Galatians 5:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 5:11, NIV: "Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished."

Galatians 5:11, ESV: "But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed."

Galatians 5:11, KJV: "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased."

Galatians 5:11, NASB: "But as for me, brothers and sisters, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been eliminated."

Galatians 5:11, NLT: "Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised--as some say I do--why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended."

Galatians 5:11, CSB: "Now brothers and sisters, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished."

What does Galatians 5:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verses, Paul has strongly condemned the idea that anyone must be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. He made his position crystal clear. Only faith in Christ can make anyone righteous before God (Galatians 5:6). As part of this, Paul—perhaps only as a figure of speech—asked why the Galatians would think of him as their enemy for telling them the truth (Galatians 4:16).

Here, Paul addresses what might have been an alternative rumor. Based on this verse, it appears someone had been spreading a claim that Paul taught the necessity of circumcision. This may have been one way the false teachers gained acceptance in the Galatian churches: by suggesting that their message was the same as Paul's, and that Paul required men to be circumcised to be saved (Galatians 2:4).

Paul makes clear that he teaches no such thing. After all, that is exactly what those persecuting Christians want Paul to say. If he were preaching that men must be circumcised, the Jewish religious leaders would stop persecuting him! The logic here is direct: Why were these leaders persecuting Paul? What were they so angry about? Paul describes it as the "offense of the cross." The Judaizers were furious because Paul insisted that we can do nothing by our own human effort to save ourselves. Christ paid for all our sin on the cross. The cross completely satisfied all of God's demands for payment. Period (Galatians 3:23–29).

For those still attached to the law of Moses, that made the cross a scandal—a stumbling block, meaning a great offense. If Paul were really telling Christians they must be circumcised, that offense would be gone. Paul was saying just the opposite. The offense of the cross remained.