What was Paul saying in Galatian 6: 17?by Dr Nathaniel Omilani


Among the challenges of many believers is that we often apply bible verses out of the context of the Holy Ghost, the author.  A popular scripture usually quoted by believers in the face of opposition and challenges is Galatians 6:17.


From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.


This verse is usually many believers’ confession in the face of opposition at work, boardroom, neighborhood, and school. Using this scripture for this purpose is not wrong, but this verse is not written primarily for such a purpose.  The rule of biblical interpretation is that it is wrong to pick a verse without interpreting it in light of the entire text in which the verse is situated. In the case of this verse, it is like the summary of the entire book of Galatians.

The entire book of Galatians was written to correct and contend with the doctrine of mixing works with faith. It is good to remember that the first set of Christians are Jews. Primarily, in Judaism, a man must be circumcised before he is fit for worship. An uncircumcised man is not regarded as a legitimate partaker of the covenant of Abraham. These first followers of Jesus began to demand that the converted Gentiles be circumcised to perfect their newfound faith.


Paul used the entire book of Galatians to teach the ungodliness inherent in such demands. In chapter two, Paul narrated how Peter stopped eating with gentile believers in Antioch as soon as he saw that there were guests from Jerusalem. Paul reported that Peter’s conduct and others who followed him to behave the same way were ungodly.

Galatian 2: 14

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, if thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 


Insisting that a gentile must circumcise before such gentile complete in Christ is simply not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel. The salvation of our soul is complete in Christ Jesus. The sacrifice of Jesus is enough for our salvation and all that we will become in Christ.

Paul is saying that Christ is the circumcision required by anyone who is Christ to be complete in Christ.  Anytime you quote that scripture, remember that it was written so that anyone confessing it would rest upon the finished works of Christ on the cross.


Why should you, through human efforts, do what Christ has already done for you? Kindly know that human efforts could do nothing for you. Anytime you use ideas of flesh to support faith, you are already troubling yourself. Sometimes ago, someone told his congregation to rub themselves with oil and bathe with salt water afterward. Such a preacher is troubling his congregation, who already carry the mark of Christ.

Avoid all the ideas that take you on such a path.




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