Romans 2:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 2:26, NIV: "So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?"

Romans 2:26, ESV: "So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?"

Romans 2:26, KJV: "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?"

Romans 2:26, NASB: "So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will his uncircumcision not be regarded as circumcision?"

Romans 2:26, NLT: "And if the Gentiles obey God's law, won't God declare them to be his own people?"

Romans 2:26, CSB: "So if an uncircumcised man keeps the law's requirements, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?"

What does Romans 2:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul said a shocking thing. His specific target was devout Jewish people, who lived under the law and thought circumcision would save them from being judged by God for their sin. More generally, Paul speaks to anyone who trusts in their religious rituals or sacraments in order to be made right with God. Paul said that if such a circumcised person breaks the law, circumcision is of no value to him, at all. In fact, he wrote that for law-breakers, circumcision becomes uncircumcision—the ritual itself becomes a form of rebellion when it's not accompanied by obedience!

Now Paul goes even further with a teaching sure to infuriate Jewish religious leaders. He writes that the opposite is also true. If a Gentile—an uncircumcised, non-Jewish man—adheres to the principles of the law, his lack of physical circumcision won't prevent him from being regarded by God as one who is circumcised.

Paul is teaching that everything comes down to whether a person keeps God's law or not. This applies whether one is Jewish or Gentile. Later, Paul will demonstrate that nobody is able to keep the law (Romans 3:10). This means that everyone deserves God's angry judgment. Salvation must be found somewhere else, other than in rituals or good works (Romans 3:22–25).