Righteous by Promise: A Biblical Theology of Circumcision, By Karl Deenick

Righteous By Promise

A Biblical Theology of Circumcision

New Studies in Biblical Theology


by Karl Deenick
Series edited by D. A. Carson

Righteous By Promise
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: May 01, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2646
  • ISBN: 9780830826469

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Given the foundational importance of circumcision in the Old Testament and its prevalence in numerous debates in the New Testament, it is surprising that so little detailed work has been done on establishing a biblical theology of circumcision. This lack is even more surprising given that circumcision forms the background for some of the most hotly contested writings of the apostle Paul. The situation is complicated by the fact that the biblical material on circumcision seems to present often quite different and even apparently contradictory pictures of what circumcision means.

Two of the key biblical concepts which are closely linked to circumcision in the debates carried on in Paul's letters and the early church are righteousness and faith. In this NSBT volume, Karl Deenick shows that these two concepts are central to both the New Testament understanding and the developing Old Testament understanding of circumcision. They are held together by the unfolding promise of a blameless "seed of Abraham," Jesus Christ, through whose sacrifice the promised righteousness will finally come—a righteousness which will be enjoyed by those whose hearts are circumcised, who trust in God's promise.

Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.

"Deenick arrives at nuanced definitions of both physical circumcision and circumcision of the heart. His study sheds fresh light not only on many Old Testament passages, but also on Romans 2–4, much of Galatians, Philippians 3, Colossians 2, and Acts 7 and 15. Better yet, it suggests an integrating line of development across the canon."

D. A. Carson


Series preface
Author’s preface

1. Introduction
2. Circumcision in Genesis: The sign of the promise established
3. Circumcision in the Old Testament: The meaning of the sign developed
4. Circumcision in the New Testament: The themes of the Old Testament continued
5. Circumcision in Romans 2–4: Righteousness, repentance and faith
6. Circumcision in Galatians: Righteousness by faith in the promised seed
7. Conclusion: Circumcision, righteousness and faith

Index of names
Index of Scripture references


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Karl Deenick (PhD, Ridley College, Melbourne) is senior pastor of the Branch Christian Church, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. He is also a guest lecturer at the Reformed Theological College, Melbourne.

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.