Galations 5:11-12, I Wish the Knife Would Slip!

And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

//I grew up reading the King James Version of the Bible. It’s a poetic translation, but it seems to be careful here and there to shield its readers from crassness. In today’s verse, Paul is complaining about others who taught that circumcision of non-Jews was necessary, and he says he wishes such people would be “cut off” from the Galatians.

Or is that what he says? Read these verses in just about any other translation, and Paul’s passion comes alive. Ever with a flair for the dramatic, what Paul is really saying is that if these teachers are so keen on circumcision, he wishes they would let the knife slip and dismember themselves! Here are a few more descriptive translations:

NIV: As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

NKJV: I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

NLT: I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.

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