To Judge or not to Judge, What is a Christian to Do
This has to be one of if not the most misunderstood aspects of Christianity. It is one of the most misunderstood, mistaught and misapplied subjects in all of Christianity. It is a difficult subject to present as there is much to be explained to properly understand it. But we must have a clear scriptural understanding of this so important subject. I will endeavor to do this with this study..
First, think about this.
There is virtually nothing that we do in life on this earth that does not include a measure of judging on our part.
Some examples of proper judging of things and people.
If I offer to give you a ride in my car you judge me before you accept. You must decide if my car is safe and if I am a safe enough driver to get you to where you are going.
If I offer you food, you judge, is my preparation ability such that the food is safe to eat.
Before you cross the street, you look and decide (judge) whether or not it is safe to cross.
If your child wants to spend the night with my child at my home you judge, is my home safe, is it the kind of environment that you want your child subjected to, Will the food be safe, etc.
So to say God does not want us to judge is foolish. He requires it of us. Without judging we would probably not live very long.
Now , this does not mean you have to sit down and check each detail, but it does mean you make a conscious decision. For example if a drunk person you knew well offered you a ride , you would decide it was not safe and say no. You have judged his ability to safely transport you and decided it was not.
Since we are new testament Christians living in the final age of man, not Hebrews, we will be using the new testament scriptures taken in proper context to establish our study.
One of the reasons I dislike and completely ignore headings printed in most bibles (and actually blank them out) is because they are usually incorrect. Another reason is because if people read them they may color their understanding of the subject and cause them to misunderstand what is being said instead of hearing the Holy Spirit to properly understand the scripture they are studying. These days it is very difficult to find any version of the bible without them. They are being used to lead people in the understanding that the interpreters have of that scripture.
A good example is one of the main scriptures pertaining to understanding of judging in the new testament church is usually found in the bible under the heading “Do Not Judge” which is not really what that scripture is saying but colors how most people reading it understand that scripture. Here is an example printed from one of my bibles.
” Do Not Judge
Matt 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. NKJV”
One other very important thing we must understand. Especially if English is our language. Many other languages have many more and more accurate words to explain things than does English. Tense, sex and etc are conveyed many times in the word used and not always transferred accurately into English. Because of this it is not possible to properly understand translated scripture without looking to the original word used. I recommend using the Interlinear bible because it gives a direct translation , word for word and also the Strong’s number so you can look up the original word and definition in one easy step. Of course you may even do a more in depth study .
There are Many Types of Judging
As shown above there is a judging to determine our safety, personal protection. Which is an everyday action that we do without much effort.
Then there is the judging that we are required to do if we are part of a jury deciding the fate of another. Which we seldom if ever do.
Then there is judging to determine the value of an item. Which we do routinely. We determine that an item has value to us for which we are willing to pay the price.
Then there is judging to determine what is meant by what has been or is being said.
And there are many more
So we see that We have NO choice, we must make judgments every day as we go through life here on earth. SO we can see the blanket statement that many make that we are not to judge is absolutely wrong and is impossible to follow.
Now then we must look to scripture to see what it actually says about judging and judgment. As Christians we know that we should never judge in a manner not supported by scripture. As a Christian we also should know and understand that everything we do (with rare exceptions) should aim for redemption and not to condemnation. In His own words Jesus said
John 3:17-21 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Armed with these understandings we can now look into the subject of judging and judgment.
First we must understand there are different Greek words for Judge, judging etc and we must understand which word is used and it’s meaning in the scripture we are studying.
The Greek words, their Strong’s numbers and uses are.
JUDGE (NOUN AND VERB)
1.) NT:2923 krites (kree-tace’); from NT:2919; a judge (genitive case or specially):
2.) NT:1348 dikastes (dik-as-tace’); from a derivative of NT:1349; a judger:
This is usually translated as “judge”
1.) NT:2919 krino (kree’-no); properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish:
This is usually translated as ; – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
2.) NT:350 anakrino (an-ak-ree’-no); from NT:303 and NT:2919; properly, to scrutinize, i.e. (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine:
This is usually translated as; ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.
3.) NT:1252 diakrino (dee-ak-ree’-no); from NT:1223 and NT:2919; to separate thoroughly, i.e. (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively, to discriminate (by implication, decide), or (reflexively) hesitate:
This is usually translated as ; – contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.
Vines has a more comprehensive description of these words then Strong and it is always good to use more than one reference .
There are a few other similar words that mean to try, test, prove , judge etc for things such as metals etc.
This study will not be completed here at this time. I believe this is so important that you MUST study it out for yourself. I have given you the means to begin and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. But you need to really do the study yourself to fully understand this MOST important subject that is taught wrong more times than not.
God expects us to judge all things. He expects us to use righteous judgment. Except in rare cases we are to judge to redemption not condemnation. Judging is a necessary and daily part of life on earth. Judging is not a bad thing, it is required but must be done according to scripture.
And remember— do not believe anything I or anyone else want to teach you until you have studied it for yourself with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit and are convinced you have the TRUTH of the scripture on the matter.
The teacher will be judged by God for what he teaches but YOU and ONLY YOU will be judged for what you believe.
TrueChristianity.org Charles LaFoe
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copyright 8/2013 rev 8/2017