‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ Really??

October 2, 2013

by Dr. Randy White, pastor
FBC, Katy, Texas

Few verses are more quoted than Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”  The verse is almost always misquoted and misused.  As far as I can tell, no English translation has the words in this fashion.  The King James Version says “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  While this made-up version says the same as the good English translations, the fact that we so continually misquote it is indicative of our misuse of it as well!  The verse is almost always quoted (or misquoted)  in a judgmental fashion, and with the understanding that the verse gives an absolute injunction against ever expressing a judgment.

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Norm Miller

Dr. White: Thanks for your look at this oft’ misquoted verse and oft’ conceptually misunderstood, too. I especially appreciate the numerous verses regarding judgment that you cited and explained.
Of John 7:24 you noted “that we should not judge ‘according to appearance.’ Sometimes the facts call for a judgment, but sometimes the appearance is deceptive!
From that verse I would like to add that judgement is called for — righteous judgment as the last clause in the verse prescribes. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Too often in the family of God, unrighteous judgment falls. But to judge righteously calls for spiritual discernment, and that calls for, IMO, the Holy Spirit indwelling and controlling our lives. So, when “unrighteous” judgment rears its ugly head, we can know its source.
Thanks again for your missive on this important topic. I judge it to be apropos. — Norm

    Randy White

    Thanks, Norm! God bless your work.

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