Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
New Living Translation
Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save.
English Standard Version
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Berean Study Bible
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.
Berean Literal Bible
As many as desire to have a fair appearance in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised, only that they might not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
King James Bible
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
New King James Version
As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
New American Standard Bible
All who want to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Those who want to make a good impression in public [before the Jews] try to compel you to be circumcised, just so they will escape being persecuted for [faithfulness to] the cross of Christ.
Christian Standard Bible
Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised —but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised—but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
American Standard Version
As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Those who wish to boast in the flesh urge you to be circumcised only so that they would not be persecuted for the crucifixion of The Messiah.
Contemporary English Version
Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don't want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ.
For as many as desire to please in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer the persecution of the cross of Christ.
Good News Translation
The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
International Standard Version
These people who want to impress others by their external appearance are trying to force you to be circumcised, simply to avoid being persecuted for the cross of the Messiah.
Literal Standard Version
as many as are willing to make a good appearance in the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the Cross of the Christ,
New American Bible
It is those who want to make a good appearance in the flesh who are trying to compel you to have yourselves circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Those who want to make a good showing in external matters are trying to force you to be circumcised. They do so only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
New Revised Standard Version
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
New Heart English Bible
As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Weymouth New Testament
All who desire to display their zeal for external observances try to compel you to receive circumcision, but their real object is simply to escape being persecuted for the Cross of Christ.
World English Bible
As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Young's Literal Translation
as many as are willing to make a good appearance in the flesh, these constrain you to be circumcised -- only that for the cross of the Christ they may not be persecuted,
Additional Translations ...
ContextPaul's Final Warning
11See what large letters I am using to write to you with my own hand! 12Those 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. 13For the circumcised do not even keep the law themselves, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.…
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of impurity.
Then some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
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.
Treasury of Scripture
As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Galatians 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Matthew 6:2,5,16 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward…
Matthew 23:5,28 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, …
Galatians 2:3,14 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: …
Acts 15:1,5 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved…
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
To make a fair shew in the flesh.--To obtain a reputation for religiousness in externals, like the hypocrites, who "love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men" (Matthew 6:5). The object of the Judaisers was by this means to keep in with their countrymen, the Jews, and even to gain favour amongst them by seeming to win over proselytes to the Mosaic law.
Only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.--What aroused the antagonism of the Jews against the Christians was evidently not so much the confession of the Messiahship of Jesus as the declared abolition of the Law of Moses. By suppressing this side of Christian teaching, the Judaisers could easily obtain toleration for their other tenets. If, on the other hand, they were to emphasise it, the full weight of persecution would fall upon them--its ostensible ground being the doctrine of a crucified Messiah. Accordingly, they persuaded as many of the Galatians as they could to accept circumcision, and made the most of this propagandist zeal to their Jewish neighbours.Verse 12. - As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh (ὅσοι θελουσιν εὐπροσωπῆσαι ἐν σαρκί); all those who wish to make a fair show in the flesh. In this verse and the next the apostle singles out for especial animadversion certain Christians, Galatian Christians no doubt, who were actuated by the aim of standing fair with the religious world of Judaism. They were Gentile Christians and not Jews; this appears from their not themselves wishing to keep the Law; for if they had been Jews, the external observance of the Law, being natural to them from their infancy, would have been with them a matter of course: St. Paul himself would probably not have urged them to relinquish it. The verb εὐπροσωπεῖν is not found by the critics in any earlier Greek writer, though the adjective εὐπρόσωπος, fair-faced, is used of "specious" answers in Herodotus (7:168), and "specious words" conjoined with "fables" in Demosthenes ('De Corinthians,' p. 277). Aristophanes uses the word σεμνοπροσωπεῖν ('Nub.,' 362) to "carry a solemn and worshipful face." The notion of falsity, plainly hinted by εὐπροσωπῆσαι, reminds us, Bishop Lightfoot observes, of our Lord's words respecting whited sepulchres, which "outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly," etc. (Matthew 23:27). Compare the use of πρόσωπον, face, in 2 Corinthians 5:12, "glory in appearance, and not in heart." As the aorist of verbs denoting a certain state frequently expresses an entrance upon such a state (see ζήσω above, Galatians 2:19 and note), it probably is intimated that the persons referred to were conscious that their "outward appearance" was hitherto not acceptable to Jewish minds, but that they now were desirous of making it so. Time had been when they did not care so much about it. "In the flesh." This word "flesh" not unfrequently designates men's condition as unmodified by the Spirit of God; as when the apostle speaks of "being in the flesh" (Romans 7:5; Romans 8:8, 9): thence also circumstances or relations pertaining to this unspiritual condition, as in Philippians 3:3, 4; where the apostle speaks of "having confidence in the flesh," and goes on, in vers. 5, 6, to enumerate some of those circumstances or relations. Thus, again, in Ephesians 2:11, "ye, the Gentiles in the flesh," that is, who in that state of things in which men lived before the spiritual economy intervened, were the "uncircumcision (ἀκροβυσρία)," while the Jews were the "circumcision." But as the distinction between these two classes was signalized by an external corporeal mark, the apostle in that passage immediately after uses the expression, "in the flesh," in a varied sense, with reference to this latter, "that which is called circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands." With similar variation of meaning the word "flesh" is used here. The Christians spoken of, losing sight of the cross of Christ and the Spirit's work, were becoming possessed by feelings belonging to the old "carnal" relations between Jews and Gentiles, and so were making it their ambition to figure with advantage in the eyes of the circumcision, as well as to escape their enmity. And then, as in the passage just referred to (Ephesians 2:11), the apostle passes from this sense of the phrase, "in the flesh," to another relating to corporeal flesh; for this he does in the next verse, in the words, "that they may glory in your flesh." They constrain you to be circumcised (οϋτοι ἀναγκάζουσιν ὑμᾶς περιτέμνεσθαι); these compel you to be circumcised. "Compel;" the same verb as was used above (Galatians 2:14) of St. Peter's attitude towards the Gentile believers at Antioch. As here applied, it means "advise," "urge," argue for it as right and necessary for salvation, insist upon it as a condition of friendship. "These;" not, perhaps, meaning "these only," "none but these;" it appears enough to suppose that the apostle, from definite information which he had received, was persuaded that some of those who took the lead in urging onward the Judaizing movement were led to join in it by the cowardly motives here described. With indignant scorn, he says," As surely as a man wants to stand well with the world, so surely will he be found with these circumcisers."Only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ (μόνον ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ μὴ διώκωνται [Textus Receptus, μόνον ἵνα μὴ τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ διώκωνται]); only that they may not by means of the cross of Christ suffer persecution. "Only that;" that is, for no other reason than that. The μὴ is thrust out of its proper position in the sentence (which is that assigned to it in the Textus Receptus) by the fervent of the writer's feelings. To himself the cross of Christ seemed the centre of all glory and blessedness; to be connected with it he would be well pleased to suffer martyrdom; but these men could be well content to shelve it out of sight, and, in fact, were doing so; and what for? because the Jews did not like it, and they did not wish to get into trouble by offending them! A grand disdain prompts the apostle, at the cost of impairing the smooth run of the sentence, to (as it were) balance against each other the "cross of Christ" and "not being persecuted." The construction of the dative to express "by means of," that by which a certain result is brought about, is not very common; but we have it in Romans 11:20, τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ ἐξεκλάσθησαν and ibid., 30, ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπιστίᾳ: 2 Corinthians 2:12, τῷ μὴ εὑρεῖν. Our attention is in this passage again drawn to the manner in which the Jews regarded "the word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18), as that "word" was unfolded by St. Paul and received by his disciples among the Gentiles. The great point of offence (σκάνδαλον) in the apostle's teaching respecting it lay in his presenting its pollution in the view of the Law, as inferring the abrogation of the ceremonial institute itself. On this account the Jews could not abide him nor those who attached themselves to him as their teacher, though in a degree able to put up with Christians not anti-Judaists. To the Galatians he had presented "Christ crucified" (Galatians 3:1) as he saw him to be, and they had accepted the doctrine. But now some, at least, of them were beginning to feel uneasy at observing how the Jews in their neighbourhood regarded Paul and those who attached themselves closely to Paul. Had not the Jews (they felt) high claims to consideration? Were they not the original depositaries of the oracles of God? Was not their religion venerable for its antiquity, magnificent in its temple and ritual, and in origin Divine? To these new converts from the gross spiritual darkness and degradation of heathenism, some of them, perhaps, drawn from it originally by the teaching of non-Christian Jews, the adherents to the ancient faith would naturally appear entitled to high respect - respect which they themselves were also not backward in claiming (see Romans 2:19, 20). When the personal influence exercised upon their minds by the holy love and fervour of the apostle had through his absence begun to wane, they also, we may imagine, began to get disheartened, by feeling that their Christian discipleship was viewed with disfavour by their Jewish neighbours, by reason of its Pauline complexion; that on this account the Jews looked upon themselves, though worshippers of the same God, as unworthy of notice; nay, were even disposed to point them out to the surrounding heathens, only too willing to follow up the hint, as proper objects of contempt and ill usage (see for illustration, Acts 13; Acts 14:22; Acts 17; Acts 18; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). And herewith we have to bear in mind also that Judaism was in Roman jurisprudence treated as a tolerated religion (religio licita); and that, as long as Christians were regarded as belonging to a sect or branch of Judaism, they might seem to be entitled, in the eyes of Roman law, to the same toleration as the Jews themselves enjoyed. But if the Jews cast them off or disowned them they might forfeit such immunity, and become liable to be treated, not only by mobs, but by the Roman law itself, as offenders. The persons, then, here censured by the apostle may be supposed to have pursued the course they did with the idea that, by making themselves acceptable to the Jews through the adoption to a limited extent of Jewish ceremonies, and especially through the acceptance in their own person and the urging upon others of circumcision, they would relieve themselves of "the offence of the cross" (ch. 5:4). Without ceasing to be Christians, they would wipe themselves clear of the odium which with the Jews attached to Paul and those who held with Paul. Such seems to be the situation to which St. Paul's words allude. Bishop Lightfoot interprets it somewhat differently.
Parallel Commentaries ...
Personal / Relative Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's 3745: How much, how great, how many, as great as, as much. By reduplication from hos; as As.
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 2309: To will, wish, desire, be willing, intend, design.
to make a good impression
Verb - Aorist Infinitive Active
Strong's 2146: From a compound of eu and prosopon; to be of good countenance, i.e. to make a display.
Noun - Dative Feminine Singular
Strong's 4561: Flesh, body, human nature, materiality; kindred.
are trying to compel
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 315: To force, compel, constrain, urge. From anagke; to necessitate.
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Accusative 2nd Person Plural
Strong's 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.
to be circumcised.
Verb - Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Strong's 4059: To cut around, circumcise. From peri and the base of tomoteros; to cut around, i.e. to circumcise.
[They] only [ do this ]
Strong's 3440: Alone, but, only. Neuter of monos as adverb; merely.
Strong's 2443: In order that, so that. Probably from the same as the former part of heautou; in order that.
Strong's 3361: Not, lest. A primary particle of qualified negation; not, lest; also (whereas ou expects an affirmative one) whether.
Verb - Present Subjunctive Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 1377: To pursue, hence: I persecute. A prolonged form of a primary verb dio; to pursue; by implication, to persecute.
Article - Dative Masculine Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.
Noun - Dative Masculine Singular
Strong's 4716: A cross.
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's 5547: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ. From chrio; Anointed One, i.e. The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
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NT Letters: Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to look good (Gal. Ga)