a very weak part in suffering persecution on that account. The Arabic version gives the words a very different turn, and yet furnishes an answer to the calumny; "why do I persecute him that uses it?" that is, if I am a preacher of it, why am I so warm and violent an opposer of those that submit to it? these things are so opposite that there is no reconciling them; to the same purpose is the Ethiopic version: "then is the offence of the cross ceased". The last mentioned version reads it, "the cross of Christ"; and so the Alexandrian copy; meaning not the cross of affliction, reproach, and persecution, which Christ has enjoined every follower of his to take up and bear for his sake, and is offensive to the carnal man; nor the cross on which he suffered, or the sufferings of the cross; but the doctrine of salvation by a crucified Christ, which was an offence and a stumblingblock to the Jews; now if the apostle had preached circumcision as necessary to salvation, the other doctrine must have been dropped, and consequently the offence taken at it must have ceased, whereas it was not. The Syriac version reads by way of question, "is the offence of the cross ceased?" no it is not, a plain case then is, that the apostle did not preach circumcision, but only a crucified Christ, as necessary to salvation. Moreover, the Jews that believed would not have been so offended as they were at his preaching, had he preached the one as well the other; their offence was not that he preached Christ crucified, but that he preached, that, by the cross of Christ, circumcision and the other rituals of the ceremonial law were now abolished. 11. Translate, "If I am still preaching (as I did before conversion) circumcision, why am I still persecuted?" The Judaizing troubler of the Galatians had said, "Paul himself preaches circumcision," as is shown by his having circumcised Timothy (Ac 16:3; compare also Ac 20:6; 21:24). Paul replies by anticipation of their objection, As regards myself, the fact that I am still persecuted by the Jews shows plainly that I do not preach circumcision; for it is just because I preach Christ crucified, and not the Mosaic law, as the sole ground of justification, that they persecute me. If for conciliation he lived as a Jew among the Jews, it was in accordance with his principle enunciated (1Co 7:18, 20; 9:20). Circumcision, or uncircumcision, are things indifferent in themselves: their lawfulness or unlawfulness depends on the animus of him who uses them. The Gentile Galatians' animus in circumcision could only be their supposition that it influenced favorably their standing before God. Paul's living as a Gentile among Gentiles, plainly showed that, if he lived as a Jew among Jews, it was not that he thought it meritorious before God, but as a matter indifferent, wherein he might lawfully conform as a Jew by birth to those with whom he was, in order to put no needless stumbling-block to the Gospel in the way of his countrymen.

then—Presuming that I did so, "then," in that case, "the offense of (stumbling-block, 1Co 1:23 occasioned to the Jews by) the cross has become done away." Thus the Jews' accusation against Stephen was not that he preached Christ crucified, but that "he spake blasphemous words against this holy place and the law." They would, in some measure, have borne the former, if he had mixed with it justification in part by circumcision and the law, and if he had, through the medium of Christianity, brought converts to Judaism. But if justification in any degree depended on legal ordinances, Christ's crucifixion in that degree was unnecessary, and could profit nothing (Ga 5:2, 4). Worldly Wiseman, of the town of Carnal Policy, turns Christian out of the narrow way of the Cross, to the house of Legality. But the way to it was up a mountain, which, as Christian advanced, threatened to fall on him and crush him, amidst flashes of lightning from the mountain [Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress] (Heb 12:18-21).5:7-12 The life of a Christian is a race, wherein he must run, and hold on, if he would obtain the prize. It is not enough that we profess Christianity, but we must run well, by living up to that profession. Many who set out fairly in religion, are hindered in their progress, or turn out of the way. It concerns those who begin to turn out of the way, or to tire in it, seriously to inquire what hinders them. The opinion or persuasion, ver. 8, was, no doubt, that of mixing the works of the law with faith in Christ in justification. The apostle leaves them to judge whence it must arise, but sufficiently shows that it could be owing to none but Satan. It is dangerous for Christian churches to encourage those who follow, but especially who spread, destructive errors. And in reproving sin and error, we should always distinguish between the leaders and the led. The Jews were offended, because Christ was preached as the only salvation for sinners. If Paul and others would have admitted that the observance of the law of Moses was to be joined with faith in Christ, as necessary to salvation, then believers might have avoided many of the sufferings they underwent. The first beginnings of such leaven should be opposed. And assuredly those who persist in disturbing the church of Christ must bear their judgment.
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