The "J" Word Bible Study

A short Bible study explaining when it's appropriate for Christians to judge. It may not be what you think!

Before working through this Bible study, read the 1-minute introduction: 4 Times Christians Should Judge. It explains four times when Scripture commands us to judge people and teachings.
Sadly, the term "Judge not" is most often used in inappropriate ways. So let's take a closer look at this subject.

A short Bible study explaining when it's appropriate for Christians to judge. It may not be what you think!

1. "Judge not" is found in Matthew 7, and the context of those words is critically important.

Matthew 7

✔ What specific type of judging is prohibited in verses 1-4? When are we able to judge others according to verse 5?

Verses 1-5: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

✔ In verse 6, the verse following the "judge not" passage, we're told not to share deep spiritual truths with people who would mock them. This requires judging a person's character and openness to the gospel.

Verse 6: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." 

✔  In verses 15-20, in the same chapter as the "judge not" warning, we are told how we can recognize a teacher so we can judge them.

Verses 15-20: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

A short Bible study explaining when it's appropriate for Christians to judge. It may not be what you think!

2. How do these passages (added to Matthew 7:1-5) give us guidelines for biblical judgment?

For a thorough list of Scriptures about biblical judgment, please see How, Who, and What to Judge According to Scripture.

2 Timothy 2:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Ephesians 5:11-12: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."

Galatians 6:1-10: "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath,, edited and updated in 2021

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1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you addressed this. There is tho so much to understand in this regard.