Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 23, 1959


Robert H. West, Hemet, California

"The Bible says not to judge, and you are judging me."

This is a statement heard often by Christians when trying to teach one who is wrong religiously. But first of all, is it true that the Bible forbids judging in every instance?

In Matthew 7:1-5 we find one infinite prohibition against a type of judging: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." It is clearly seen that this passage does not forbid anything but "hypocrite's judgment." That is, judging another when the judge is at fault himself. Note that the man being judged in the passage had a "mote" or fault that needed to be corrected. Somebody needed to point out that fault, but one who is in fault himself is forbidden to do so. Therefore, this passage cannot be relied upon as a blanket prohibition against judging.

Another type of judging is condemned in John 7:24: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In this passage we learn we are not to judge merely from the appearance of a thing. But we are here specifically commanded to "judge righteous judgment." No one can read this passage carefully without seeing that we have a God-given duty to judge! No, we cannot judge being in fault ourselves or judge according to the appearance of a thing. But no amount of theological juggling will remove Christ's command to judge righteous judgment.

Since we must judge righteous judgment, it is necessary to learn what righteous judgment is. Our Lord is eminently qualified to give us the information since the Father "hath committed all judgment unto the Son" — John 5:22. Also we know he is a "righteous judge" — 2 Tim. 4:8. What is it that makes his judgment righteous or just? Hear the answer from Christ himself: "I can - of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" — John 5:30. If, like Jesus, we judge our fellowman as we hear from our Father in heaven, not seeking our own will but God's will, our judgment will be righteous. This is done by comparing the things believed and practiced religiously with the Bible and righteously judging them to be right or wrong in the light of revelation. We should cultivate the habit of judging others and ourselves from the word of God, for it will be this "statute book" by which we shall all be judged in the last day — John 12:48.