Ephesians 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 2:11, NIV: "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands)--"

Ephesians 2:11, ESV: "Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—"

Ephesians 2:11, KJV: "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;"

Ephesians 2:11, NASB: "Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called 'Uncircumcision ' by the so-called 'Circumcision,' which is performed in the flesh by human hands--"

Ephesians 2:11, NLT: "Don't forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called 'uncircumcised heathens' by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts."

Ephesians 2:11, CSB: "So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh--called "the uncircumcised" by those called "the circumcised," which is done in the flesh by human hands."

What does Ephesians 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul transitions from his discussion of salvation by grace through faith to an explanation of our unity in Christ. Writing to Gentile Christians, he begins by stating that these people are still uncircumcised. This stood in strong contrast to circumcised Jews, who saw that ritual as a necessary sign of membership among God's chosen people. In addition, these non-Jewish believers were often dismissed as "the uncircumcision" by those who held to traditional Judaism. In other words, they were both labelled as outsiders and treated as outsiders. To traditional Judaism, these were people who did not belong to God's family.

Paul's point here is these attitudes were completely manmade. The physical condition of circumcision was something people could do, but it was only a symbol. The spiritual, "true" circumcision was something only God could change. Paul will begin a transition in verse 13 to show that this separation on the basis of circumcision has ended thanks to Jesus. Through Him, all people can believe and become part of God's one united family. These Gentile Christians were no longer excluded but were now family with all of God's people.