Circumcision Is Nothing

1 Corinthians 7:19  

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

The apostle Paul’s main subject in 1 Corinthians 7 was marriage. When a man is called by God into the Church of God, but his wife does not believe, Paul said if “she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her” (1 Corinthians 7:12). He gave the same advice to a woman whose husband did not believe but was willing to live with her (verse 13).

Paul expanded the principle in verse 17 to include other things beyond marriage: “As God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk.” This included someone who is of Jewish heritage not trying to become non-Jewish, and someone of non-Jewish background not seeking to become Jewish through the ritual of circumcision. The Jerusalem conference of Acts 15 had confirmed that gentiles did not need to be circumcised to become Christians.

Paul explained that for Christians, circumcision is now of the heart (Romans 2:29), but that change did not change the eternal spiritual law of God. Paul continued to stress the importance of “keeping the commandments of God.”

For more about the commandments of God, see the section on the “10 Commandments.”

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