Sense of the Day: Person of God <=> Circumcision

SOTD-SocialShare-612x612Sense: person of God <=> circumcision

n. — a person allied with and trusting in the God of Israel who has received circumcision; normally of those who received circumcision as the introductory rite to begin keeping the whole law of Moses.

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised [περιτομή].

Galatians 2:7 (NRSV)

When reading the texts in the Bible Sense Lexicon concordance entry for “person of God ⇔ circumcision,” it seems that περιτομή forms a merismus with ἀκροβυστία, which has the sense of “gentile ⇔ uncircumcision” in the Bible Sense Lexicon. A merismus uses two opposite ends of a spectrum to represent a whole.  So when the Bible talks about “heaven and earth,” it may mean the whole of creation. When the preacher in Ecclesiastes speaks of a “time to cry and a time to dance,” he probably means that there is a time for every human emotion. In the case of circumcision and uncircumcision, the focus of the merismus is on the unity of all people.  This is probably clearest in places like Colossians 3:11: “In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” This merismus informs our understanding of Galatians 2:7 as well. Paul has been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, and Peter with the gospel for the circumcised, but the underlying emphasis is not to single out these two different groups. Rather, it simply suggests that the gospel is for everyone.

What is the Bible Sense Lexicon?

Sense of the Day is based on content from Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon, which organizes biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words by meaning based on a variety of semantic relationships. Sense of the Day provides examples of senses in context, along with insight into their application for theology and interpretation.

The Bible Sense Lexicon is a Logos dataset available in Logos 5 Gold and higher base packages. If you’re enrolled in the Logos Academic Discount Program, you can also find the Bible Sense Lexicon in the Biblical Languages base package. Take your studies even further by exploring semantic domains, engaging the biblical text like never before.

Learn more about the Bible Sense Lexicon.

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Written by
Jonathan Watson
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Written by Jonathan Watson