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Galatians 6:12

ESV It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
NIV Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
NASB All who want to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
CSB Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised--but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
NLT Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save.
KJV As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

What does Galatians 6:12 mean?

Paul has taken the pen from his scribe to write the ending of his letter to the Galatians with his own hand. Writing in large letters, he begins to sum up his letter by repeating some of the big ideas he has covered.

First, he returns to the issue of circumcision. A group known as the Judaizers was trying to convince the Galatian Christians that they must believe in Jesus and be circumcised in order to truly be right with God. Paul has told them flatly that if they get circumcised for this reason, Christ will be useless to them (Galatians 5:2).

Now he says that those trying to force the Galatians to be circumcised are only doing so to make themselves look good "in the flesh." They are trying to earn the approval of other Jewish religious leaders by the number of new Gentile Christians they can convince to be circumcised. Paul doesn't want his readers to buy into that.

Also, these Judaizers insist on circumcision because they are afraid of being persecuted by other Jewish religious leaders. It's one thing to agree that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, but to teach that circumcision is not necessary will paint a target on their backs. Paul knew that from hard experience! So they take the easy way out and do both. Paul has taught clearly that the two cannot go together (Galatians 5:4).
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