The Bible verse usually misinterpreted

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, June 26, 2019

To the Editor:

Most people wrongly say the Bible says “Judge not.” Few verses are quoted more than Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The verse is misquoted and misused and with the misunderstanding the verse says it’s wrong in all circumstances to judge. For decades it has been the Bible verse people quote to Christians speaking out against evil to silence them. When Christians said, President Obama and the Democrat Party was wrong for supporting taxpayer funding of abortion all nine months and same-sex marriage they said Christians are being judgmental. When one runs for public office and asks for votes or someone asks for likes on Facebook they are asking for our judgment.

Matthew 7:1 is quoted grossly out of context. Based upon context Jesus is saying a kind of judging is wrong. If one reads the four verses after this verse it’s clear Jesus is warning against being hypocritical in our judgments. If Jesus was really saying not to ever judge at all, then why would he finish the statement in verse 5 by saying: “first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus tells us to first clean up our own sins and live right so we aren’t hypocritical. Then we can judge our brother and help him. There was no punctuation or verse numbers in the Bible. This was added by translators. So one verse often doesn’t tell us what the Bible has to say about a topic. In Matthew 7:15 Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets… You will recognize them by their fruits.” How can we tell good fruit from bad without judging with discernment? Ephesians 5:11 “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” If you don’t want to be judged and embarrassed publicly, don’t do embarrassing things. The Latin expression coram Deo, reminds us and means, “everything to be done in the sight of God!”

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The Bible encourages honest judging and criticism. 2 Timothy 3 says all scripture is profitable for reproof and correction! Christians are called to judge by what the Bible says and rebuke and correct. Jesus is attacking those who ignore or cover up their own sins in order to put down others hypocritically. The Bible says not to judge with hypocrisy, with haste, beyond God’s Word, outside the authenticated facts and most of all without mercy and love. Paul publicly judged Peter. Paul praised the Bereans for judging him against what the Bible said. The Bereans did what 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says to do. “Prove (test) all things: all things; hold fast that which is good.” Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” All Christians are called to be Bereans and judge and test all things.

What has been the effect of Christians wrongly believing the Bible says not to judge? According to, David Kinnaman, the Barna president, says he believes the decline in evangelism is due to the rise in the “cultural expectation against judging personal choices.” The survey found that 40 percent of Christian millennials (young adults 22-37 years old) agree with the statement, “If someone disagrees with you, it means they’re judging you.” This is about three times more than other age groups. The Barna group found that 47 percent of millennials believe it’s wrong to evangelize and share their Christian faith with people of other religions. Another reason is they don’t share the gospel is they fail to understand judgment. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5, because of the terror of the Lord we persuade. The Bible says the righteous talk about judgment. Millennials and all of us need to stop making excuses for not telling people about Jesus. “You can spend your life making excuses or spend your life making a difference!”

The second part of the Matthew 7:1 verse is more important than the first. When we judge, remember another judgment is coming! The eternal and final judgment of God! The Bible says only those who love Jesus and believe Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again have the blood of Jesus covering their sins and will escape the wrath to come!

D.D. Nave