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  • John T. Polk II 10:27 am on 2017-03-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , circumcision,   

    3-10-2017 The Cross Of Christ, Not Circumcision 

    “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” (Galatians 6:12 NKJV).  There are people who preach religious practices from Moses just to avoid being persecuted for following Christ. God required fleshly circumcision from Abraham through Moses, but now has changed to a new covenant. “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law” (Galatians 5:2-3 NKJV). Keeping Moses Law, whether 10 Commandments or circumcision, makes Jews, not Christians! “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anytshing, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15 NKJV).  “If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21 NKJV).

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

  • Richard Mansel 10:18 pm on 2013-05-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: circumcision, , ,   

    Custom or Law? 


    One of our men was teaching Acts 15 on Wednesday night. I noticed something that I wanted to share with you, to get your feedback.

    “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, NKJV).

    “But 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” (Acts 15:1, ESV).

    “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” (Acts 15:1, KJV).

    “And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, ASV).

    “While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers[a]: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, NLT).

    The word for “custom” in Acts 15:1 means “habit or law.”  

    Circumcision was more than custom under the Old Covenant (Genesis 17:7-14; Leviticus 12:3; Joshua 5:2-8; Romans 4:11). And we know that law is much stronger than custom.

    To us, custom means something that became common over time like Sunday night worship or a family having pizza on Friday night. Law, however, is something commanded by God. In Acts 15:1, the Judaizing teachers were false teachers but they believed that circumcision was still law.

    • Why do you think custom is used in this context?
    • Do you see a difference between “law” and “custom.”
    • If the word means “habit” or “law,” what clue would translators use to make the determination?




    • Ron Thomas 3:33 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      I think you are correct with the word “custom,” but I have always understood it in relation to “law” in this context. Thus, I see “custom” as a “practice” (habit), even though it was part of the LM.

    • Eugene Adkins 6:12 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      The English word “custom” is probably used in the context because of its relation to governing actions (think of a government’s customs department). Some supporting definitions according to Webster’s is: “Law, such usage as by common consent and long-established, uniform practice has taken on the force of law” and “a social convention carried on by tradition and enforced by social disapproval of any violation” and “a usual practice or habitual way of behaving; habit“.

      In the context of Luke 1:9 (Zacharias and the “custom” of the priest’s office) and Luke 4:16 (Jesus’ custom of going to synagogue on the Sabbath) the word custom is in direct connection to the guidance of God’s Law. It was their personal custom (because we know others ignored it) and it was due to the rules and directions that they found in the Law.

      In connection to Luke 15 I’d say it has to do with the distinction that’s meant to be made for the readers. In other words, we have to remember why the Judaizers were teaching what they were teaching (the Law of Moses’ expectations), but at the same time the readers must remember the relationship between the Law of Moses and the Law of faith in Jesus.

      I guess like always it goes back to context, context, context and having a good grounding in the meaning of a word and not just what we’re used to thinking it means. Hope that helps.

    • Scott Wiley 7:47 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      OK, not thought on this before, but here’s a strange thought that jumps into my head, so it 90% likely to be a dead end… but just maaayyyyyybbeeeee….. Young’s and Darby’s translations both have the term ‘custom’ and both from the mid-late 1800’s. Barnes and Gill, both old timey commentaries, speak of ‘custom’. So the term ‘custom’ is not a recent translational choice. Looked up ‘custom’ in my 1828 Webster’s (available via E-Sword) and among the meanings of ‘custom’ is the idea of ‘duties imposed by law’ – more in the idea of taxes and tariffs though – but maybe when the term ‘custom’ was chosen by the 1800’s translators it carried in their minds more the weight of law than just habit, and moves into the ‘mores’ or, ‘expression of law’ kinda thing. When the ‘custom’ is associated with Moses, a Jew would likely see little difference between saying the ‘law of Moses’, the ‘manner of Moses’ or the ‘custom of Moses’. To many Jews of the time they might be likely to view the differences in the words (as many folk today say)… “Oh, that’s just semantics…. “Moses” would grant a virtual legal status to anything the Jews of Jesus time would associate it with.

      Now, here’s where my mind takes an odd turn… Even before the ascension, Jesus took the apostles through a 40 day seminar on the kingdom and had opened their minds to the scriptures… They’d know more after the Outpouring of the HS at Pentecost, but they were no longer as ignorant as they had been about the Kingdom. With the outpouring and their now miraculous ability to tap into the words of Christ via the Comforter, they gotta understand pretty well the Old Cov is gone and done. They wouldn’t have kept this a secret, too much of the doctrine of Christ depends on a change of covenant (Priest and King at the same time, and etc). The men of Acts 15 don’t seem to be ignorant, and they’d have likely had to work through some of the things that would have to change covenant-wise for Christianity to be valid.

      Soooo….. is it possible, that on some level they knew the Covenant of Moses was no longer in effect, but viewed the customs – duties imposed & carrying the weight of Moses’ name – into the semi-legal area of ‘mores’? Backed by a lifetime of practice, and nearly 2 millienia of enforcement, their heart / gut reactions have not caught up to their head knowledge, and to them, though no longer covenant law, it’d be ‘virtual law’ because it came from Moses.

      OK, wild conjecture and speculation on my part, so take it with a pound of salt. Likely after I let it percolate over night, I’ll see the flaws in it myself. But perhaps this will be helpful, much as Edison’s first few thousand tries at finding a proper filament for the light bulb were helpful. 😎

      Yours in the Great Hope
      Scott P. Wiley

    • Don Ruhl 10:03 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      A law becomes a custom by long term use. Circumcision was of the Law of Moses, and that became the custom of the Jews.

    • John Henson 11:04 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      According to Robertson, “The associative instrumental case (tōi ethei) is customary.” Of course, he’s not infallible.

    • Don Ruhl 5:01 pm on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply

      Also, notice that Luke 2.27 speaks of “the custom of the Law.” All the major translations have this wording, including NKJV, KJV, ASV, NIV, NASB, and the ESV.

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