Circumcision is a requirement from The Mosaic Law:

Any uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off from his people – he has failed to carry out my requirement. (Gen. 17:14, NIV)

However the old laws are no longer a requirement based on being saved by grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)

I understand that the Coptic Orthodox Church still practices circumcision. What is the Biblical basis for this?

  • this question is the opposite of this question Jan 22, 2015 at 18:02
  • I am asking for the biblical basis for it. If there is none and the Coptic Orthodox Church does it as a practice w/o biblical basis, this is a valid answer to this question. Jan 22, 2015 at 18:56
  • Since when do churches--even entire denominations--need a biblical basis to do things? Now I'm not suggesting that Christian churches set out deliberately to ignore biblical teaching. Sometimes, however, non-biblical traditions and practices become entrenched. Then too, in some churches (e.g., Roman Catholic and perhaps Eastern Orthodox and the Copts), biblical authority is sometimes deemed less important than the authority of established traditions, particularly when a respected leader (e.g., a pope) makes a binding, infallible decision which eventually morphs into a tradition. Jan 22, 2015 at 20:21
  • Funny story about tradition. A Christian missionary regularly baptized new converts. Nothing non- or unbiblical about that, to be sure. For some reason, however, whenever he baptized someone, he used the same orange towel to dry the baptizee's face when s/he came out of the water. When the missionary had worked himself out of a job, so to speak, and the church had its own leaders who preached and taught and baptized, what did baptizers carry with them into the waters of baptism? You guessed it: an orange towel! Don Jan 22, 2015 at 20:28
  • Rather than that Ephesians verse, I think it would be better to put in one of the verses that specifically talks about circumcision, and there are quite a few of those!
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 22, 2015 at 23:59

4 Answers 4


Actually they don't; it is derived from Egyptian culture, not necessarily Christian Coptic. The Coptic Church does infant baptism as a sign of the covenant, and you should know that the Coptic Church holds to the view that the Church is the New Israel.

  • 1
    Egypt is a majority Muslim country, so that does make some sense. But do you have any evidence or references you can show to help your argument?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 24, 2015 at 12:06
  • britishorthodox.org/glastonburyreview/…
    – joe
    Feb 21, 2015 at 17:13
  • Please edit your answer, and explain what it says, don't just give a link! :)
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 21, 2015 at 21:44

It's culturally encouraged. But has no religious rite attached to it.

Source: Uncircumcised coptic deacon

  • 1
    Though a personal source is okay, we have no way of verifying it. Can you edit in and link to another source?
    – user3961
    Jun 18, 2015 at 14:44

Funny because in Europe they ask why Americans still circumcise their sons. In many traditional Eastern Orthodox countries its even considered a protestant tradition since its so common in the states yet a non-existant practise in the Balkans. Circumcision amongst Copts is performed the same reason why so many gentile boys are circumcised. Its cultural and supposedly hygienic its medical not ritual circumcision.


The Coptic Church is the only Church remaining from the first century. They practiced Judaism from the time of Solomon, and they eagerly accepted Yeshua of Nazareth as HaMessiach. They practice the Law as given to Moses by Yehova, and as commanded by Yeshua in Matthew Ch 5:17 and John 14:15 and 21, and Matthew 23:3, when He commanded his followers to follow what the Pharisees instructed them to do from the Seat of Moses, but not as the Pharisees do themselves which was additional Rabbinical Traditions. This is in keeping with Paul's comment in Romans 3:31 "Do we then Nullify the Law through Faith? May it never be! On the Contrary, we establish the Law." There has been a whole lot of word crafting over the last 2000 thousand years, and deliberate misinterpretation of Paul, who is made to appear to contradict Yeshua. This was warned about also, as the Apostasy, and it has come just as fortold in Scripture. Everyone should research what can be found about the doctrine of the Nicolasians--there is a severe warning to John from Yeshua about this doctrine in Revelations Ch2. I think there is much we can learn from the Coptic Church which has been mostly forgotten about, but inspite of infiltration by Jesuits in the 1500's, and the continues persecution from worldly forces around them (Islam), have remained Faithful in every detail. There existence today is a Miracle, but with God all things are possible. Shalom!

  • Welcome Michael! It looks like you have a good answer here, but it would be much better if you focused it more closely on the question asked (why does the Coptic church practice circumcision) and less on tangential topics. I hope you'll improve this answer by editing it, and that you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. Oct 28, 2015 at 18:37

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