New American Standard Bible
But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
King James Bible
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Darby Bible Translation
but he is a Jew who is so inwardly; and circumcision, of the heart, in spirit, not in letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
World English Bible
but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.
Young's Literal Translation
but a Jew is he who is so inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit, not in letter, of which the praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 2:29 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
But he is a Jew - He comes up to the design of the Jewish institution; he manifests truly what it is to be a Jew.
Which is one inwardly - Who is "in heart" a Jew. Who has the true spirit, and fulfils the design of their being separated as a special people. This passage proves that the design of separating them was not merely to perform certain external rites, or to conform to external observances, but to be a people holy in heart and in life. It cannot be denied that this design was not generally understood in the time of the apostles; but it was abundantly declared in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 30:14; Isaiah 1:11-20; Micah 6:8; Psalm 51:16-17; Psalm 50:7-23.
And circumcision is that of the heart - That is, that circumcision which is acceptable to God. and which meets the design of the institution, is what is attended with holiness of heart; with the cutting off of sins; and with a pure life. The design of circumcision was to be a sign of separation from the pagan world, and of consecration to the holy God. And this design implied the renunciation and forsaking of all sins; or the cutting off of everything that was offensive to God. This was a work especially of the heart. This design was often stated and enforced in the writings of the Old Testament; Deuteronomy 10:16, "Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked;" Jeremiah 4:4; Deuteronomy 30:6.
In the spirit - This is an expression explaining further what he had just said. It does not mean by the Holy Spirit, but that the work was to take place in the soul, and not in the body only. It was to be an internal, spiritual work, and not merely an external service.
And not in the letter - That is, not only according to the literal, external command,
Whose praise ... - Whose object is not to secure the praise of human beings. One of the main characteristics of the Jews in the time of Christ was, a desire to secure honor among men, as being exactly scrupulous in the performance of all the duties of their religion. They prided themselves on their descent from Abraham, and on their regular conformity to the precepts of the Law of Moses; Matthew 3:9; Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:10-12; Matthew 23:23.
But of God - "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart;" 1 Samuel 16:7. The praise of God can be bestowed only on those who conform really, and not externally only, to his requirements.
The remarks which are made here respecting the Jews, are also strictly applicable to professing Christians, and we may learn,
1. That the external rites of religion are of much less importance than the state of the heart.
2. That the only value of those rites is to promote holiness of heart and life.
3. That the mere fact that we are born of pious ancestors will not save us.
4. That the fact that we were dedicated to God in baptism will not save us.
5. That a mere profession of religion, however orthodox may be our creed, will not save us.
6. That the estimate which people may put on our piety is not the proper measure of our true character and standing.
Observe that the apostle singled out an individual who had condemned others for transgressions, in which he himself indulged. This man owned so much spiritual light that he knew right from wrong, and he diligently used his knowledge to judge others, condemning them for their transgressions. As for himself, he preferred the shade, where no fierce light might beat on his own conscience and disturb his unholy peace. His judgment was spared the pain of dealing with his home offenses by being set to work …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 29: 1883
Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750.
Note to the Following Treatise 1. The Following Letter
Seances Historiques De Geneve --The National Church.
"Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.
"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds."
"Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised--
"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
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