KJV Acts 15 : 1

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.

John Gill when commenting on the above text pointed out that circumcision had been abolished

John Gill commentary

These men were not only for retaining circumcision, which was now abolished, but they made it necessary to salvation; which was carrying the matter further than even the unbelieving Jews themselves did, at least some of them: for though indeed it is a notion with them, that no circumcised persons go to hell, but are all saved; and some of them say, that God rejects uncircumcised persons, and brings them down to hellF8Shemot Rabba, sect 19 fol 104 4 ;

But the apostle Paul contends that circumcision was good and profitable to those who kept the law

KJV Romans 2 : 25

For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

How can one understand John Gill's comment on this text?

  • 1
    It feels like this question is off topic. From the tour: "Biblical Hermeneutics is a question and answer site for anyone who wants to know what a Biblical text means". Biblical text questions are in scope. Wouldn't questions on texts outside the Bible be off topic?
    – David D
    Jan 3, 2022 at 16:12
  • What kind of abolish was Gill talking about? Abolish as in, "useless and pointless to follow now", or as in "no longer necessary for salvation"? Because the latter is true, but the former is not.
    – Rajesh
    Jan 3, 2022 at 16:22
  • What is Gill basing his assertion that circumcision was ‘abolished’ on? Who ‘abolished’ it? As well, remember that ‘law’ (Romans 5 verse 25) = Torah! (Not the ‘10’). Therefore circumcision was pivotal (profitable) to living under Torah.
    – Dave
    Jan 3, 2022 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


It is clear in the New Testament that Jewish believers in Messiah were also keepers of the law. There was no rebuke to Jewish believers for keeping the law, Acts 21:20. Peter kept the law after the ascension of Christ, Acts 10:14. The Jerusalem council excluded the necessity of the Gentiles to be circumcised (to be keepers of the law), Acts 15:23-29. The point of contention comes in when trying to make the Gentiles keep the law, specifically circumcision, and stipulate that it is a requirement for salvation, Acts 15:1; 5. The requirement the believing Pharisees expected of the believing Gentiles to be circumcised for salvation Paul called "another gospel" Galatians 1:6. Paul also brings up a conflict he had with Peter and others over the issue of circumcision Galatians 2:11-13 that further demonstrates the problem.

To say that circumcision has been abolished would not be a conclusion that can be drawn from the actual scripture content. Pretty much the book of Galatians exists in part to address this very issue. Nowhere in Galatians does it say circumcision is abolished. To say that circumcision is not necessary to participate in the covenant would be correct, Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:12;19.

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