Circumcision, Uncircumcision, Circumcise - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Circumcision, Uncircumcision, Circumcise

[ A-1,Noun,G4061, peritome ]
lit., a cutting round, circumcision" (the verb is peritemno), was a rite enjoined by God upon Abraham and his male descendants and dependents, as a sign of the covenant made with him, Gen. 17; Acts 7:8; Romans 4:11. Hence Israelites termed Gentiles "the uncircumcised," Judges 15:18; 2 Samuel 1:20. So in the NT, but without the suggestion of contempt, e.g., Romans 2:26; Ephesians 2:11.

The rite had a moral significance, Exodus 6:12, Exodus 6:30, where it is metaphorically applied to the lips; so to the ear, Jeremiah 6:10, and the heart, Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4. Cp. Jeremiah 9:25-Jeremiah 9:26. It refers to the state of "circumcision," in Romans 2:25-Romans 2:28; Romans 3:1; Romans 4:10; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:11.

"In the economy of grace no account is taken of any ordinance performed on the flesh; the old racial distinction is ignored in the preaching of the Gospel, and faith is the sole condition upon which the favor of God in salvation is to be obtained, Romans 10:11-Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 7:19. See also Romans 4:9-Romans 4:12" * [* From Notes on Galations by Hogg and Vine, p.69.]

Upon the preaching of the Gospel to, and the conversion of, Gentiles, a sect of Jewish believers arose who argued that the Gospel, without the fulfillment of "circumcision," would make void the Law and make salvation impossible, Acts 15:1. Hence this party was known as "the circumcision," Acts 10:45; Acts 11:2; Galatians 2:12; Colossians 4:11; Titus 1:10 (the term being used by metonymy, the abstract being put for the concrete, as with the application of the word to Jews generally, Romans 3:30; Romans 4:9, Romans 4:12; Romans 15:8; Galatians 2:7-Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 2:11). It is used metaphorically and spiritually of believers with reference to the act, Colossians 2:11; Romans 2:29; to the condition, Philippians 3:3.

The Apostle Paul's defense of the truth, and his contention against this propaganda, form the main subject of the Galatian epistle. Cp. katatome, "concision," Philippians 3:2. See CONCISION.

[ A-2,Noun,G203, akrobustia ]
"uncircumcision," is used
(a) of the physical state, in contrast to the act of "circumcision," Acts 11:3 (lit., "having uncircumcision"); Romans 2:25-Romans 2:26; Romans 4:10-Romans 4:11 ("through they be in uncircumcision," RV), Romans 4:12; 1 Corinthians 7:18-19; Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:11;
(b) by metonymy, for Gentiles, e.g., Romans 2:26-Romans 2:27; Romans 3:30; Romans 4:9; Galatians 2:7; Ephesians 2:11;
(d) in a metaphorical or transferred sense, of the moral condition in which the corrupt desires of the flesh still operate, Colossians 2:13.

Note: In Romans 4:11, the phrase "though they be in uncircumcision" translates the Greek phrase di' akrobustias, lit., "through uncircumcision;" here dia has the local sense of proceeding from and passing out.

[ B-1,Adjective,G564, aperitmetos ]
"uncircumcised" (a, negative, peri, "around," temno, "to cut"), is used in Acts 7:51, metaphorically, of "heart and ears."

[ C-1,Verb,G4059, peritemno ]
to circumcise," is used
(a) lit., e.g., Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21; of receiving circumcision, Galatians 5:2-Galatians 5:3; Galatians 6:13, RV;
(b) metaphorically, of spiritual circumcision, Colossians 2:11.

[ C-2,Verb,G1986, epispaomai ]
lit., "to draw over, to become uncircumcised," as if to efface Judaism, appears in 1 Corinthians 7:18.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words