“Judge not, lest you be judged”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #3

Categories: Misinterpreted Bible Passages, New Testament

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*If new to this series, please see the introduction.*

Today we address one of the most quoted and most commonly misinterpreted passages in the Bible, a verse usually cited to mean that people shouldn’t judge one another but meaning something entirely different:

Do not judge, so that you will not be judged, since you will be judged in the same judgment that you make, and you will be measured by the same standard you apply. (Matthew 7:1–2)

Popular Interpretation

This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, usually in a context something like this: “Yeah, he cheated on his wife, but who am I to judge? Hey, we’re all sinners, right? Like Jesus said, ‘Judge not, lest you be judged,'” or “Don’t judge me—if you were really a Christian you’d listen to Jesus when he said, ‘judge not.'” That is, the verse is often used to defend against any declaration that a given person’s behavior is wrong—frequently by the person having engaged in the behavior in question. Effectively, when quoted as such, the verse is understood as a prohibition against declaring any specific action wrong, since doing so would mean “judging” someone.

Hypocrisy, not judgment, is the problem

Often this verse is thrown around after some church figure (like Ted Haggard, for example) is found to be doing the very things he thundered against in the pulpit. “See,” it is said, “he shouldn’t have judged—he’s no better than anyone else.” Though this latter interpretation is often considered to be an extension of the former, the first interpretation entirely misses the point of the passage while the latter one nails it dead center. Despite how it appears if one stops reading after the first verse, this passage in Matthew is not forbidding judgment but hypocrisy. Yet again, we find that a text without a context is a pretext—the primary exegetical fault leading to misinterpretation is neglecting to read closely the surrounding section of a key verse.

Jesus follows up his warning against judgment with an explanation—we will all be judged by the same measure that we use. If we cannot hold to the standard we use, we have no business applying that standard to others. There are two possible responses to this statement: one, operating under the assumption that no one can possibly live up to a high standard, holds to the interpretation mentioned above that no one should ever judge anyone else, since we’re all sinners. The second possibility is that we should all amend our own behavior and live properly before exercising judgment and helping others to do the same.

The former is a popular option in today’s culture, which emphasizes “tolerance” as one of the highest virtues, while the latter is the choice actually made in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus rebukes the hearer in the verses immediately following the ones we’re discussing,

Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. (Matt 7:3, 5)

There are several things to note here: the first is Jesus’ wry observation about perspective. The closer an object gets to the eye, the larger it appears—a splinter from afar is log-sized if it’s in one’s eye. So a fault in one’s own life is a far greater problem than the same fault in another’s life—the opposite of how we tend to think. But the point of the passage is to shut up only until one corrects one’s own life. And, contrary to much subsequent Christian theological development, the Matthean Jesus actually expects that a person can do so, ultimately living in a righteous manner. (This would often be labeled “self-righteousness” today, though it is simply called “righteousness” in Matthew.)

The second thing worthy of note is Jesus point that only after correcting one’s own behavior will one see clearly enough to make adequate judgments and help anyone else correct his/her own behavior. This is a recognition of the human tendency to judge based on our own heart; that is, we tend to see ourselves in others. (The postmodern recognition of essential subjectivity is closely related to this concept.) Just like a man with a splinter in his eye, we see that splinter (only much larger than it really is—as a beam) everywhere we look. If we are arrogant, we tend to see arrogance in other people. If we are cruel, we tend to suspect cruelty in others. If we are lecherous (an outstanding and underused word—isn’t that a great word, “lecherous”? Even better is the noun, “lecher,” as in “you filthy lecher!”), we tend to suspect sexual motives, desires, or behaviors in others. It is extraordinarily hard for us to break out of ourselves enough to truly empathize, seeing from another’s viewpoint, and Jesus makes the case that it is far harder—perhaps impossible—to do so when we are not pure hearted ourselves. As long as we hold to our own faults, we will see them in everyone else. But, as Titus 1:15 says, “to the pure everything is pure.”

So the passage is actually a condemnation of hypocrisy, not judgment. Jesus’ counsel is to tend to our own behavior and attitudes before attempting to help anyone else. If we attempt to judge before doing so, our judgment will be flawed by our own “splinters.” But the passage is in no way forbidding judgment. On the contrary, it asserts that judgment, like charity, begins at home.

It is extraordinarily ironic that this passage therefore condemns those who most vigorously accuse others of “judging,” since they are themselves condemning condemnation—the very hypocrisy the passage condemns! The very judgment they condemn is precisely what they themselves are doing—they see their own splinter in the eyes of those around them. This passage would say to them, “Don’t forbid others from judging while condemning their judgment or right to judge! You hypocrites! Far from forbidding judgment, you have made yourselves the chief justices!” The whole point is that Jesus here rebukes those who judge others for doing what they themselves do—like negatively judging someone for being judgmental.

In the immediately following verse, Jesus requires good judgment: “Don’t give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before swine.” Wouldn’t this require identifying who the “dogs” and “swine” are? What about identifying the “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” whom we “will know from their fruits” in 7:15–20? Elsewhere in Matthew (chapter 18), Jesus lays out guidelines for dealing with a “brother who sins,” involving a progression from showing him his error in private to taking the matter before the whole community. In the same vein, Paul repeatedly emphasizes the church’s responsibility to judge its members (though, interestingly, not the world; cf. 1 Cor 5–6, et al.).

A Few Observations and Why It Matters

One thing that is often ignored in the “judge not” discussion is that judgment also involves (in fact starts with) a declaration of what is good. If we do not judge, we cannot praise anything any more than we can condemn it. Judgment involves making the distinction between good, bad, or indifferent, not simply declaring something to be bad. In fact, it is impossible to go through life without judging; every decision we make implies a particular value judgment underlying it. As such, in its common usage, the “don’t judge” mentality often actually means, “judge this as right and good!” While it is true that some things do not require a distinct judgment, others do require a position, and to take no position is to judge it affirmatively (tolerance of adultery is implicit acceptance of it, for example). Surely no one would assume that murder should be ignored and not condemned! Any society abiding by the “don’t judge” mantra would soon devolve into utter chaos.

Secondly, without judgment (and specifically negative judgment), forgiveness is impossible. Forgiveness assumes a previous negative judgment that is superseded by the extension of mercy towards another—and Jesus requires that people forgive one another as they have been forgiven themselves (by God). Again, this both assumes judgment and encourages a merciful response.

Thirdly, the actual message of this passage—deal with one’s own sins before looking at anyone else’s, since good judgment requires a pure heart—is critically important for understanding the rest of Matthew and even the Christian life itself. Likewise, it is critical to understand that Matthew’s Jesus emphasizes repentance and right action and assumes that once these things are in place, good judgment can be made and is in fact necessary. No one should ever let himself/herself be shouted down by cries of “don’t judge,” or accusations of being “self-righteous,” since such quotes out of context do damage to the intent of the passage as a pretext for defending behavior.

In summary, in this passage Jesus warns of the human tendency to judge based on our own faults and flaws. This warning is one that should be considered before any assumption about another’s behavior or intentions. Instead, the passage asserts that we should always examine ourselves first to see if the splinter we see is actually affixed to our own eye—and only if our eye is clean can we trust our judgment enough to begin the process of helping remove the offense from anyone else. This is an incredibly important point, both emphasizing the importance of good judgment and the steps necessary to acquire it.

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263 Comments. Leave new

  • Timo S. Paananen
    September 8, 2009 1:36 am

    The link to the "introduction" does not work (should begin with blog.jasonstaples.com…).

    Great idea for a series, BTW – looking forward to the following 1,000 or so installments.

  • Would have loved to have read this about a month ago when struggling with this issue. Very good. Points well taken.

  • Joel S. Canonio
    February 15, 2010 9:45 am

    every person has no right to judge to other person because the law differs from one culture to the other.

    • Joel, though this is certainly not an uncommon argument, it is certainly not the one upheld in the NT. The idea there is that there are certain things that are wrong simply because God has declared them so and stitched them (and their consequences) into the fabric of creation.

      • Absolute Truth brother.
        I like what you’ve said.

      • Manuel De La Cruz
        January 8, 2016 11:21 am

        Right on Joel. Proclaim the truth.

      • So True Jason. We must continue to stand for what is right regardless of the consequences and opposition we encounter.

      • I understand I am probably in the wrong place, but I happened to be curious about the origin of the phrase and found your article interesting. While I don’t necessarily agree with your theological interpretation (I am an atheist who does not know for certainty god does not exist, so an agnostic(non-certain) atheist (non-belief) ) I found, as I always find, Jesus to be an inspirational character, and enjoyed reading the article. I commented on this question because I wonder if you might have a non-theological justification for objective morality. I admit I am a subjective thinker, but you have the calmness, sincerity, and intelligence to make me want to hear an argument from you. Thank you for your time.

        • Hi Logan, thanks for the comment. The question of objective morality is a difficult one, and it starts by determining what one means by “objective.” If by “objective,” one means impersonally empirically verifiable, I don’t think one can make a strong case for objective morality without positing the existence of a deity. But if by “objective,” one means morality is not arbitrary, that facts are relevant to moral judgments, and that people can be wrong in their moral judgments, I think a strong case can be made for the objectivity of morality at least within a given community (Alasdair MacIntyre is a good place to start for that). The problem arises when one compares communities that may differ on specific moral judgments—their standards are objective and agreed upon within the specific community but in conflict between communities.

          Beyond that, the most thorough attempt to ground an objective morality above the level of specific communities was done by Derek Parfit, who argues that morality is akin to mathematics, in which moral judgments are independently true but not necessarily grounded in any divine observer. I find his assertion unsatisfying, and he provides no real argument for his case. In my view, the most compelling argument for an objective atheist morality was done by Nietzsche, who essentially bases his argument on the principles of natural selection and works forward from there. That said, his conclusion that, in the absence of a deity, the will to power is the ultimate objective basis for morality is a horrifying conclusion to me.

        • As one who does not know, I would observe that whether or not God (god) exists (?), it really doesn’t matter what I believe…at least using human logic. What is, is.

          As for theological morality, I ask myself, “what morality is necessary for society to exist.” That is the basic minimum.

          • Peter.

            I am an older Catholic, and still have many questions about my religion. I, at times, wonder if God exists, but I do believe that Christ existed; even Jews believe Christ existed. Then, I am brought back to the good deeds and teachings of Jesus which are portrayed in the Bible; and Jesus’s statement: “If you see me, you see the Father” (John 14:9). Sometimes I think, if God really does not exist, it’s okay. I think this, because the Bible and the Church teaches a good and moral way to life within society. Christ had his doubts about God and some of the situations he found himself in. And, he expressed his doubts and confusion to God, which we all should do. Christ even accused God of forsaking him.

            According to the Bible, God is a loving God, who only wants what is good for all His children, including you. With or without belief in God, I like to think we live in a somewhat moral society, which is hopefully changing for the better, as we are not perfect. Growing up, I always treated others better than myself as it is my nature. I always helped and gave to others; sometimes I gave all the money I had, because the need was great. These things were based on my own judgment (or were they)? As a parent, I taught my children the best I could about right and wrong. I taught them to be good to others. If others were not good to them, they had the option to avoid them, which does not take away from the goodness of my child, or injure either person, What do you do to or for other people? Are you kind to them? Do you care about them? I think you can answer your own question about non-theological objective morality yourself. In most of us, it is an innate quality.

            If for no other reason but for companionship, I suggest you join a Church; learn what they teach; volunteer in some of their ministries and projects. Then after a year or two, reevaluate your atheistic belief. It’s okay to not believe totally, as with many people it takes more than a lifetime. Struggle along with everyone else who is searching for answers, inside and outside of the Church. You may be surprised with what you find.

            I will pray for you.

      • LAWLESSNESS IS SIN. I am so thankful for our legal system that judges and condemns criminals who threaten our safety. Without it we would constantly live in fear. Judges were appointed in the Bible to judge righteously and justly. I agree with you Jason. Thank God for your wisdom.

        • marie markert
          July 11, 2018 4:07 am

          Have you heard youself? I didn’t hear anyone else go where you have chosen. I hope my heart is at least open.

    • GOD doesn’t have boundaries from one culture to another culture

    • God’s laws and statutes are universal; all encompassing, and therefore, not limited to man made boundaries or countries.

    • To the contrary, I believe that it is right to judge people on what they have done, and sometimes our duty. But we should also remember Micah’s admonition to “do justice [not demand justice] love mercy [for others] and walk humbly with your God.”

    • Gino Marchetti
      December 27, 2016 2:05 am

      FALSE! You are making a judgement contrary to Scripure. God doesn’t respect Man’s culture. He rejects it! ……and requires faith in His Son. Are you suggesting that God changes His righteousness to suit particular sins of a societies culture? What you are suggesting is that Man, through his culture, creates God in their image.

    • I’m new to this site. I was looking up this subject to better understand what it meant. I do understand now what it meant or means. No person is above the law, but the Law does not cover all actions, thoughts, feelings, etc.. Therefore one has to fall back on what they believe to be true and proper before they can condemn another or to put it another way, “judge”. Regardless of the culture, there is an expected way to act. And those that go against that “way” are judge, condemned, rejected or jailed for that unacceptable behavior. In short, I believe we should be more vocal in our “judging” about same sex marriage, murder, child molestation, improper behavior in public (being drunk, high, etc.). If we don’t start speaking out, “Judging”, then this behavior becomes the norm. In Law Enforcement I’ve seen about all that a person can see. Our liberal society is becoming more sick each day because people think they can do as they please and God help those that dare speak out. Then they are then “JUDGED” for speaking out against this improper behavior. We need to take the streets and society back from those that care not for what they do or to whom they do it to.

    • Duwayne Scott
      May 3, 2019 2:46 am

      The history of western civilization, both European and Western hemispheric is replete with hypocrisy and yes,
      White skin privilege assertion.

  • Hey Jason, I want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed the article, but I just need you to explain this one thing to me: If I see pride in a man, am I prideful? Here is the portion of the article that led to this confusion [not that you are confused, but I just need some clarification]:

    “The second thing worthy of note is Jesus point that only after correcting one’s own behavior will one see clearly enough to make adequate judgments and help anyone else correct his/her own behavior. This is a recognition of the human tendency to judge based on our own heart; that is, we tend to see ourselves in others. (The postmodern recognition of essential subjectivity is closely related to this concept.) Just like a man with a splinter in his eye, we see that splinter (only much larger than it really is—as a beam) everywhere we look. If we are arrogant, we tend to see arrogance in other people….”

    • Good question. Jesus’ point here isn’t to say that we always have the same problem we see in others, just that we tend to see in others what we have in ourselves. It’s an injunction to repentance, which can then lead to righteous judgment. So once we’ve removed the beam out of our own eye, we can see clearly to judge righteously. So no, just because a person sees pride in another doesn’t mean that person is himself proud. But if a person tends to see pride in others, it may be an indicator that the person is indeed proud.

      • Lucinda Carafanda
        November 14, 2015 7:40 pm

        How can you know whether you’re removed from the beam in your own eye? You’re blurring together recognizing right and wrong in our own lives and in others’ with judging them as though we have authority to know their worth.

        Once we become Christian, we are convicted in our own hearts, and we have a better grasp of right and wrong to help us find forgiveness and people who will be good for us, but we are still not in a place to judge others, because that leads to becoming blinded to the beam in our own eye. What would you think of a prostitute who came to church, Jason? Would you honestly wait to get to know her before judging her? Or what about a young single mom?

        Prostitute comes to self-righteous Christian and offers love and faith and compassionate gifts: prostitute is condemned, because we around here are pure. A prostitute’s heart could never be as pure as a virgin who has followed God all her life, right? (Take a look at Matthew 20:1-16)
        Prostitute comes to Jesus and offers love and faith and compassionate gifts: prostitute is forgiven and told to go in peace. (Luke 7:37)

        Again, I hope your judgement is as spotless as your supernaturally pure heart, because one day that same judgment will be used on you.

        • 1 Corinthians 5 answers your statements… Don’t judge people outside; that is for God v13. But in all verses that call us to help our brother/sister you must show proper judgement. (1/2 Timothy, Titus). In v3 of 1 Corinthians 5 Paul shows that he has passed judgement over someone who is sinning who is of the church. This passage uses the same Greek root word krínō as Matthew 7 for the word judgement/judge. Is Paul wrong here? No, by the spirit he has made an appropriate judgement. We must understand that the bible says that those that follow Jesus (truly follow) hear his voice and follow his commands. If someone says they follow Jesus but they are a prostitute(and continue to do so) are they following at all? The word “repent” actually means to turn away from or change ones mind… This is why we are not to be deceived in 1Corinthians 6:9-10… We are not to be deceived about those who say they follow or are we somehow deceived about someone who says they don’t follow Jesus Christ?

        • Julie LaBauve
          June 5, 2017 7:42 pm

          I think what Jason is saying is that instead of thinking judgement is negative it is positive, too. To judge someone or an action, you should not judge at all if you behave in the same way. If you live your life without making careless mistakes, or committing. crimes, judgements should come to help those who may need guidance to a more acceptable, appropriate passage to ultimately please God. We are all sinners but if I hadn’t met people along life’s journey who strived a better life for themselves no telling where I might be.

  • I see. Thank you. Again, excellent article Jason.

  • […] plentiful on the web, for instance:  Provocative Bible Verses: Judge Not Lest You Be Judged or  http://jasonstaples.com/blog/2009/misinterpreted-bible-passages-3-judge-not-lest-you-be-judged-2… […]

  • Jason – thanks for this article – it helped me compress the space to explain and you offered some perspecitves I hadn’t run into. One of the best realizations is that Jesus didn’t denounce the judging of another – just the sequence of taking stock of your own house first.

    What else did I like – your side trip to lechery. I find curiosity to be a fun trait.

    Looking forward to reading other posts.

  • Jason,
    You nailed it. Excellent argument with supporting facts. My oldest son threw the “I don’t judge others” at me and I couldn’t convince him he was missing the point of the Jesus quote. I tried to explain to him that warning a sinner was a duty and a good thing, however my explanation fell on deaf ears. I will send him your article and see if he might change his opinion. Thanks.

  • You can clean your own house as best you can and you should but all…ALL men fall short of the glory of god. You and I are sinners we can judge the behavior but not the man he is as good as us.I would rather help when I can and take comfort in knowing only god can truley judge me.

  • Anyone who tries to twist one of the actual noble quotes in the bible is probably just looking for an excuse to pass judgement on gays, mexicans, adulterers, or whatever “sinner” you want to feel morally superior to. The verse is clear: You are not god, so don’t act like you are God and judge other people because they will be judged by God when they die. Jesus also repeasted this verse in a different way later on when he said only a man without sin can cast the first stone. Again, he is saying man has no right to jugde another because he has sinned himself. So no matter what, judging is hypocrisy.

    • Your comment seems awfully judgmental.

      • LoL…judgmental indeed!

        • Josh, in another passage, Jesus requires good judgment- “…judge with righteous judgment” -John 7:24b
          Jason’s explanation is the way to reconcile Jesus’ commands to do both.

      • Manuel De La Cruz
        January 8, 2016 11:52 am


      • Bleumoon Damaske
        June 22, 2018 11:49 pm

        Can you truly judge what is “awfully judgemental” without being an awful judger yourself? (bud;dum chummp!) 🙂 …just kidding i found that your response to be perfectly said and hilarious!!! But setting all silliness aside, I can see Josh’s point, because, its not unreasonable to assume that this gives way to such acts of discrimination, that can be justified as “good” judging, which in reality is not “objective” thinking but rather “subjective” to what you believe to be
        good , and what you believe is condemnable,, these beliefs are based on faith not reasoning. I just wanted to comment further on a point I happened to agree with, however, I enjoyed your article and looking forward to learning more. thank you!

    • you really missed what Jason was saying. We all judge, it’s in our nature, and without it we cannot give forgiveness. If we didn’t sin then there would be no reason for Jesus.

    • Barbara Mangini
      September 16, 2018 2:55 pm

      Thank you, Josh. My take, too. The word sanctimonious comes to mind. Again, thanks.

  • As parents, we need to “judge” our child’s behavior and correct them. There is a difference between saying to a child “you’re just stupid” (judgment of the child) and saying to a child,”Wait a moment; what you did was wrong. [This] is what is right.” (judging the behavior not the person).

  • “I love you, but I do not approve of what you said or what you did or what you are doing now.” Another way of bringing correction without “judging” the person.

  • Ok, if Jesus believed as you intend that scripture to be interpreted then why did he break bread with a Roman tax collector & accepted a prostitute, Mary Magdalene, into his close group of followers. In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “17 … They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” How can a person witness & call a sinner to repent, if judgement by man is put upon their past sinful actions prior to their acceptance of God’s saving grace?

    • Well, it’s meaningless to talk about repentance until the actions needing to be repented of are judged as needing of repentance. To say someone is in need of repentance is to judge that person’s actions in precisely this manner.

      It’s also worth noting (although ultimately unrelated to your question) that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, and it was not inherently unlawful to be a tax collector.

  • Victor van der Vyver
    March 10, 2013 4:03 pm

    Can i judge somebody for smoking? Since nowhere in the bible it is mentioned ?

    • You’re going to judge things one way or another. The question is whether your judgment is right. If you’re using the Bible as your standard, smoking is not sinful, though it’s not wise either.

      • The bible says your body is a temple and you shouldn’t do anything that would harm it – smoking is harmful. I cannot give the verse, but I remember my mama quoting it to me.

        I’m going to be judgemental because I’m stating what I feel to be true in my own heart – and we are all guilty of judging one another because we listen to our own conscience to measure others. There’s not a man alive today that is worthy to judge another man. Everyone has sin, and sin isn’t measured. Prostitution, smoking, cursing, greed, resentment, being judgemental, or being a hypocrite – sin is sin. Each person should listen to the convictions in there own heart and strive to do what they believe to be right by God. Again, there is no man worthy to do that for you. If a man believes he is righteous in today’s world – well, that’s just laughable. Vanity, materialism, self-righteousness; take your pick. We all have sin, which excludes any man or woman from interpreting how GOD and his holy son intended for us to behave. Remember, the bible was written many years ago. It was a different world back then. Sure we are supposed to behave in a way that we don’t shame our God, but no one is capable of telling you if you are good or evil, for we are all sinners. No saints among us. Listen to your own heart, and if God is in it, you will know what is right or wrong.

        • This entire comment is based on the premise that no one can be made righteous, which directly contradicts one of the central premises of the gospel proclaimed in the New Testament. You can of course feel free to believe what you want, but don’t mistake what you’re saying for anything resembling what is said anywhere in the New Testament. There is a big difference from “all have sinned” (past action), which is what the New Testament says, and “we are all sinners” (present condition), which is what you are saying here.

          Jesus does say not to judge until one has removed the beam from one’s eye. But he does not say that the beam cannot be removed and therefore no one should ever judge. He finishes the passage by telling the hearer to remove the beam and then to judge (“you hypocrite, first remove the beam from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”)

          • So you are saying that there are men without sin? Or, are you saying you can sin all you want and ask for forgiveness and all is good? What is your point here? For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Who has been “made righteous” among us? If there is a righteous man it is a temporary state of being. He will sin again. Only God and Jesus are without sin.

  • Thank you for absolving me of my responsibility to not judge people. As such, I now judge you. You, sir, are an arrogant prick trifling in matters in which you have little to no understanding. In real modern world speak, they’re called civil rights. Buy a civics book. Read it. If you are not a state or federally appointed US judge, you, sir, have no right to pass judgement on anyone. And for anyone that is truly Christian that is reading this, be aware that this guy is pissing all over Jesus. He’s creating a fictional fantasy land where we throw out everything we know about civics, equality, and the teachings of Christ that impart kindness and understanding. By his logic, we now have a separate set of laws by which we are permitted to pass judgment on our fellow citizens without due process of the law — and worse, non-Christian brown people in foreign countries. Let’s just put them to death while we’re at it? Since we’re all so good at judging people, why not? Children are sinners too, right? Maybe next we install a religious leader as dictator, like the Iranian Ayatollah, but Christian instead! And if anyone is wondering why there are so many inconsistencies in the gospels, it’s because, for the most part, they were written a century after Jesus’s death by people that never knew Jesus or heard him speak. Matthew is highly suspect and was not likely a first-hand account of Jesus’s teachings.

    • Ken Gallagher
      August 12, 2013 11:56 am

      The ignorance displayed above is astounding and it would take longer than I have to address all the different kinds of crazy seattle is spouting.

      • Maureen McGovern
        August 20, 2013 7:32 am

        Amen Brother Ken! And amen to you too brother Jason. Thank you for this important work you do.

    • Mr.Staples, please delete Seattle’s comment for vulgarity.

      • Hi Scott, I agree it’s a message message, but i would prefer that Jason keep it on the website so we can see Seattle for who he is.

    • Manuel De La Cruz
      January 8, 2016 12:10 pm

      Please. From under what rock did you crawl up from. Wake up sinner…Repent! And let the light of Christ shine thru you. You have judged Jason. You Hypocrite.

      In Christ,
      Manuel De La Cruz

    • I’m an atheist and I can tell you, this is a really really crazy person

  • […] the subject of crime and punishment Parker distorts the meaning of one of the most mishandled Bible verses: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be […]

  • Excellent explanation! This clears up my understanding so much on the matter. Thanks!!!

  • As an agnostic passing by, it seems to me you Christians sure engage in a lot of mental gymnastics to interpret a pretty straightforward, and awesome, bible verse. Clearly you really want to judge others so you have to explain away why this doesn’t mean what it clearly says. No wonder the irritation you feel when non-Christians point out your hypocrisy. The writing in this article is what persuades me that your religion is hollow as you do not even truly respect the words of Jesus.

    • You must have missed the place where Jesus commands, “Judge righteously.”

      • Kevin Humphries
        March 1, 2017 6:34 am

        If we had several days, we could review the many routes, various languages, multitude of translations, etc., through which the “Bible” has been to arrive, in English, in our hands. It is a most amazing task which only through the Grace of God that we have what we have. For the sake of brevity, all must surely know that the original authors did NOT speak English. Let me simply say here that there is a cleaner translation of what was originally said. It is, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgement.”

        It is simply this: We humans CANNOT, I repeat, it is impossible, to look upon any goings on around us without judging. And so it should be. We must constantly be judging, good vs evil, wise vs foolish, etc. Our wise, loving God is fully aware of this and so He here counsels us to simply judge righteously. What is righteous judgement? I’ll leave that to the individual level one wishes to rise in being taught by the Spirit. I will say, however, that “righteous judgement” is generally always NOT one of condemnation. We may view another’s action and not only gain knowledge, but learn wisdom. As in, “Hmm, I don’t thing that is something I wish to do in my life, or Hmm, I observe this in that person’s life and I don’t think it would be wise to have him as a bosom buddy.” Righteous judgement is almost always not one of condemnation, but of love, great compassion, and understanding. Unless I have been appointed as the official and actual “Judge, Jury, or Executioner”, then condemnation is above my pay grade. I’ll leave that for He who will do so at the appropriate time.

        I have endured so very MUCH in preaching and writing of many who have tried to explain away, saying, in effect, “Well, He said this, but He really meant that, but we should do it anyway, but we shouldn’t do this, but…”

        Isn’t is all SO very much easier to understand and share with others when we simply know what was actually said? I’ll leave it with that. No more excuses or preaching is necessary. That’s the way it usually is. Simple.

    • Jack, as a Christian passing by your comment, I must say: you non-Christians are apt to interpret a pretty straightforward and awesome bible verse by itself without taking into account other scripture for balance. That is a way of not facing your own sinful behavior. Clearly you really want to avoid judging yourself, which you should do before D-Day when God will do it for you (if you have not done so yourself).

      You have judged Jason with your accusation “you do not even truly respect the words of Jesus.” You, sir should respect all the words of Jesus, such as his command to “judge with righteous judgement.”

  • I have always looked at this in a different way. I’ve been impressed by your analysis and I wanted to run this by you.

    Judgment always seemed to me to mean two things.

    1. Identifying an action that is wrong.
    2. Punishing the person for doing the action.

    As a Christians I feel it its important for us to be able to express what is sinful. A judge hands out a sentence, I am not the judge so while I am obligated to let someone know they should change their behavior I will not act against them for it. Does this make sense or have I missed the boat on this one?

    • Generally speaking, the approach taken in the New Testament is that Christians are responsible to learn what is just and right and then to 1) assess and correct their own actions and 2) rightly assess and teach/correct the actions of others as a part of the the proclamation of the gospel. Within the church, these judgments may come with consequences—those who engage in certain behaviors are to be dismissed from fellowship, etc. But those outside the church are not to be persecuted or punished in any way, because they are effectively outside the jurisdiction of the church. The church is instead to set an example of love and service for those outside and leave any punishment or condemnation to God.

      • Sandra Peterson
        April 21, 2017 7:06 am

        Thank you for your blog post on this verse ! I needed more understanding after a meme post of it on my FB page. After this reply of yours I started pondering about ” THE CHURCH” being in reality is each individual who is born again and our bodies are the Temple of God. So many different groups of believers in buildings (so called CHURCHes) fellowshipping and behaviors disciplined in so many various ways. excommunication & shunning. Jimmy Swaggart & Jim Bakker were treated completely opposite (loved/shunned) by many friends ! Men make so many rules, policies & laws for people ? No wonder the unsaved think they are crazy. Thank the Lord for his HOLY SPIRIT that brings people to repentance anywhere & at anytime ! I was saved in my Home…brought up just with knowledge of God & Jesus ( family nor I ever owned a bible ). Met a lady on bus & invited to Bible study & was filled with Holy Spirit for 3 days. Euphoric. Cried when I went back to normal feeling. Only stayed in that church for 6 mo. Witness Lee’s /Watchman Nee called ” The Local Church” in Los Angeles. False teachings. Got Baptised in the Holy Spirit ’09 speaking in prayer language. And have been learning God’s Word ever since “78 Thank you and God Bless, Sandy

  • Read “Repenting of Religion” by Gregory A. Boyd

    • Boyd’s work there is certainly interesting modern theology, but it’s rather starkly different from Jesus’ approach, which emphasizes that everyone will be judged according to what he/she does and the necessity to repent not from religion but from sin.

      “Go and don’t sin anymore” and “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” are the sorts of things Jesus said, while Boyd seems more interested in emphasizing the need for tolerance of sin since “everyone does it.”

      Earliest Christianity was fixated on the efficacy of the Spirit to transform people into non-sinners. Boyd, on the other hand, is another link in a long chain of reformers who takes the paradoxical view that everyone (even the redeemed) is bound to sin and that an attempt to live or expect otherwise is worse than sin itself. As I said before, we can appreciate Boyd’s approach as an interesting theological option in the modern world, but it’s quite distinct from the earliest forms of Christianity studied by historians like me.

  • Wow! you understand what’s going on here. Great blog. Fantastic, I was just about to write the same blog and you did it for me. I shared this blog on facebook. I am still going to do my own version, even though you covered everything. I think I am going to use a lower reading level vocabulary. Thanks for following God even with persecution! Seem you are carrying your cross.

  • Great work. I really enjoyed your thoughts on this verse.

  • […] so as to invite rebuke on the grounds of being judgmental. (By the way, I like what I read from Jason Staples concerning the verse: Matthew 7:1-2) I say these because I finally learned how valuable they are to […]

  • Jason- thank you so much for your thoughtful, erudite, and insightful writing and interpretation of said verse.

    I always thought people used this shortened verse very much out of context.

    I’d also like to note another use of judgment is knowing what a certain person is capable of, specifically being harmful to another human being.

    In other words, a warning comes in handy. No one has time to judge everyone’s character out there in the world.

    In fact, I greatly appreciate it if a friend knows of someone else and their character. If someone is dangerous to another person or a defenseless person in particular, (like a child or the fairer sex,) I would want to know that. To be forewarned is to be for forearmed!

    God Bless

  • I’m thinking there is a flaw in the logic that is the rationalization of permission to judge others. The quote of Jesus specifically notes that you don’t NOTICE the log in your own eye. The concept of not noticing would support the psychological use of the thinking errors of denial, projection, and shifting blame.

    While a person functions with these thinking errors they have no right to judge others seems clear by the quotes. The difficulty would lie in how can we be certain that we are not functioning with these errors if we don’t notice them.

    Judgement that identifies poor or sinful behavior is or equals discernment. Helping is not equal to condemnation. Hence the risk of becoming the righteous hypocrite. Tolerance is about understanding our own sinful nature thus having an understanding of others sinful nature allowing room for forgiveness instead of intolerance and condemnation. Tolerance should not be used as an excuse sin or that poor behavior is ok or good behavior.

    Therefore; the judge not comment would have merit as a rejoinder to certain attitudes and arguments concerning behavior while engaging Christian faith based beliefs. The speaker of the judge not comment is merely pointing out that you, as the Christian, are unaware of your own log. We must always be vigilant of our own log or logs.

  • Thanks, Jason, this is a great read with lots of great points. I am sooooo sorry that it seems there are many reading this who misunderstand your intent. It is difficult these days to try to warn people when they are going in the wrong direction and have them understand you sincerely care about them. Many tend to think you get some satisfaction by pointing out their faults when really you want to help them. Along with the “don’t judge me” attitude comes the “so you’re think you’re better than me?” attitude. This is especially true with people struggling with addiction. This is often a sign that they don’t see a way out. Which is why it appears as judgement. They are already painfully aware they have a problem but don’t realize you are trying to help them find a solution, in fact, The Solution: Jesus Himself! By the way, I hope you don’t mind that I quote some of your insights in my sermon on this subject tomorrow. I promise to cite you as a source! God bless you.

  • Good Morning, Min. Jason Staples!! God DEFINITELY led me to this site, as I am preparing to teach this evening, “Don’t Judge me (What we are REALLY saying!)!” Sir – YOU NAILED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I, along with Shane will definitely “site you as a source,” and since I am taping this as well for The Terri Graham Radio Show, as well as for one of my 4 TV Shows – I am HAPPY to have you, along with the Word of God, as a source! I, too am sooooooooooo sorry for all of the negative, “judgmental comments” (lol) against you, when you are CLEARLY explaining EXACTLY what Jesus meant! Furthermore, I agree with Leah, that you are DEFINITELY “carrying your cross!” As I wrote in my message – “Judging” is to “form an OPINION or CONCLUSION about someone (online dictionary),” – that is totally different from stating a FACT or a TRUTH about a behavior! Usually, when someone says “Don’t Judge Me,” what they are really saying is “Don’t call my horrible behavior into question, and don’t you DARE hold me accountable for my wrong doing….!” Min. Jason, what gets me is that the people that say that “Only God can judge me” don’t realize that if they are standing before God – being “Judged” for their sinful behavior and DELIBERATE wrong doing – IT’S TOO LATE TO CORRECT THAT BEHAVIOR!!!!! We can’t say “Oh my bad, Lord – I shouldn’t have continued to KNOWINGLY and DELIBERATELY do wrong – I’ll get it right the next time!” THERE IS NO “NEXT” TIME!” I’m with Brad – “To be forewarned is to be forearmed!” The Bible in I Corinthians 6:3 tells us that we will be “judging angels;” that, we should definitely be able to (after we get the “beam out of our own eye”) judge or lovingly hold one another accountable for our behavior! Let me offer an entirely different perspective: think about the people that are in hell right now – I’m sure that they WISH that people had “judged” them, meaning held them accountable (in love) for deliberate, willful, and continued wrong behavior on their part! As they are forever being tormented (My Lord), I’m sure that they are remembering EVERY person that tried to “warn” them that, although God TRULY loves them, He will not tolerate willful, continuous sinning! I’m sure that they are remembering posts like Min. Jason Staples’ and messages and sermons BEGGING folks to REPENT! You all, we have breath in our bodies NOW, we can correct our wrong behaviors NOW! If you should ever meet me, or get to know me as a person, and you see me CONTINUOUSLY & WILLFULLY doing wrong behavior, and I have not repented – If you truly, truly love me, or halfway care about my soul at all, then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE JUDGE ME! Don’t just sit there and watch me go to hell – KNOWING that if I KEEP doing what I’m doing – that’s where I’ll end up! Please hold me ACCOUNTABLE for deliberate wrong behavior, so I can repent – and go on! God loves us all, and He is NOT willing that ANY should perish! Since I’m a preacher, this goes for me first, to get it right with God – whatever He is asking us to do, or telling us not to do – let’s just obey Him! Let’s “judge” or hold one another accountable for our behaviors now – while we can, WITH GOD’S HELP – correct those bad behaviors, before God has to step in and do it for us, because, trust me, “waiting” until God judges us – when we stand before Him, is NOT the time to find out that it’s TOO LATE!! Min. Jason – I may have to bear some of this cross with you, and some of the others on this post that supports your message, but you are “spot-on” and we love everybody, and we want to see EVERYONE – including ourselves, spend a WONDERFUL ETERNITY with Jesus Christ our Lord!!! I love you all – BAM! (BAM means that “Everyone has something Beautiful, Awesome, and Magnificent about themselves – BAM!”)

    • You know EXACTLY what Jesus meant? What an ego. LOL.

    • The question is, who is more crazy, this guy, or Seattle? (a few comments up, go look!)

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! Brother Jason and all other people that are in agreement with you as you are definitely in agreement with the word of God. I too am a pastor and at the risk of even being ashamed for not truly understanding the true meaning of this subject (which thanks to you) I truly do now! I appreciate you so much for letting God use you to help people like myself who truly desires to obey God’s word to the fullest extent in order to truly help to free someone that may be struggling from the strain of misunderstanding God’s purpose and intentions of his word. I thank you again and again! And may the Lord continue to use you and bless you, for you have truly been a blessing to me!

  • Min. Jason, I posted your website, and my reponse to you on Facebook! “CONGRATULATIONS” on being an adjunct Instructor of Sociology at Duke, as well as being a Ph.D. candidate for Ancient Mediterranean Religious Studies (you go, sir!), etc. I posted my response to you, and I prefaced it by saying the following:

    News Feed
    Evg Terri Dionne Wooten-Graham
    1 min ·

    Good Morning, Facebook Family! As you know, I will be teaching my SPIRITUAL HOT TOPIC for the day – “DON’T JUDGE ME (What we are Really saying…), and taping for The Terri Graham Radio Show! Come join us and bring your questions, comments, and insight into this very controversial topic, as we will open the floor for comments – after the teaching! 3428 Bankhead Highway LITHIA SPRINGS, GA 30122! I WELCOME your comments, after you read the following – my response to the AWESOME Jason Staples, http://www.jasonstaples.com, who also dealt with this topic! In continued preparation for today’s SPIRITUAL “HOT” TOPIC – God led me straight to Min. Jason Staples post! Here goes….. And then, I posted my above response!! Bless you for your courage, Min. Staples – BAM!

  • Lucinda Carafanda
    November 14, 2015 7:24 pm

    Jason, I take it that once a person repents, he never sins again?

    That once he has found Jesus, he is in a place to condemn others?

    We can know whether a person’s actions are good or bad, but what about our own? Are we fully aware of our own sins? I believe you took this passage out of context, as directly after Jesus warned about judging, he also warned that we are quick to point out the speck in our neighbor’s eye but we do not notice the log in our own eye. One can write an article to justify judging others, but are not all authors–even self-righteous Christian writers–sinners, too?

    At what point is our heart pure enough to condemn the hearts of others?

    We should do our best to stay away from people who are committing evil actions, but the problem occurs when we believe we are in a place to judge a person for their past actions–we do not know where an individual may be on their journey with God and everyone, from young single moms to ex-prostitutes to your next-door neighbor, deserves to walk into a room and not be judged until their present actions are visible. A Christian is not sin-free, but they try their best to be; their lives are no longer defined by sin, but are still forever less than even the least in the kingdom of God (Matthew 11:11).

    You may judge your heart as pure and others’ as sinful and wrong, but I hope that judgment is flawless, because one day God will use it on you.

    • And I repeat, “At what point is our heart pure enough to condemn the hearts of others?”

      • It is foolhardy to condemn the heart of anyone. But there is no way around judging a person’s actions (indeed, Jesus commands doing so once one has removed the beam from one’s own eyes), and some actions are certainly worthy of condemnation.

  • Lucinda Carafanda
    November 14, 2015 8:15 pm

    This is deeper than hypocrisy or that a self-declared pure heart justifies judging others. We need to recognize when a person is doing bad things, and yet we also need to recognize that since we have not lived their lives, since perhaps they maybe have not even found Jesus yet, we could be in the exact same place had we not been so blessed. We are blessed that we can know the word of God and do what pleases him. That is a BLESSING–what made you come to God, both author and all you commenters here? Were you raised Christian? Did you have significant spiritual experiences? Do you realize that not everyone is that blessed? We must choose to accept Jesus into our lives, and that is a choice, but I wonder–does everyone have an equal shot at finding God in the exact same way we have? Judging others is always hypocritical, unless you recognize their actions as wrong, unjustifiable, and the potential for what our lives could be if we forget to incorporate God into every fiber of our lives (and even then we will still be sinners). We also need to love them and forgive them.

    There is no limit on how many times we forgive someone (Matthew 18:22). None of our hearts can be judged as pure except by God.

    No matter how long we have walked with Jesus, we are still sinners.

    The problem I have with this article is that it omits the love God wanted us to have for each other, and the love he has for us, and focuses on judging ourselves as pure so that we judge others, because somehow that is the only way to build the foundation for forgiveness. Forgiveness is what we ask for when we judge ACTIONS as wrong. You mentioned above that people should be condemned from the church?!? What if they ask for forgiveness? We follow God because he loves us, he doesn’t love us because we follow him. We do not inherently deserve his love. We do not earn his love. And we judge others’ actions but we still love them and we do not judge their worth.

  • Lucinda Carafanda
    November 14, 2015 8:21 pm

    Jesus also said that it is the way in which you measure others that will be used to measure your own life.

    As in, the type of judgment you use will be applied to all aspects of your life, not just the facets where you took advantage of your strong areas to condemn others who were weak in those areas.

  • Jefferson Goines
    December 4, 2015 5:55 pm

    You make good points but are excessively loquacious. Certainly we should not excuse infidelity, murder, dishonesty.
    But I found your entry after someone referred me to John 7:24. I think John 7 tempers the temptation to judge a little
    “. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”
    And “Stop judging bymere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
    I refer to judgment as a temptation because I am so prone to feeling ‘holier than thou’. That is speaking on my own. But judging to seek the glory of God is much more difficult. At least for this sinner.

    • How judgmental to label me as “excessively loquacious”!

      And if you are agreed that infidelity, murder, and dishonesty should not be excused, you have also agreed that we all have an imperative to judge, and that rightly.

  • I judge you as hilarious! Thank you for this very well written Blog. I hope it will help me in making my day to day judgments as you have explained many things the way I always felt that this passage meant them to be taken. I believe you have also helped draw my attention to my own hypocrisy.

  • Splendid! A great explanation of verses that are misinterpreted and also misused especially in the case of adultery.

    I believe most of the people who are railing against this article is in fact confusing judgment, from righteous judgment, from condemnation. I think for most people the word “judgment” invokes some image of sentencing or condemning action, when in fact a Christian is called to examine their own character before examining another. Only then can one see clearly enough to come alongside another brother or sister to help them walk away from some sin. This involves, yes judgment.

  • I’d like to add that it is God who gives people eyes to see and ears to hear. Those who are railing against this article, which is biblically sound, are blind and cannot see that they are being fully judgmental while preaching against being judgmental. Some are even name calling. I see this type of confusion all over the Christian community and believe it’s a sign that God hasn’t given these people eyes and ears to understand His Word. It is the very thing that Matt 7:1-2 is about. One cannot argue these people into having their eyes opened. We can only pray for them.

  • It is the intent of the saying “judge not lest you be judged” that is important. It is about looking down on people without understanding where they are coming from. We are all at different places. Just because you are seeing the light doesn’t mean all of sudden other will just because you say so. You see people that have been immoral their whole life and now that they see the light, you are supposed to. It doesn’t work that way. Not judging others doesn’t mean you condone what they are doing. You are just focusing on your own path to God. Perhaps in their own time, they will also. You might be even be an inspiration for them but not by acting like you are better than them.. This will only turn them away. It is always best to be humble. The path to God is not for the faint of heart. It is a treacherous journey where you may fall but you keep picking yourself and not giving up.. It is, in the end, a personal journey between you and your God.

  • Lots of interesting “insught” and comments.. I think God must like so much interest in her/his existence.

  • I am probably way off base here. I always thought that the log/bean in my eye could be a sin/trait that I possessed or a sin that was committed and affected me. If someone does something to me I tend to judge it very harshly the next time I see it elsewhere. I guess this could be a combination of the log and not forgiving people. Like I said I could be way off base.

  • Jason, I enjoyed reading your post! I was wondering if you could provide me with references, quality sources and documentation interacting with how current Christians justify the miss-application of this text. I’m actually working on this passage too as one of my class requirements in Hermeneutics and one of my goals is to show the interpretative fallacy associated with the misused or misunderstood interpretation.

  • I think I finally have it. Once I examine myself and correct my flaws, I can then pass judgement on others. I like it. Thanks.

    • The purpose is not to “pass judgment” on others but rather to help them through their own problems. Remember that the final step is to help one’s neighbor remove the speck, not to condemn it.

  • I can here because of how Journalist love to judge everyone else, but they don’t want their lives put under a microscope.

  • Enjoyed reading the Interpretations and I agree that hypocrisy, not judgment, is the problem. Aside from that the whole issue of “Personal Judgement” has been in my prayerful thoughts and calls me to be NOT a hypocrite. When I judge, I ask myself this one thing and try to live up to this:- Is the judgement I make destructive or constructive to me or another person(s) either psychologically or physically?

  • Wow! What fun it has been to read the post followed by comments that made me laugh at least a dozen times. I think Jason hit the mark, but our current “do not judge” culture cannot handle it.

  • This was and excellent explanation. I work in law enforcement and many people do not understand, just as there are laws which govern and are the basis in which we are able to determine if a person has broken or violated the law, God’s word is the standard which we are to govern our lives and assist other in adjusting to or correcting theirs. Judgement is identifying and giving the determinate to what is right and what is wrong. The concept is not to point out everyone else’s wrong, but to live out as an example that direction God has governed for their life. We aid and provoke each other to good work. Can a person who does not steal, tell a person who does to stop….absolutely, because they are able to put into practice that which is correct or righteous for their lives…..this is the beam which has come out. We tend to make excuses for things we really want or do not want to do.

    Paul also covered this issue in 1 Corinthians 5 and 6, giving his judgement in a matter of an unrighteousness brother and how they should be able to determine right and wrong themselves. Great clarity in a day which confusion is diluting truth and men are calling right wrong and wrong is right…….

    • Shannon, can a person who commits adultery, is vain, is a bully, or is a control freak, tell a thief not to steal? Absolutely!, Will the thief listen to the hypocrite? Absolutely not! We ALL have “beams” which need to come out.

      • …and once those beams come out? That’s the point here. The idea that the beams cannot be removed goes against everything Jesus taught. You may disagree with what Jesus says in the Gospels, but if the discussion is about interpreting the New Testament, that idea isn’t really an option.

        • Romans 3:10 KJV: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.

          You are not worthy to judge another, and neither am I. Yet, we do anyway, because we are human, and humans cannot be without sin; therefore, you can never remove those “beams”.

          The fact is, you think you’re “special” in God’s eyes, and that you can judge anyone who doesn’t live the same lifestyle you live. Probably a political agenda behind it.

  • I came here because the scripture has changed here and in the Lord’s Prayer. It’s changed for me at least. I remember forgive our trespasses. Debts makes little sense to me and I’ve never heard in my life irrespective of the “older” interpretation. I am coming back around again to try and understand the Jesus/God/Holy Spirit paradigm. I’ve always tried to follow Jesus’ path without ever identifying as a Christian besides when I was a child. However, the recent obvious changes in the fabric of my reality has me awake and suspiciously alert.

    I believe a tribulation and a judgement is coming. I believe I’ve been given eyes to see and ears to hear. I spent most of my life caring for handicapped adults. I try to feed the poor amd clothe the homeless through charitable giving. I have a great deal of empathy for all of those suffering in this world, enslaved my the demons running this simulation. So, that being said, I am a sinner. My nature in and of itself is sinful. Now, maybe that’s because it’s corrupted, but I can’t escape my nature, I simply can’t. What I can do is work every day to be more perfect, more Christlike and more loving in my approach. So, me judging anyone is out of the question, My intention is simply to wake people to the truth. We’ve been misled from the start about what this world is and the truth. It’s restrictred before you, not behind you. Once you understand THAT, in my case at least, real spiritual joy and comfort is bestowed upon thee. It’s pretty cool, too.

    • The prayer hasn’t changed. There are different ways of translating the Greek word underlying “trespasses” in the KJV, which is why you’ve heard different English wordings.

    • Douglas Dickerson
      February 16, 2019 9:57 am

      You are right, the Bible is supernaturally changing, look up Exodus 34:14 for example. God is a Jealous God but His name was not Jealous. But now most Bible say that it is. What I cant get over is the King James Bible I was brought up on is so different. Wheat is now CORN. Corn wasn’t even around in Israel back then. There are so many thousands of changes. But most people just blw them off.

      • This is ridiculous. The text isn’t changing. It’s your memory that is the problem. For example, you are conflating Exodus 34:14, which says, “whose name is Jealous,” with Exod 20:5, which says, “I, YHWH your God, am a jealous God.” You’re more familiar with Exod 20:5 because of its placement with the Ten Commands passage, and then when you read 34:14, which is less familiar, you mistakenly assume it has changed.

        And the KJV has never referred to wheat, because what people in the USA call wheat has always been called corn in the UK (which is where the KJV was translated). You just remember wheat because you’re an American. Again, the problem is your memory, not the text.

  • Calling a spade a spade isn’t judging. We are all held to the same standard – which is the Word of God – and sometimes it takes a quick rebuke to get us back “on the path”. I’ve been thankful in the past for rebukes that helped me turn away from sinful behavior. Galatians 2:11 – 21 is a perfect example of one believer correcting another in the Truth of the Gospel. The reality is most people today hate correction in any form or fashion. As Proverbs 15:32 goes, “Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds instruction gains understanding.” Take it from someone who has experienced a lot of correction. It is a beautiful thing to be shaped into the person God desires for you to be.

  • Doug McLeod
    May 25, 2016 8:03 pm

    “Judge not lest ye be judged “is no longer in scripture look it up

    • On the contrary, it’s still there just like it always was.

      • Jennifer Cox
        June 26, 2016 11:13 pm

        My KJV of the bible now states ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged’… I have had this same bible for over 25 years, and it used to say ‘Judge not, LEST YE be judged’… now it is different… something is amiss… I also am missing the passages where Jesus spoke in the KJV: DO NOT WORRY….. now it reads ‘take no thought’….

        something is amiss

        • I agree with you, the text is changing in the bibles we’ve owned for years

        • Yes, Jennifer, you are correct and very observant. There have been many supernatural changes to the bible in the past year from about Sept 2015. The changes seems to be specifically targeted on the KJV, which has always been the more accurate translation. (not anymore)

          This phenomenon is called the “Mandela Effect”, where Isaiah 11:6 changed from “Lion and the lamb” to “Wolf and the lamb”.

          I believe it is part of the “strong delusion” of the end times that is mentioned in 2 Thes 2:11.
          It is a two step process of the dark side:
          1) The enemy slowly introduced small changes into the bible by introducing ALOT of new and different translations. Over the course of a few decades people accepted these changes and actually favours new translations because they are written in more understandable English. The changes aren’t really critical and still conveys the correct message of salvation. The point is that people don’t read the KJV anymore but do sometimes fuss about small changes between different newer versions of the bible.
          2) Now the enemy found a way to supernaturally do slight alterations to the old KJV, while we are not looking and memorizing scripture, especially the OLD version of the bible. (No one understands the old English anyway, right?). These changes are very subtle, but in some cases does change the meaning of the scripture quite significantly. Then when people do want to reference the more “correct” KJV of the bible they will find all kind of strange truths like unicorns (Num 23:22) and aliens (Heb 11:34) etc.

          I strongly urge everyone to memorise the scripture before it is all gone. Imprint the Word of God on your heart as David in Ps 119:11:
          “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” Ps 119:11

          The Word of God should be written in our hearts. (Deut 11:18)
          But we should actually have a relationship with the living Word, who is Jesus, as it says in John 1:1-2 (NKJV)
          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

          Keep hope, as we know that the dark side loses in the end. John 1:5 (NLT)
          “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

          • This is ludicrously false, and it is difficult to fathom how anyone could believe such tripe as this so-called “Mandela Effect.”

          • The Bible has been “changed” many times over the past thousands and thousands of years. The KJV you hold in your hand has been translated many times over from the original text. Sorry to disappoint.

      • No, Doug McLeod is correct and Jason A. Staples is wrong.
        The phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged” occurs no where in any scripture that I can find, although like most I seem to remember it that way .

        The closest that I can find is “Judge not, that ye be not judged” and occurs in Matt 7:1 (KJV)

        The terms “lest ye” would only occur in a King James translation as all other modern translations would not use that term, and older translations are substantially different.

  • your judgement is irrelevant. your opinions are irrelevant. You say everyone judges, but that is a lie. Do we have opinions? Sure. that is not the same thing as passing judgement on another. Judgement requires one of two things- legitimate authority, such as a magistrate or elected judicial official- or hubris.

    If you are not an elected or otherwise legitimately authorized official – or your judgement is actively solicited from the parties involved- you have an opinion. Your “judgement” is nothing but an over extension of ego applied to your opinion.

    • There is indeed a distinction between legal judgments and those that do not carry the weight of government, but judgment does not require civic authority by definition. Any assessment of a situation involves a judgment. Opinions generally involve judgments as well, some of which may be right or wrong.

  • I thank you for the explanation. For a few weeks or a month now, I have been having this internal dialogue about judging. Going by the hypocritical, double standards of those around, it could not clearly distinguish. “Don’t judge” got stuck in my head, and I started to feel bad (guilty) for judging things that were clearly wrong, even things that I was not guilty of.

    I mean, I’m an advocate for the truth, no matter what. And when people lie around me, I challenge them. Often times, the response is “judge not” or something similar. If I were a habitual liar, and I judge others for telling lies… that would be the double standard or hypocrisy that the verse addresses. I know better than to judge people for things I’m guilty of… something inside me will not let me do that. However, when I see people do things that I know to be wrong, things I do not indulge in because I know they are wrong, I will speak up!

    This makes it all clear now! I have been struggling with this for a couple of weeks now and I feel relieved to finally understand, and know the difference. I was not crazy after all lol

    Thank you so much!

    • If you are a thief and your neighbor is a liar, you still cannot judge your neighbor. You are no better. This is just an example. I’m not calling you a thief. I hope you understand. It is indeed very simple.

  • I think the implication of the Gospel verse.is more than a warning against hypocrisy. I am inclined to believe that it also indicates the reality that we are all unique and we do not fully understand the other person and his issues to pass judgments. The Biblical verse “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) is relevant here. So, leave all judgments to He who sees the heart. We make subjective judgement based on our own preconceived notions. If we have to see, we have to achieve innocence of heart. Remember the words of Jesus, ““Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 18:3). Thus, the words ‘Judge not’ is pregnant with too many profound implications. Let us not seek to oversimplify it..


  • Oh just stop. I just love people who know what Jesus meant. What do you know? Were you there? Did you had a sit down with him? Were you him? Are you him? When someone says “who am I to judge”, it is kind of rhetorical. Does it mean that that person excuses someone of another’s wrong doing? I don’t think so.. It is almost or maybe it is -AN IDIOM!
    But, who am I to judge?!

    • The problem is that if we cannot process what the passage means by good interpretive methods, then there is no reason reading anything at all. Thanks, though, for your judgment on the matter.

  • What about when Jesus said “he who is without sin cast the first stone” and then everyone leave except him? In that moment, if your interpretation is true about clearing the sin from your own life before judging another, Jesus should have thrown a stone. But he didn’t. In fact in John 8:15 he says “You judge by human standards; I pass judgement on no one.” How does that fit into your interpretation of this passage?

    • It’s irrelevant to this passage. But in any case, Jesus’ command to the woman “go and do not sin anymore” presumes that she was sinning in the first place—that is a judgment. Jesus also follows his statement in John 8:15 with the declaration, “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you.”

      Make sure you read things in their full context rather than proof-texting a single verse. It’s an important practice.

  • Jason,
    This is great insight. Very enlightening

  • I read your blog titled Judge not, lest you be judged”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #3 at https://www.jasonstaples.com/bible/misinterpreted/misinterpreted-bible-passages-3-judge-not-lest-you-be-judged/

    It was excellent.

    I hope you do not take what follows personally, but there was one part that I found to be a stretch. That was “If we are arrogant, we tend to see arrogance in other people. If we are cruel, we tend to suspect cruelty in others. If we are lecherous (an outstanding and underused word—isn’t that a great word, “lecherous”? Even better is the noun, “lecher,” as in “you filthy lecher!”), we tend to suspect sexual motives, desires, or behaviors in others.”

    Though I do not wish to make the email a political one, I feel compelled to say that I often make reference on Facebook to the fact that Hillary Clinton is glorifying homosexuality and pandering to homosexuals for votes.

    (1) Record number of LGBT delegates at 2016 DNC | MSNBC

    (2) Former WH staffer becomes first transgender woman to address DNC …

    I assure you I have no homosexual tendencies.

    Homosexuals spread many diseases. Heterosexuals with multiple partners do the same.

    (1) Center for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/STD.htm where you will read “All gay and bisexual men should be tested at least annually for common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).” and a list of the many sexually transmitted diseases for which they should be tested.

    (2) Lesbian and bisexual health fact sheet | womenshealth.gov” at http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/lesbian-bisexual-health.html where you will see the sexually transmitted diseases lesbians can get.

    I think there no more subtle, crafty and despicable way to get votes in order to win an election and maintain political power than to use homosexuality.

    Thanks for your fine article.


  • You can be a fruit inspector, though!

  • J. Paul Everett, IE
    November 12, 2016 6:16 pm

    I thought Jason’s discussion was particularly accurate, insightful and appropriate. I will be referring people to it.

    I did not read all of the comments but did scan some. No where did I see mention of the psychological concept of “projection” because that is what is going on. And projection grows out of the “dark” side of the psyche, that is, it forms from all the things that we don’t like about ourselves. Our ‘splinters’.

    Because we are largely Unconscious in the spiritual sense, we project our own issues onto others, or other groups, or other nations, That enables us to attack them for having what we abhor in ourselves.

    We become more pure the more we realize that the Realm of God is within and without us. When we know ourselves, we will be known and we will know we are children of the Living Spirit. But since we don’t know ourselves, we live in poverty and are poverty. (I prefer Realm to Kingdom since the latter implies a physically existing space.)

    That teaching comes from the 3rd verse of the Lost Gospel of Thomas, known to the early church in fragments, but discovered in whole at Nag Hamadi, Egypt in 1946, buried in earthen jars. It has been published separately and also as part of the Gnostic Bible that contains all the codices found at Nag Hamadi.

    There are many paths to becoming Conscious but few travel them. The parable of the Sower is quite accurate. In our time, rampant individualism, greed, etc., take up our life’s time so we fail to realize who we are. In all the teachings about wealth (Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu) for instance, it is not the wealth itself but the focus of gaining wealth that prevents one from realizing that the Realm of God is within and without, encompassing the entire Universe. Our life task is to be able to hear the still, small voice within.

    Here is an example:

    When the world’s on the Way,
    They use horses to draw manure.
    When the world gets off the Way,
    They breed warhorses on the common.

    The greatest evil: wanting more.
    The worst luck: discontent.
    Greed is the curse of life.

    To know enough’s enough,
    Is enough to know.

    Lao Tzu, #46. Translated by Ursula LeGuin, As beautiful a translation as I know (I have 4), A result of a 20-year effort. It keeps both the meaning and the poetry.

  • J. Paul Everett, IE
    November 12, 2016 6:26 pm

    Addendum: I forgot to make the point that the world is off ALL the Ways of Lao Tzu, The Buddha, Jesus, etc. There have been many great teachers, all relevant to their time and ours. The West is largely Christian and Jewish. That is our Way. My wish is for myself, and each human being, to find it before we die.

  • Judge not, lest ye be judged. Jason “your ” interpretation is laughable. Judgement day hath not come yet. Hope you, as a sinner is prepared. God is our judge.

  • I believe that Jesus was telling us not to judge or condemn others, but to love one another. We are only to judge for ourselves that which is right and good. Just as Jesus did not judge or condemn the woman at the well, nor the prostitute about to be stoned, we are to show compassion. i think the passage you quote is about more than hypocrisy, it is also about agape.

  • Richard A Bates
    January 4, 2017 9:06 am

    There are several scriptures also which use the word “admonish” which is not as harsh as judgement. Rather it is the act of telling someone else that they need to correct some of their behaviour. Thus 2 Thess 3:15 – Yet count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother. In other words approach him or her and say “My dear there are some parts of your character/behaviour which I believe you need to correct as you continue in your walk with the Lord.”

    • The idea that “admonish” is “not as harsh as judgment” is mistaken. On the contrary, “admonish” simply means “to warn” or “to reprimand.” As such, admonishment requires judgment as a prerequisite. One cannot correct someone or warn someone of their behavior without first making a judgment about that behavior. Judgment is therefore necessary before admonition.

  • You are confusing judgement with discernment, discerning a situation or a person’s motives, or actions is not judgement . we need discernment for social, emotional, etc. reasons. For that you must have wisdom! But judgement, in the sense that , I’m better than you,,is what is in error!

  • You gotta love it when Christians find ways to do the very things they are commanded not to do.
    No, I get to judge you and use the O.T. to support my judgment of you; while ignoring all other passages that would render the use of that one particular passage, in ignorance of the others, absurd,. Yes, I just said all these hurtful things about you and I did so knowing it would hurt you deeply, but its because I love you but hate the sins… Uh, that’s not your line, that’s God’s line. Or, “those people” over there have different, and therefore worse, sins than we do. We’re supposed to love our neighbors, treat others the way we would like to be treated- with the exception of “those people” over there; because their sins are worse than mine, and let me find somewhere in scripture that I can take out of context to justify my ignorance and inability to understand them, and blame them for natural disasters and blame them for the missing children in my village (who are later discovered to have been eaten by bears). But lets blame them for everything that goes bad in our lives anyway because it says right here they are really, really bad (just ignore the part in the N.T. where Jesus explains this OT story differently because we all need someone else to blame. Its easier than to blame God or each other. Yes, those people over there, living next door, have brought the wrath of God upon all of us, so it is now our duty to pass laws to oppress them, strip them of their right to live next door; and lets not feed them when they are hungry, clothe them, or care for their sick lest they are able to lure us next door (which happens all the time- particularly to little kids because their sins are so much worse then ours). Lets make their beliefs and practices illegal, and oppress them, refuse to sell or rent to them, and throw them in prison if they complain, so we wont be punished for their sins.

  • I actually will be doing a teaching on this subject tomorrow, the holy spirit had revealed to me these very things a while back, but I was curious to what others may teach on this, I’m glad there are others who have solid teaching, If anyone is interested in the podcast tune in tomorrow here’s the link, A new podcast is posted every Thursday. I know for certain that God would never have sent his comforter to us, and not show us through scripture and his spirit how to judge and discern. The issue is people don’t want to accept that God has a standard and we are to hold each other accountable in love that is.


  • Why can’t one simply interpret this verse along the lines of hating the sin and not the sinner? For instance it is reasonable to say that a person should not be doing this or that sin when it is plainly being committed, but it is not reasonable to pronounce oneself judge and jury and say this person is not a Christian, that is God’s call. I think the hypocrisy point is also valid, but all have fallen short, so who is a truly righteous holy judge among us? So hate the sin, love the sinner and be thankful there is only one true judge to be accountable to.

  • Jason….You have hit the nail on the head. God revealed this to me last week, and I couldn’t get this off my mind. ! 1 Cor. 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. THE SPIRITUAL MAN MAKES JUDGMENTS ABOUT ALL THINGS, BUT HE HIMSELF IS NOT SUBJECT TO ANY MAN’S JUDGMENT; For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ…..Thank you, and God bless you!!!

  • Marva Farnsworth
    March 17, 2017 10:31 pm

    Compare: Matthew. 7:1 (Judge not); Ezekiel 3:17-19 (If God’s servant fails to warn, God holds him responsible for blood of the one who is lost); Jude 22-23 (duty to snatch them out of the fire)
    Jude wrote to a fellowship plagued in the earliest days of the Church (just like now) by false teachers who wormed their way into the various fellowships (and seminaries?) in order to subvert and influence people to “be tolerant” of sexual immorality in every form. Their goal then, as now, was to pervert the pure Gospel and teaching of Christ who came to reconcile us with the Holy God who hates sin. Jude had no qualms about “judging” the evil of these false teachers. He knew the truth and boldly stood for it—as we also should in our own age and sphere. But Jude insisted this must be done, not with harsh criticism, but “with compassion and fear, pulling them out of the fire.”
    If I see a building on fire and don’t try to warn occupants of the danger…shrugging and saying, “Who am I to judge them ignorant of the danger?” then I am guilty if they die. However, if I warn them, and they ignore me, I’ll not be blamed for their death…just very sad.
    To give appropriate warning of danger is not only kindness, it is my duty. And just think: If I have a duty to warn of physical danger, how much more to warn of spiritual danger? That is what Ezekiel and Jude both taught. Responsibility, duty and compassion are consistent with sound judgment. Let’s not confuse this kind of judgment with judgmentalism–gossip and criticism.
    Among believers, tolerance/indifference to sin is neither responsible nor compassionate… because “the wages of sin is death”—eternal death—far more to be feared than physical death.

  • actually the ‘log’ reference is not at all what you are interpreting. You are not the only person to have read the Bible. I assure you, that’s not what he was doing. Perhaps revisit literary devices, like allegory and metaphor. You are deeply confused and entirely too literal for the meanings herein.

    The relevance of log to splinter is that the import of healing yourself to be a healer is vast. You cannot really heal others until you yourself are in good order.

  • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
    April 21, 2017 9:18 am

    We will never be able to show the love of Christ to this world by judging them! I don’t know why so much of the church decided that it’s ok to judge if you don’t happen to have trouble with a certain kind of sin. We all fall short of the glory of God, and pointing out someone’s failings is only going to push them farther away! THE FIRST TWO COMMANDMENTS ARE LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF! WE HAVE NEVER BEEN CALLED TO JUDGE ONE ANOTHER! Jesus called us to love, and I for one will love anyone who God puts in my path, regardless of how sinful they are. I challenge all of you to do the same.

    • This is a very judgmental post. I suggest you rethink your position as it appears you cannot abide by your own standards. Judgment is inevitable; you will make judgments (whether positive or negative) all the time. The question is whether your judgment will be just or whether it will be unjust and hypocritical.

      • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
        April 29, 2017 3:55 pm

        You miss understand my intent. I am not judging anyone, I only wish to share loudly what I know the word says. I know that no one aside from God himself is pure enough to judge justly. 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. So you see, no man can judge. We are called to love. Regardless of whether of not you agree, I will love you 🙂

  • Georg Heinrich
    April 22, 2017 4:05 am

    Let me throw in another quote of Jesus which I think relates to the matter:

    “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6,37-38).

    This means to me that whatever we judge in other people reveals what binds us, and as soon as we accept others as they are we are released as well.

    Paul is saying the same:

    “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.” (Romans 2,1-2)

    This means to me that ultimately there is no way to judge anyone without hypocrisy, because God himself will make sure that we fail where we judge others.

    This does not mean that we should not evaluate other peoples behaviour. We have to do this in order to decide for ourselves if we want to follow their example – or teaching – or not. But not to condemn anyone.

    • Luke’s version is just an adaptation of this passage, which came first. Paul says the same thing, yes.

      But neither means it is impossible to judge without hypocrisy. You’re reading the passages backwards. What they say is that those who practice the same sorts of things they condemn are hypocrites, and unless a person is first “justified”—that is, made righteous—that person’s judgment will be impaired and hypocritical.

      The injunction is to ensure one has been cleaned up and is living justly before judging anyone else’s behavior.

  • Humans cannot judge as Jesus taught. They, Unlike God, cannot know the attitude of the Heart. Thus their judgents are based on outward appearence and more often then not Unjust. Now God Judges as The Creator with intent on restoring not dissembling or seperating but reconcilling and repairing. This is the case as He is The Great Physician, discerning and correcting a problem in the person That Has come To Him. Men if they be TRUE MINISTERS called and Activated By God and Directed by The Holy Spirit will not be novices about the Subject. To many so called in the ministry simply operate by their heaped up teachers and thus thier own understanding and lack any real Restoring and Reciciling Power to Affect The Creation. This is seen in their multitude of words and very little action or Power to see people Restored. Shunning sinners and excommunicating those who dont agree with them is their only power, a false mammonite mindset and powerlessneess of the flesh. These are those who should not be juding as they do not good only damaging others in their path.

  • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
    May 4, 2017 5:01 pm

    One more verse I’d like to throw in the mix is John 8:15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. Jesus did not come to judge, and neither should we. God calls us to himself with his love and grace, and works on our hearts when we have become his followers. He loves us where we are, and then brings us to where he wants us. That’s love, and it is freely given to anyone who will accept it.

    • The problem with your comment here is that Jesus explicitly commands his followers to judge.

      • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
        May 8, 2017 12:54 pm

        So on your death bed, are you going to look back at your life and wish that you had judged more people? I know that at the end of mine I will know that I loved the people that God put in my life, and be repentant for when I fell short of that calling.

        • On my death bed, I will know that the number of people or things I judged would be the same whether I tried to judge or not. Judgment is unavoidable and inevitable. Every moment of every day involves judgment, and every interaction with another person always involves judgment.

          There is no prohibiting or avoiding judgment. The only questions are whether that judgment will be hypocritical or not, just or unjust.

          • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
            May 8, 2017 2:12 pm

            Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends….That is why Christians are told NOT to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. C.S.Lewis
            By any man’s standards, king David would be called an adulterer, and a murderer. But the Word calls him a man after God’s own heart. We can’ not judge rightly because we do not know the heart of a man. We can barely know our own heart.

          • 1) Christians are in fact commanded to judge, and to judge rightly when they do so.
            2) There is no option not to judge. Every moment consists of numerous judgments being made, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Choosing not to condemn is a judgment in the same way choosing to condemn is a judgment. The question is whether one is judging rightly, not whether one is judging at all. There is no option as to the latter.

            For example, in this discussion, in order for you to comment at all requires that you judge the merits of what has been said so far (and judge your own reaction to it). In challenging what I have said, you have judged that I am incorrect in what I have said. This of course exposes the problem in your reasoning: You are by definition judging while arguing that people should not judge. Your position is inherently self-refuting.

            As a result, you have a choice: you can either recognize the futility of your position and concede that the only viable option is to do what Jesus says in this passage (and elsewhere) and learn to judge rightly or you can persist in self-deception and inconsistency, choosing to judge while denying you are doing so. The choice is yours, but I do hope you have good enough judgment to choose wisely.

      • Jason A. Staples. I have read a lot of your posts. Your responses are lacking. You are like a drowning man grasping at straws. You interpret Jesus’ words any way you want to, but I interpret “judge not” to mean “judge not”. So easy yet if it suits your agenda you try to put a spin on it. People aren’t buying it. Oh, and I know I’m being judgemental, but I will repent before I leave another comment.

        • You may interpret “judge not” to mean “judge not,” but you apparently do not believe in reading the rest of the passage. More importantly, how do you account for when Jesus commands his followers to judge?

  • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
    May 8, 2017 5:14 pm

    I would say that you’re getting caught up in semantics, and ignoring what I’m saying. Yes, I disagree with you whole heartedly, but I do not think less of you for thinking the way you do. That’s what I have meant when I said that I do not judge you. If we (the church) appear to hate/look down on those who think differently then us, then we are not showing God’s love. Accepting and loving those only after they agree with us is worthless. John 3:16 and 17 For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did NOT send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    • I’m hearing exactly what you’re saying. But you continue to conflate “judging” and “condemning,” which leads to the problems in your argument. “Judging” does not mean “thinking less of someone.” Judgment can be positive or negative, and it can involve correction without condemnation.

      The problem with everything you’ve said so far is that you have not properly made that distinction but have instead treated “judgment” as though it were synonymous with “condemnation.” They are very different. Jesus commands his followers to judge and to do so righteously.

      • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
        May 9, 2017 9:17 am

        John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you LOVE one another: just as I have LOVED you, you also are to LOVE one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have LOVE for one another.” The verse that you point at to say that Jesus “commanded” us to judge, is a STRETCH when he so blatantly on numerous occasions told us to love one another. I realize that I have used judgment and condemnation interchangeably, and I believe most people do. That’s the danger of focusing more on one verse where Jesus told us to judge rightly, instead of the multitude of verses where he COMANDED us to LOVE. If nothing else I would hope that we can agree that we are to love more than we are to judge.

        • Love and judgment are not opposite to one another. Jesus commands that people judge with love—he commands that people do everything with love.

          You’re right that many people use “judgment” and “condemnation” interchangeably, but that does not excuse it. Making the distinction between the two is critical to understanding what Jesus is saying about judgment when he discusses it in the New Testament.

  • Aaron Benjamin Pearson
    May 9, 2017 11:30 am

    Love and judgment are not opposites of one another. Yes, but one is enormously more important than the other.. We are COMANDED to love many times, whereas Jesus only says to judge rightly once. Everything that Jesus spoke while here on earth is extremely important to pay attention to, and when he repeats himself over and over again as he does with loving one another. We need to make that our main focus.

    • Judge righteously? Not possible. Only God and Jesus are righteous and therefore they are the only ones who should be doing any judging. We better make sure we are ready when the time comes.

      • This statement violates both the passage in question here and Jesus’ own command to his disciples to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

        The idea that no one can be made righteous and therefore no one can judge also violates Paul’s presentation of the gospel, which is all about God making people righteous. That transformation is in view throughout this passage and is a significant theme throughout the New Testament.

        That does not preclude you from holding another opinion and believing that the New Testament authors are wrong about this, but if we’re interpreting the New Testament, your perspective is not a viable interpretive option.

  • Jerry Schrecker
    June 12, 2017 11:47 am

    A collection of perspectives that I gathered over time that I refer back to from time to time…

    Jesus said that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In other words, the Old Testament law, even in Jesus’ day, was still in force and Jesus accepted it.

    You say, “Judging a person does not define who they are….it defines who YOU are.”
    You say, “Never judge.”
    You say, “Judge me when you are perfect.”
    You say, “Judging a book by it’s cover lately?”
    You say, “Don’t say anything or cause trouble, even if they are wrong. Don’t make waves, turn the other cheek”
    You say, “Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.”
    You say, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
    You say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
    You whine, “No one judges me harder than I judge myself”
    You whine, “If you can’t be positive, then at least be quiet.”
    You whine, “Stop labeling meeeeee!” (Just another way of saying; “Stop judging me.”)

    There are many times that “things” need to be said for the safety and/or well being of society as a whole. Not saying them is where the problem is. “Nice” is really only relevant to who the statement is being said to. It’s really simply just another way of someone saying “Don’t judge me.”

    And most people misunderstand these messages. They attempt to twist it and tell you that you should not judge them at all. God DOES intend for us to judge our fellow man.

    I say, “Twist not Scripture lest ye be like Satan.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

    The Church has always taught that only God can judge if a man SINS but men can (and are mandated by God to) judge ACTIONS.

    Deuteronomy 16:18-20 “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes; and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”

    Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty, but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.”

    [This means that you do NOT cast your judgement with favoritism or heed to the rich or allegedly powerful nor do you pity the poor and allow that pity to affect your just judgement.]

    Deuteronomy 25:1 “If there be a controversy between men and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them, then they shall justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.

    AND…God makes clear that we WILL be judged by the same standard that we judge our fellow man.

    This is a GOOD thing because it gives us REASON to cast our judgements appropriately and to judge justly as GOD intended. Therefore I judge others as I wish myself to be judged also. That sounds familiar does it not? As in “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yes…judgement of others DOES tie directly in with the Golden Rule perfectly.

    It is in THIS light that the quote is correct because YOUR ability to judge with JUST judgement does in fact define who YOU are as a person……and has absolutely nothing at all to do with the nonsensical liberal ideology of not judging at all. Not judging at all is Satan’s desire….not God’s.

    Romans 13:4 “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

    It is high time that we return back to judging our fellow man as God intended and return back to the path of setting forth clearly our expectations of decency and morality.

    I will not judge your sins for that is God’s providence but I WILL JUDGE your actions as God demands.

  • I have read many of the comments here and need to ask this question about the passage that no one seems to be addressing.

    Rather than looking at this from a do or do not perspective, can the passage be referring to not judging motives behind an action rather than the action itself?

    Because there certainly are things a Christian is required to judged. Such as adultery those sins specifically declared as sin because God has declared them sin.. yet there are those things that may or may not be sin depending on the circumstances. And is it judging the motives that we are being warned against in this passage rather than judging the actions themselves? Let’s take Westboro Baptist As an example. We certainly see many of their actions are sinful. But are we judging them on their actions or their motives?

    • Talitha Cumi
      July 30, 2017 6:41 am

      To Mark Cox: Motives result in ACTIONS. If Westboro Baptist is under scrutiny for their actions (and I have no idea what the Westboro issue is about), then you can be sure that they had impure motives that led to these actions, This is an axiom of the law which is stands true.

  • We are all sinners. Thus, passing our own judgment on another is in fact hypocrisy. Judgment is reserved for one entity alone, There is i believe 37 passages touching specifically on the issue of one judging another. It is frowned upon. For better clarity, sit down and read Paul’s epistle to the Romans several times. It will become clear what is sin and what is not. It will tell you how you should live your life. But is also quite clear that judging another in any respect is sinful. Stop trying to play God.

    • You are gravely mistaken. Your first statement goes against the gospel put forward in the New Testament, which nowhere says, “we are all sinners” but rather says “all have sinned.” The gospel is the good news that those who once were sinners can be made into righteous people who are no longer sinners. This is why it refers to a time “when we were dead in our transgressions” (Eph 2:5) rather than suggesting that everyone remains in their transgressions.

      Moreover, your statement itself is judgmental, demonstrating that your interpretation is both flawed and hypocritical.

    • Talitha Cumi
      July 30, 2017 6:27 am

      To Bilbo Baggins: The entire Bible is about judgments of many types, starting off with a band with Adam and Eve. Genuine Christians will face a different judgment (pertaining to their stewardship) than the condemned (The White Throne Judgment). God gave Israel JUDGES over the people, in case you’ve missed this fact. We judge and are judged one way or another on a daily basis: Our employers, acquaintances, etc., all make judgments about us, and we judge them (whether or not we admit this to ourselves).
      I openly ask God to judge me and correct me daily because quite often I am blind to my own sins. This practice has enabled me to righteously recognize when others are transgressing, and, if given the opportunity, I will correct them. The universe itself is governed by LAWS; how much more so the people of God… and the non-regenerated, hardened enemies of the Cross?

  • haydene dunsford
    June 26, 2017 11:27 pm

    as always any topic/ saying can come under scrutiny but Christ’s words really have to be taken within the whole concept of being a TRUE christian and as he said to be like me you will never achieve even if you were born again. it is about striving to be perfect like the father in heaven is failure in any aspect of life is the road to redemption

    • Jesus never said anything close to “you will never achieve” being like him. In fact, he said the opposite.

    • Talitha Cumi
      July 30, 2017 6:32 am

      To Haydene Dunsford: I agree with Jason. The whole point of sanctification is to transform the ‘old man’ into the ‘new creature’ who has the ‘Mind of Christ’, Philippians 2:5. Other verses mention our goal as new creatures: to become like the Master.

  • You choose to interpret the bible with the consistency of Trump. Everything has it’s own interpretation based on what you are attempting to sell. Most attempt to use interpretation based on a literal translation rather than a continuous one. Finally, most only understand English language structure of thought. Consider most ignore, no?

    • It’s not clear what you’re trying to say in this comment. Could you try again in English?

    • Talitha Cumi
      July 30, 2017 6:16 am

      To RJ Ti: Trump has openly admitted that he is NOT a genuine Christian, only a church attendee. His honesty in this respect is refreshing. Why you drag him into this discussion is questionable at best. Jason is not selling anything; God’s Words and ways cannot be sold or bought, a good example being Simon the sorcerer in Acts Chapter 8.
      The Scriptures are unabashedly literal; even Christ’s parables were related to literal, everyday events like the sowing and reaping of crops, the breaking in of thieves into a household, the receiving of seed (The Word) into different types of soil and ground, etc.

  • Talitha Cumi
    July 30, 2017 5:59 am

    It is very common for this ‘judge not’ verse to be thrown around by people who are unsaved, i.e., not born again, and know nothing about the FULL COUNSEL of God. Actually, it’s normally the ONLY Bible verse they know! I have heard ‘Churchians’ use this verse as well because it’s all they have to fall back on, as they are not interested in knowing what the Word says in its ENTIRETY. They sit and listen to a ‘pastor’ and take his words over the words of Christ. (the traditions and teachings of mere men, which Christ strove against through His entire ministry.
    Many of these church leaders are not born again themselves, so can we count on them? No!
    . Jason has expounded Jesus’ Words correctly. Christ cannot contradict Himself, and, none of the epistles contradict Him either.
    Christ is going to the very heart of hypocrisy here; I totally agree with Jason.
    Someone asked why Christ sat with a Roman tax collector. Newsflash, read it again; the tax collector was a Hebrew…..MATTHEW HIMSELF!!!
    And Mary the hooker REPENTED and was born again.
    The total ignorance of Scripture in today;s apostate, end times ‘church’ is appalling. However, Christ said it would be so.
    You can only judge righteously if you have walked with Christ and He has rid you of your own sinful habits,
    Every day courts JUDGE defendants based upon the preponderance of evidence that the defendant has committed the crime. Our civil and criminal justice system, albeit loosely, have been put in place by the laws Moses received from God.
    If we followed the Old Testament penalties for crimes that we now take rather lightly, the crime rate would drop exponentially. The death penalty was given for crimes that we now give a mere 5-10 years for. Read Deuteronomy carefully and you will be shocked to see what crimes carried the death penalty (and still do, one way or the other, because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

  • Great blog post. So true- but one question, why the heavy emphasis on the “perspective aspect” of the log and splinter being the the same sin or problem?

    I know Paul said it was sometimes the same sin that exposes hypocrisy (Romans 2:1), but this passage in Matthew 7 could just as well be speaking about a larger sin (log vs twig), instead of the same sin viewed with different perspective. Yes the perspective thing is cool and preaches well, but why present it as though that is the only, or obvious meaning? It seems more obvious from the passage that one sin is simply larger than the other in reality-not perspective.

    I love you brother, and love this post–Not trying to be picky, just wondering if there Is a contextual or historical reason you leaned that way?

    • I focused a good bit on the point about perspective here because that’s a major point of Jesus’ discussion here. The idea that one sin is larger than the other would presume that one person is much larger than the other. Beams do not fit in eyes, but splinters do. Splinters, however, are effectively as large as beams when they are in one’s own eye. And, as Jesus warns in this passage, the one who passes judgment before cleaning out his/her eye will simply see that splinter in everyone else. That concept and metaphor governs much of the meaning in the passage, so I spent a good bit of time on it in the article for that reason.

  • P.S. I did not read all the comments, I apologize if you already answered this. Related to the first question, I know “the same measure” could mean the same sin, but you can measure different items with the same instrument.

  • Paul writes in 1 Cor 5:11 “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

    How were the followers of Paul going to obey this without judging sexual immorality among them? The second part of verse 12 implies that they were already used to judging those in their own ranks. In today’s world with free access to sexual immorality, how are we in the church going to keep ourselves pure if we don’t judge, starting with our own selves as in 1 Cor 11: 30, 31.

  • Jason A. Staples
    Posted at 20:36h, 12 July Reply
    ‘I see the problem now; you’re looking for the exact English words “lest ye,” which is the old wording from the Tyndale version that has continued to be quoted for centuries. The English word “lest” just means “so that not,” so more modern translations (including the KJV) use the more colloquial phrase. But the verse is still the same it always was; nothing substantive has changed.’

    Ayko: Then explain why the old wording of ‘lest ye’ is also not in the Tyndale versions anymore including the older publishings (in libraries for example) that once had them…

    • …and how is changing the Lion (that feasted with The Lamb) to a Wolf making it more colloquial?

      • …and also, the phrase, ‘lest ye’, has not been used for centuries so why begin to translate with a ‘better colloquial’ term now, if that’s what is happening. The publishers deny any such ‘colloquial’ changes.

        • No publisher denies that modern versions have changed to account for differences in the English language today versus in Tyndale’s day or in the 17th century. Even the preface to the 1611 KJV explains that they are publishing a new translation to update the Bible to more colloquial language than the versions available in their own day (such as Tyndale). This process needs to be done regularly because languages change over time.

      • That’s a simple matter of a passage regularly getting misquoted. It has always been the wolf that will graze together with the lamb, while the lion eats straw like an ox. That’s the case in all the Hebrew versions, and that’s how the translations worked. But because of Jesus’ identification in Christian iconography as “the lion and the lamb,” many Christians have misremembered and misquoted Isaiah due to memory interference. Nothing has changed in the text here.

    • It hasn’t. See here for example: Tyndale New Testament.

  • This is terrible rhetoric and the worst type of Christian sin — Pride: to presume to know better than yer own God. I’m not judging you or condemning you, I’m critiquing yer essay., For example, you substitute the act of murder for the condition of being a murderer. The Biblical passage says nothing about judging acts — “Judge not child molestation lest child molestation be judged” does work as well as “judge not child molesters but do judge child molestation” — which by default puts child molesters in a bad frame, but not one of yer making, one of God’s making. As an atheist and believer in quantum physics and a buddhist (not the “religion” of “Buddhism”) I won’t quibble with dogma. As a veteran wordsmith, I just wanted to comment on the semantics and rhetoric, which I judge to be deeply flawed. I would not judge you as a person based on that, or on anything else, even if I did know anything else about you. Apart from one commonly embraced translation of Luke (King James’ s committee’s one where Jesus forgives the prostitute because she needs and wants forgiving) the relevant portion of Matthew is probably my favorite piece of Christian dogma. I embrace it as an iteration of humility — no one is better than me, no one is worse than me. Even if they were, how would I know that as I am no one to judge others. Period. Judge not. Not, Judge not except when and or it…. Just don’t judge others, full stop. Actions, on the other hand, are judged by whatever social contract any given society chooses to live by. For me to condemn all murderers would be for me to say that a gal who murdered Hitler in 1928 was “bad.” Admonished in all dogma not to kill, humans do a hell of a lot of killing. Thus, the need for social contracts and governance, which are meant to, though they usually don’t, to relieve all of us of any need to judge anyone on an individual basis. I don’t need to judge or condemn a murderer; it’s illegal because the survival or our flawed and failing species needs it to be illegal. Not because I don’t like it. Thank you for inspiring me to think fresh thoughts. Best to you.

    • This is total nonsense and rife with errors.

      The passage does not say “do not judge others.” It says “do not judge.” Full stop. Then it explains what is meant by this controversial statement, explaining that if a person is to judge, that person must first judge him/herself and clean him/herself up before being able to judge rightly as Jesus commands everyone to do elsewhere. Your distinctions are not present in the text.

  • Wilbert Tomlinson
    September 19, 2017 3:48 am

    Judging others can be risky as
    many times “things are not what they appear to be” in our human perception.Only God;s perception is infallible so let us leave that judgement to him.
    Practical example: I have tendonitis in my right arm,Extremely painful but not so bad I cannot attend Church.While in Church the suggestion is made to get u`p and hug each other.Brothers and sisters come charging at me to give me a hug….I keep dodging each one not wanting to suffer extreme pain. to the individuals I am dodging I could be judged as proud,arrogant and disobedient. But they are wrong I am simply trying to avoid pain! How would God judge me? Quite differently because he knows my heart is clean and my shoulder is hurt. In the matter of judging or reprimanding others it is useful to remember that things are not always what they appear to be!

  • I don’t know who is more pure now, you or Steven L Anderson.

  • If we are to say nothing to address non-christian behavior, especially with those who claim to be believers. Are we then not holding each other accountable when we, as christians, fall into sin. In the sermon on the mount, the theme and context is behavior which reveals the heart and intent of the individual with regard to their actions. This behavior exposes whether or not that particular individual is truly following the guidelines of the bible, or if they are truly not a believer.

    I am often confronted by people, christians and non-christians, as to what my opinion on this or that. Or, whether if they do this or that, God is displeased and their going to hell.
    what i often say is that, as a christian, (Christ-Follower) it does not matter what “I think” but what does God’s word say about such and such behavior. My charge is to raise up God’s word and this teaching, not provide an opinion on a matter.

    Pulling the beam out of my eye is a reminder to take care that we who, from a humble and loving standpoint, are pointing out something to another, are ourselves examining whether or not there is something in our life which needs to be addressed. Even the strongest among us are made fools by the Devil. But to simply ignore or not address something against God’s word makes a lost and dying world feel secure in their fallen state. Remember, we are still in an imperfect state, bringing a perfect message to a lost world. That’s why when we stick to God’s word for answers and rebuke, we do it from a standpoint that we all are sinners saved by is Grace.

    A bit wordy, but nonetheless important.
    God’s Least In The Kingdom Sinner Saved By His Grace.

  • you people are playing with the definitions of words and confusing the entire topic.

  • I think that, maybe first, before talking about a topic. First key/vital words must be defined specifically. did Jesus define exactly what he meant by the word ‘judge’?

  • Does anyone know what Jesus meant by the word ‘judge” I ask myself honestly.

  • I think this is the secret key: **judge RIGHTeously”/Correctly vs judge UNRIGHTesouly/Wrongly. Yet having said this, it is important to understand first what is meant by the word ‘judge’ and what it entails. Let me see if I can clear up this confusion caused by the vague definition of a word with a paragraph; (But first, I will tell you what ‘judge’ does not mean nor entail: to judge does not mean to condemn nor to punish nor to lift oneself up over another figuratively speaking). Ok, now with the paragraph:
    First I want to clear something up; One man cannot know the heart nor the entire life experiences of another, and so therefore, is rendered incapable of condemning another man for his sins, but even if a man did know the entire story and the man sinner in question, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone…”and it is well known and accepted that there is not one man without sin. Now all this refers not to ‘judgment’ but to ‘condemnation’ I believe many have gotten confused between the two, so I just wanted to clear this part of the mess up. many will bring up the punishments mentioned by God to be dispensed for certain sins, but lets just not go there yet,. lets stay on topic.
    Moving forward; on judging:
    Whether a man is a good man or a bad man, who are we to judge the heart of a man? Fore, we do not know the heart of man, not even of our own heart which hides many secrets from our own eyes, much less can we know the heart of another man. Only God knows all things – including the secret motivations of our ideas and actions, and the reasons and pressures of why someone has acted in a way or in another way, and so therefore only God can judge us for who or what we truly ultimately are at the root. core – whether we be completely rotten no good harvest or a good viable harvest. Putting ourselves in the lives of others, makes us see the pressures that different people are pressured by to commit certain sins, and so enables us more to forgive, and to show mercy, and to be compassionate, and to not judge who or what others are or are not and what they deserve or don’t deserve.
    Actions are a completely different thing. Actions are not a man; A man is not actions. Do actions define a man? Or does a man merely act? Surely a man acts, in essence, out of certain necessities or pressures based on learned experiences and on a root motivating idea, but this is by far the most knowledge one man can have of another man or of himself. (some men simply have not learned much. And this is why God holds into greater account those that understand his word over those that are ignorant of it, so tread carefully all). ACTIONS CAN CERTAINLY BE JUDGED and should be in order to judge/determine whether an action or idea is biblically right or wrong – again, hence the verse, “judge righteously,’ which indicates not judging through our own standards but by the standards placed by God himself for example in the ten commandments. judging by our own standards would be judging unrighteously. Thus, a man can make a judgment about another man’s actions and say, “your actions are wrong, my brother, according to God’s word, not my own. We are all sinners brother, no man is sinless/faultless before God, but do not think, brother, that thoughest not sin, fore it is written, ‘though shalt not (fill in the blank),’ yes, you have sinned greatly against (fill in the blank), why not brother, come to your senses and acknowledge your wrong doing and perhaps repent and even apologize for your sin against (fill in the blank), which entails a whole new set up make-up actions on your part brother to show your sincerity apart from your words.” hence the verse, “judge RIGHTeously” (between what is sin and what is not sin according to God and between what is the right thing to do vs what is the wrong this to do, based on God’s word). As far as the phrase goes: “judge not that though be not judged,” Is it possible that Jesus is simply referring to the judgment of God upon a man. In other words, God speaking: ‘judge not the heart of your fellow man’, (implying judgment about a mans intrinsic character, which is entirely different then judging a mans actions as sinful or not sinful), fore which judgment you judge, oh man, I the LORD God almighty your creator will judge you.’ (God will utterly be saying, ‘you made this man to believe that he is a bad, unworthy, lazy, perverted, undeserving, unrighteous, unholy, lowly, what not man compared to yourself, thus, now I will make you believe that you are a bad man according to my own standard, which you used UNRIGHTeously against your fellow brother. Now I God will do the same to you, as perhaps even shall your fellow brethren meanwhile you are hopping around on Earth trigger happy shooting at the lilies and sunflowers, which I, too, have created’).

  • I hope you all understand clearly now, that the confusion stems mainly in the non-defining of words parameters.

  • Mikayla Rivera
    December 11, 2017 5:26 pm

    “Judge not lest ye be judged” does not exist in that wording anymore, and according to current physical reality, it never did. Even old King James bibles from the 1600s do not state that anymore (although we know it did because the truth is written on our hearts) Please look into the #MandelaEffect. Also, the”lion shall lay down with the lamb” is nowhere to be found in any bible anymore either. Now it says “the wolf will dwell with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6)

    • The so-called Mandela Effect is a farce. The “judge not lest ye be judged” wording comes from the Tyndale New Testament, not the King James. It means exactly the same as what the KJV rendering says, however, as “lest” means “so that not.”

      As for the “lion shall lay down with the lamb,” that wording never appears in any Bible, but it is often misremembered by people due to interference from the lion/lamb imagery that appears frequently throughout the Bible. This is a common memory phenomenon; most people, for instance, think The Empire Strikes Back includes the words, “Luke, I am your father.” But in fact, that line never appears in any Star Wars movie, despite it being the most often-quoted line from the Star Wars series. There is no such thing as the Mandela Effect, but human memories are very faulty and many people will find all sorts of ways to explain why their faulty memories are right and the facts are wrong.

  • does anyone want to reply to my very recent posts? just wondering why everyone suddenly got so silent?

  • So a murderer may judge a thief, but not another murderer?

  • jimmy Snyder, what r u talking about? hahaha 🙂

  • Academics like to ruin the basic message.
    God of light knows.you by name.
    In small groups of.2 or 3 is where he.will be.
    Do you feel confused? Intimidated? Dumb?
    Thats not god.
    Are you at bible study? Thats not god either.


  • such a shame, no one responded to my posts. 🙁 smh

  • No one responded to your post because your post is the perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

  • Jason you wouldn’t post my comment to adam atoms. Why not?
    I am an atheist, once a fundamentalist christian and like another atheist who comment, I appreciate your open mindedness, well sort of open and your discussion here.

    “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open!” – Frank Zappa


  • adam atoms
    Seems no one thinks it’s worth commenting on!
    Give it up!

  • Jason, I appreciate your write up. I understand this passage is loaded with ambiguity however I did want to bring up the fact that it is not up to human’s to judge other humans. The is the realm of God. We are not fit to judge others.

    This is not to say that we should ignore sin and evil. I think that it is appropriate to judge the actions of others but to remain mindful of the fact we are in no position to judge anyone else’s soul. Which is ultimately what is important.

    After all, all of us are sinners. And almost all of us sin and justify it to ourselves. It’s scary how often I have done that in my life, and sadly continue to do. That is the ultimate point, who are we to point out the faults of others when we have the same ones as we are all sinners and can only ask and before for forgiveness.

    Also interesting is the end of this passage, “Do not give dogs what is sacred. Do not throw your pearls to to pigs.” If you judge another individual they will ordinarily defend themselves and mock you and your beliefs. Even if you are right you may be manipulated into feeling wrong. This is why it is inappropriate for a Christian to pass judgment on others.

    • I appreciate your comment, but you are mistaken about it not being a human’s place to judge. In fact, the New Testament commands judgment: “Judge justly” (John 7:24) and “Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life?” (1 Cor 6:3).

      The New Testament also assumes (indeed proclaims) that those who follow Jesus will cease to sin and justify themselves. Justification by the spirit is the essence of the gospel.

      Yes, it is true that God will judge everyone’s final fate; but humans are commanded to judge in the here and now.

  • Sorry if this question/comment was already made… What about the meaning of the scripture suggesting the one among us without sin to cast the first stone? This scripture seems to not only address hypocrisy, but sin and the error of judgement in general. No?

    • No, that’s mistaken and relies on reading the “let the one without sin cast the first stone” statement, which is not a general statement about judgment but rather occurs in a specific context. That context involved people bringing a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and asking whether she should be put to death as the Torah requires. But the Torah also required that both parties—both the man and the woman—caught in the act be brought to judgment. Jesus’ statement challenges those who brought the woman to him for violating the Torah themselves. Basically, the woman gets off on a technicality due to a mistrial. But Jesus elsewhere commands his followers to judge rightly. Judgment is not forbidden but is instead mandated; hypocrisy and injustice are forbidden.

      • Rachelle Woodly
        January 24, 2019 1:34 pm

        Wow…..I that is some information not taught or mentioned and I’ve heard that passage of the “woman” caught in adultery. I always did think to myself she didn’t commit adultery alone….that explains it. Thanks Jason – you are a wealth of information.

  • Samuel Peeps
    May 16, 2018 4:06 pm

    Who interpreted the Greek text from the Aramaic? In fact, who decided which testaments were put into the New Testament those 500+ years after the events? If you are not aware of how fast a language (and a dialect of that language) then try reading Chaucer. I’m quite certain the life of Jesus has been recorded with some degree of accuracy but I am also aware that we have simply no way of knowing exactly what was said.

    Shouldn’t it be the right action that guides us?

    • 1) The text was originally written in Greek, not Aramaic.
      2) The Gospel of Matthew was already widely used in Christian churches by the late first century.
      3) The Greek of Matthew is basic common, imperial Greek of the first century CE. Any Greek reader from the next 1000 years would have little difficulty with it. It’s not at all equivalent to Chaucer from a modern English speaker’s perspective.
      4) How does one determine right action? Such determination requires good judgment.

  • Richmond Barge
    June 8, 2018 10:05 am

    This passage does not need to be interpreted. It is stated quite clearly. Judgment is for God. You are a sinner.

    99% of the time, when I hear someone talke about “Interpreting” the Bible, it means that they want to use their fallible mind to twist God’s infallible Word. As Charles Spurgeon put it, “‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.”

    I admit, there is a lot of difficulty reconciling the plain meaning of this with some later passages in the epistles. If an open and notorious sinner will not desist, he should certainly be confronted and urged to stop, and even removed from a church. Yet, we still cannot judge him, because we are no better than he.

    • Fascinating. You insist on your specific interpretation of this passage while simultaneously claiming that interpretations are inherently invalid. Talk about sawing off the branch upon which one sits!

    • “I admit, there is a lot of difficulty reconciling the plain meaning of this with some later passages in the epistles. If an open and notorious sinner will not desist, he should certainly be confronted and urged to stop, and even removed from a church. Yet, we still cannot judge him, because we are no better than he.”

      Your statement isn’t consistent with your position… To be put out of the church is the church is doing as Jesus said (Matt. 18) and judging one to be unfaithful and and unrepentant in their sin. And those faithful obedient saints in the church are better than the unrepentant sinner, that’s why the sinner needs to repent. 1 Cor 5 is Paul getting on the believers in Corinth for not judging the sin (sinner) in their midst and commanding them to deal with it by handing that sinner over to satan for the destruction of his flesh.

  • Quite possibly the best explaination of this passage I’ve ever read! I saw this as you stated conceptually but you articulated it in a way that brings clarity to the passage!! Thank you!

  • Donald Hanning
    June 23, 2018 4:28 pm

    James 4:12

  • Gary Binder
    July 31, 2018 1:24 pm

    Jason, Really appreciate and agree with your article and your interaction with several of the responses!
    Do you think some of the frustration and even anger from some on this topic is the understanding or misunderstanding of the word “judge”?
    Me experience has been that so many see “judging” as condemning the individual, as opposed to identifying behavior as sin according to the standard God has set forth in His Word. People seem to jump from having their behavior judged (which is a must for churches, families and societies to exist) to having their character and motives (things only God is fully aware of) judged and condemned….. Which isn’t what I believe you were saying at all. I believe we have a deceitful Enemy who loves to encourage a defensive attitude in any of us when we find ourselves “falling short” / engaged in behavior God calls sin. I also believe that in a healthy, biblical church, there are brothers and sisters who love us too much to be silent and let us continue in that destructive behavior.
    Sorry, I’m rambling here… I just know that in my own life, needing correction is embarrassing and my first response is to be defensive. But if I want to be right (by God’s standard) I need to swallow pride and recognize that correction from imperfect people pointing out my sin is ultimately from the loving hand of God, Who desires me to walk in righteousness, truth and freedom.

    • I do think that conflation of “judge” with “condemn” is a big part of the problem here. It’s important to be able to distinguish what is required and what is prohibited here.

  • Far too often Matthew 7 gets used so flippantly. Anytime someone points out something in someones life we throw this verse at them to show them why they are in the wrong. But we are supposed to offer correction to other Christians. We should not condemn; that’s not our job. But we should point out blindspots and potential errors. Not only is that okay, that’s what love requires isn’t it?

    This is what Jesus is getting after in this verse. Jesus never says we should not point out the speck. Rather that we should deal with our crap SO THAT we can help others deal with their’s.

    I wrote an article about this verse.

  • There is a fine line between having an option to help someone and placing a judgment. The word Judgement in the Bible is actually referring to condemning. According to psychology we see in others that which lives within ourselves. That’s why you recognize it. Read the Lords prayer. Forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us. It’s about forgiving!

    • The statement that “the word judgment in the Bible is actually referring to condemning” is completely wrong. The word simply means to “judge,” as in to make a judgment or distinction. Condemnation can be one form of judgment (and there’s a different word for “condemn”), but it’s not the only verdict.

  • “Judge not, lest you be judged”
    You say this passage mostly relates to condemning those (person A) that vigorously accuse others (person B) of judging, since they themselves are condemning condemnation, the very hypocrisy the passage condemns.

    Firstly can I ask you when you last sinned ?
    When do you believe a person can rightly judge others ?
    If we are all sinners, or have sinned in the past, who has authority to sit in judgment ?
    Is it possible to have recently sinned and have authority to judge ?
    Is it possible to be a Christian and reach a point in life where you NEVER EVER sin ?
    If Christians slip up and sin,are they still Christians ?
    It seems you’re saying judging is fine as long as you aren’t a sinner yourself, or haven’t sinned recently might be more accurate, because as humans we’ve all sinned.

    Looking forward to your reply.


    • 1) Sure, you may ask.
      2) That’s addressed in the post itself.
      3) That’s also addressed in the post itself.
      4) Yes, provided repentance.
      5) According to the New Testament gospel, yes. That’s basically the point. God’s grace (the gift of the spirit) saves people from their sin, giving them power to do what is right rather than being enslaved to sin. Otherwise it’s no different than being under the law.
      6) According to 1 John 5:16–17, that depends on the nature of the sin.
      7) Jesus is saying that a person needs to forsake sin prior to judgment. One can’t help another if one has the same problem.

  • Hey there. I’m not a christian myself and have never read the bible, but I wanted to make sure I was using this correctly. Funnily enough, I was! It really was the perfect use of it too. Thanks for making this well written article about it.

  • I’ve been involved in some deep study of the Bible and I’ve run into a lot of people who have preferred beliefs of what some versus say. or mean. I think the verse Mark 10:25 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” is probably the best example of people dissecting and spinning it so it doesn’t reflect poorly on them or their benefactors. I was in a small church where the main contributor was one of the richest people in town, the pastor couldn’t afford to offend him .
    I won’t attempt to debate this or say that you’re incorrect. I do disagree that Jesus wasn’t saying not to judge one another, I believe Jesus taught that and other very closely related topics to question that part. There are also far too many translations to dissect grammar and word placement, I doubt everyone back then was highly educated and used perfect grammar at all times, to say because this word was placed in this spot it means this not that. If you get a book showing multiple translations you’ll see that the choice of wording can’t be a deciding factor to say that it doesn’t mean what it says. I believe Jesus taught that and other very closely related topics to question that part. I think judging and hypocrisy are very closely related and intertwined, And are far to closely related to say judging is okay, just don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t forget that people that make a living writing and teaching and promoting specific doctrines aren’t doing it without some conflicts of interest, such as making a living from it. If they can discuss and debate something to no end they can write a lot of books and sermons.

  • Ellen Mitchell
    March 11, 2019 2:09 pm

    Great post! I am grateful to have found it. I read all of the comments. I find it amazing that many of the people who condemned your article kept trying to throw other bible verse at you but they did not read the verse before or after such as James 12. You really need to read James 11 before you try to say we are not to judge each other. I find it odd how they also could not seem to understand that this type of “judging” so to speak is done out of LOVE not condemnation for Pete’s sake. Keep up the great work Jason Staples! God bless you and yours!

  • Rosanna R Miller
    March 19, 2019 8:46 pm

    Wow, great interpretation of Scripture. I recall when I hypocritically judged actual Christians when I shouldn’t have made such presumptuous judgements. I thought I was making things right with my self-righteous hypocrisy. Of course, I was unable to see I was doing what I was judging others for.

    I am just thankful for His patience, mercy, and forgiveness. May every hypocrite be so blessed to see the error of their ways, in Jesus name, Amen.

  • Why would a holy book be subject to various interpretations and not be clear and concise?

  • Linda Tipton
    May 15, 2019 1:01 pm

    Thank you Jason Staples, This is an amazing exposition on this grossly misinterpreted passage. I was involved with a conversation last night on FB with a relative who is fiercely determined to defend addictive substance use. In “moderation” of course. She is sitting under the teaching of a minister who holds the same perspective. She shared a brief message of his with me…initiating the banter.

    By the Grace of God I worshipfully walk in sobriety. Seems I may have delved into waters too deep for me. I was deemed self-righteous in thinly veiled innuendos . The exchange was disturbing to me and has grieved my heart today. I’m concerned I may have sounded contentious. As we were exchanging thoughts, verse 5 leapt off the page to me. I had not given it notice before.

    Part of my end of the exchange went like this:
    “If I were able to practice addiction in moderation it would not be addiction and destruction to me. Unfortunately, the familiar spirits that operate in my family, and around me, and the addictions, whether rooted in nature or nurture, put me in bondage…not in a mind set to be moderate. I’ve proven that to myself through painful errors. “All things in moderation” is not scripture…the thief looking for a way to steal, kill or destroy is. If Satan can find a way to convince us to destroy ourselves and ruin our testimony he can move on to another case.

    My life has been a hot mess of mistakes, sins and addictions. I have no rocks to throw at anyone…no how. A little leaven leavens the whole loaf. Christians are to strive against vices…strive for righteousness…strive for peace. I know for me, it is an on going fight hence the need for the armor. I Tim 3 outlines the qualifications for leadership. I am not looking for loop holes…I am seeking thirst for Him, His Kingdom, His righteousness and His freedom.

    I know what a Triumph is…and I thank Him for He always leads me in it. Drinking alcohol is not sin…drunkenness is (Ephesian 5) as is riotousness. This passage does not say don’t judge…the Word tells us to judge ourselves. This passage tells us to get delivered ourself (vs 5) so we might then be able to help others find freedom from the tyranny of sin.

    The word hypocrite has roots meaning “actor”…This passage is referencing people talking the talk not walking the walk. I don’t judge others in bondage…I pray for victory for all men…in Christ. If we walk after the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is a war we are in. If we are hearers only and not doers, we deceive ourselves. (James 1:22). My desire is for all men to find freedom from sin, peace in Christ able to live In the world, but not of it.

    Honestly…if we see one stumbling we are supposed to tell them so…and help them. Please pray that I will remain sober, not self-righteous, malleable, gentle and hungry for His presence. I have a great desire to live a life pleasing to Him A life that is a fruitful one. I am trying to seriously get on task with His desires. I know many of mine have been vastly self-serving”.

    I am so glad for the conversation last night as it as led me to your writings. Hopefully you are well and still sharing as I am looking forward to reading many of your articles. This has been a moment of a word spoken in due season.


    • Lynn Comstock
      April 20, 2020 2:47 pm

      (to Linda Tipton (May 15, 2019 1:01 pm) Wonderful post. Addiction would be a great topic. Disapproved habitual behaviors of many kinds are called addictions. You have embraced an “addiction” (in the world’s eyes) to the gospel that reveals the Righteousness of God. Romans 1:16.17. Christ is our righteousness. 1 Cor 1:30 and context vs. 23-31. Keep on being faithful to the foolishness of God.

  • Linda Tipton
    May 15, 2019 1:08 pm

    I see some grammatical errors…my apologies. I was referring to Matt 7:5 leaping out to me.

  • Thinus Kriel
    July 3, 2019 7:28 am

    Spot on! We are to “judge all THINGS, but we are not subjected to anyone’s judgement” in other words we judge actions, words ..etc, but not people. There is one Judge for that. The object of judgement is the splinter, not the eye. Seeing the splinter leads us to repentance as we need clean eyes to see, but judging the person leads to hypocrisy.

  • Benjamin Dyke
    August 9, 2019 3:47 am

    Great post and discussion. Like someone wiser than me has said we all cry “Mercy! Don’t judge!” when we’ve failed but “Justice! Punish them!” when we’ve been wronged! This gets to the heart of the problem. The same person that would cry out “Don’t judge me for this” will be equally quick to condemn the same behaviour in another when they are the victim..

  • “Despite how it appears if one stops reading after the first verse, this passage in Matthew is not forbidding judgment but hypocrisy.”:
    You are right, at least, in-part. The writer/speaker is condemning hypocrisy. The true meaning of the passage equates to more than the sum of that particular part. He condemns hypocrisy by saying that when you judge people you are claiming that you know better, or behave better, or are “closer to God”, than another, and, to use an American colloquialism, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Meaning that most people, at the least, have done unrighteous things at times, and even sometimes have done those things after having condemned themselves by their own words. If you attempt to point out unrighteousness, you are condemning yourself by your own words, because no one can truthfully claim that they have not transgressed before, and therefore pointing out your brother’s transgressions damns yourself by the same “measure”. I find it interesting to note that one interpretation of the name of Sa-am-a-el is: one who measures according to God’s image. We should refrain from comparing ourselves with each other’s righteousness. There is only one “measure” to be “meted out” that “measure” is God’s. Mere men are not wise enough to understand God’s law, but He gave us fairly clear instructions. If you are studying His word, and ancient history (seek and ye shall find) it will become clear to you too. There are other interpretations of course, but I like to keep that in-mind when I’m discerning between concepts in the Holy Scriptures. Keep studying. Good luck and Godspeed. :*)

  • I must say that I rather enjoyed your article and completely understand where you were going with it and what you had to say. However, at the same time I don’t agree with everything that you’ve said, but this could be because I’m an objective thinker and a realist. I have a tendency to see things as they are.

    I’ve never been a person to sit here and judge others; however, I am able to differentiate the difference between good and bad. I don’t believe that everyone who sees someone else as arrogant or cruel are that themselves. That to me is a fallacy and can be somewhat misleading. There are some truly arrogant people in this world, as well cruel, and you don’t have to be either of those to be able to ascertain who those people are (e.g. a faithful battered spouse or one that is mentally abused, a bully’s victim, or a murder victim). Also, there are many people in this world who see no fault in their own behavior or actions. It’s ingrained in them (e.g. a narcissist—not the good kind, or some individuals with certain mental disorders). Even though I work in a correctional environment, I’ve always had a unique perspective. I imagine my traumatic childhood shaped it, but I believe that it was my education in psychology, counseling, criminal justice, and sociology that brought my perspective where it is today.

    I’m not a very religious person, even though I was baptized as a Pentecostal almost 30 years ago. As a teenager, I could see many of the hypocrites that faithfully attended church. It seems that today, there is still no difference—many still faithfully attend church. Over the years, I’ve come to question many things that were taught to us. I would love to know what your thoughts are on how Jesus actually died (cross vs. stake).


  • lynn weathersby
    November 17, 2019 6:47 am

    It seems pretty clear cut to me “Do not judge….” because this MAKES you a hypocrite.

  • Lynn Comstock
    April 20, 2020 5:11 am

    Luke 7:38-50 is a remarkable illustration of real world Judgement.
    * Simon the Pharisee Judged both the sinful woman and Jesus v. 39.
    * Jesus did not take offence but asked him to make another judgement about two debtors. v. 40-43.
    * Finally, Jesus Judged both Simon and the sinful woman v 44-47 by comparing their behaviors toward Jesus.
    * Mercy is Judgement. v 48.
    * “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7.

    John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
    40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
    41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

  • Lynn Comstock
    April 20, 2020 2:13 pm

    7 “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. (I see this as a warning that we cannot plead ignorance of any law that we choose to apply to others.)
    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. (Since Jesus here speaks to hearers that he calls hypocrites, I believe that Jesus is addressing willful blindness as in Mark 4:11,12 and in John 9:39-41)
    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. (Here Jesus is warning us of the dangers of speaking the truth. He and many prophets before him spoke truth and paid for it with their lives. Don’t be shocked if the world hates you for speaking truth. Jesus spoke truth and he fully understood the price that he would pay for it.)

  • Lynn Comstock
    April 20, 2020 2:19 pm

    I wish that my comments on the biblical text (in parentheses above} were italicized for clarity, but that option is not available.

  • Lynn Comstock
    April 20, 2020 2:22 pm

    It also would be nice to be able to edit ones comments for several minutes after posting. (A website feature)

  • That’s a remarkable attempt at cherrypicking. Remember “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone?” Remember “Be ye perfect as our father in heaven is perfect”?

    The point here is that judgment IS hypocrisy unless you, indeed, are perfect.

    “Do not resist an evil person”

    What you are doing is precisely what Jesus counseled against – making a public spectacle out of your righteousness and the failings of others. You can practice forgiveness and mercy without making a show act out of it.

    “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

    • That’s a remarkably judgmental comment. Bravo for such a demonstration!

      • That’s a remarkably empty retort. Given the point of your whole article is an exercise in being judgmental of others who do not share your interpretation, that empty retort speaks loudly about the very kind of hypocrisy you mention in the article.

        Context matters. Whether you like it or not.

        • Hypocrisy would require that I claim judgment is wrong and then make judgments or condemn someone else for doing something that I am doing myself. But neither is the case here.

          In your case, however, that is exactly the sort of hypocrisy on display. Thanks for the object lesson!

  • I enjoyed this thoughtful article (which of course is my judgement of it and by extension on you for writing it). Could it be that the root of the problem here is a poor translation of the first verse? Would a translation that says something like “If you judge, you will be judged…” be viable? I don’t know Greek so it could well be that it’s not but I was just wondering.

    So if there’s no getting round it and this passage starts with Jesus definitively saying “Don’t judge” but then his words in context show that actually he doesn’t quite mean that it’s a sin to judge and we should never judge, then why did he start his speech by saying “Don’t judge”? Was it some rhetorical device like shock value to get people’s attention? Or was it some form of irony? Or could Jesus have been responding to what someone else had just said e.g. Peter said “That guy’s such a …” and Jesus says “Don’t judge” to tell Peter not to judge that guy in that way, rather than this being a blanket condemnation of ever judging anyone or anything, then Jesus goes on to give more general teaching about judging but the conversation that triggered it didn’t make it into the bible (I’m still waiting for the Director’s cut myself)

    I guess where I’m coming from here is that it just doesn’t make sense to me for humans to be told not to judge (how can we decide who to vote for if we don’t judge their policies and trustworthiness; should Christians never sit on juries or job interview panels; surely it’s not always wrong to judge a stranger behaving unpredictably as a potential threat to ourselves, our families and whoever else we have a duty of care towards; and a million other examples) yet I struggle to fully square that with a bible verse that clearly seems to say that Jesus starts his point by saying “Don’t judge” even though the rest of the passage and other parts of scripture give a very different picture.


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