Galatians 5:12
(KJV) I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
(1611 KJV) I would they were euen cut off which trouble you.
(1526 Tyndale) I wolde to God they were seperated from you which trouble you.
(1382 Wycliffe) Y wolde that thei weren cut awei, that disturblen you.
Counterfeit Versions
(NIV) As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
(NASV) I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
(THE MESSAGE) Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!
(NLT) I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
(ESV) I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
(CEV) I wish that everyone who is upsetting you would not only get circumcised, but would cut off much more!
(1901 ASV) I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision.
(NLV) I wish those who are so willing to cut your bodies would complete the job by cutting themselves off from you.
(HCSB) I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!
(NCV) I wish the people who are bothering you would castrate themselves!
(RSV) I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!
(NAB-Roman Catholic) Would that those who are upsetting you might also castrate themselves
(NWT- Jehovah’s Witnesses) I wish the men who are trying to overturn YOU would even get themselves emasculated.
Textus Receptus - Traditional Text
ojelon kai apokoyontai oi anastatounteV umaV
Hort-Westcott - Critical Text
ojelon kai apokoyontai oi anastatounteV umaV
Corrupted Manuscripts
Affected Teaching
This verse has to be one of the most sloppiest yet typical translations in the modern versions. If you will notice the modern versions are advocating castration and mutilation. The CEV advocates the cutting off of the male organ. God strictly forbids mutilation of the human body in any form.
(Deu 14:1 KJV) Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
(Lev 19:28 KJV) Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
(1 Ki 18:27-28 KJV) And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. {28} And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
Since the Gnostics believed in castration and mutilation of the body, it is not surprising that this teaching has been maintained by the modern translators and their bootleg versions. We can read in 1 Kings 18 when Elijah challenged the false prophets on Mt. Carmel, that one of the responses the false prophets did to call upon their god was to cut themselves till the blood gushed out. The word “gushed” carries with it the meaning of “pouring out like a libation.” Nowhere in the pages of Scripture (real Scripture that is) do we find God advocating the mutilation of the human body. We were made in the image of God and are not to mar that image by any type of pagan slashing of the body.
Let us look at the Greek word behind “even cut off” to see if the modern translators are misunderstanding the meaning. It is the word “apokopto” (apokopto) which carries with it the meaning of “cut off or cut loose.” Now Classical Greek in the fourth to the fifth century BC added another meaning to this word and that is “to castrate or make a eunuch of.” In the Koine Greek, the style in which our New Testament is written, the word maintained the definition of “castrate” from Classical Greek. Now the question remains, would God the Holy Spirit, violate the Scriptures He penned in the Old Testament by advocating bloodletting from the body? Also would Paul, a trained Jew in the Hebrew Scriptures, would he write something which would violate the Scriptures? The answer, of course, to both these questions is no.
How then are we to understand the usage of this word? The word is used in Mark 9:43 & 45.
(Mark 9:43 KJV) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
(Mark 9:45 KJV) And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
As we see in both instances the Lord is using the word metaphorically. He is not advocating the mutilation of the body to prevent further sinning. He is advocating the cessation of sin in a person’s life and that comes through salvation. When a person becomes saved, the sin that can send them to Hell has been abolished through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let us look at another usage of the word which actually speaks of a physical cutting off of something.
(John 18:10 KJV) Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
Here we have the account of Peter drawing his sword and cutting off the ear of Malchus. So we see that the word can be used of both symbolic cutting and actual cutting. The question now comes down to which way do we interpret according to the context of the passage. Here is where common sense translation work takes over. If a word holds several different meanings, then how do we know which one to apply?
First of all in light of the Old Testament passages, we see that the physical mutilation of the body is sin and therefore cannot be advocated by the true Scriptures.
Next, we look at the context of Galatians 5:12 and we read:
(Gal 5:11-12 KJV) And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. {12} I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
In verse 11, Paul states that he is being persecuted for preaching the offence of the cross. If he was still preaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation, then he would no longer suffer persecution. He then goes on to say in verse 12 that he wishes they were cut off who were bringing the doctrine of grace plus circumcision. He is not advocating for them to emasculate themselves but that they be cut off or separated (Tyndale had it right) from the Galatian Christians so their heresy would not affect the Christians.
The King James Bible has it correct by using the word symbolically that these people who were bringing the amalgamated gospel would be cut off from the people. Keep in mind that the term “cut off” is used many times in the Old Testament for people who disobeyed God.
(Exo 12:15 KJV) Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
(Lev 7:27 KJV) Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
So when we compare Scripture with Scripture we can safely conclude that Paul was speaking of the separation of the Judaizers from the Galatian Christians to prevent an incursion of false teachings. Once again we see how the King James Bible has it correct by not advocating the mutilating of the human body.