Can We Judge One Another?

It seems we are living in a time when it is quite evident that a lot of emphasis is placed on not judging. Although we need to be aware that we should be careful about judging and how we judge, yet we need to understand what the Scriptures say concerning judging.

We need to be aware, if we do no judging, then we will allow everything to occur and we will stand for nothing. Just as the Scriptures warn us about judging and how we judge, yet it also warns us for not standing for truth and right. To be able to determine this, we need to know what the Scriptures have to say about our subject.

1. Some use the following Scriptures for support of not judging:

A. Forbearing one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

B. We ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

We ought to forbear or endure the shortcomings of others. We ought to love and show love and concern to the individual. But this ought not to stand in the way of deciding what is right and what is wrong, and then taking a stand.


2. Scripture says not to judge. Matthew 7:1-2

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Matthew 7:1-2

If public opinion comes down on a moral issue, without a doubt, this is the first Scripture that will be used to show we ought not to deal with the issue. The normal opinion is “if it is not hurting anyone, then let it be.” But this is a dangerous attitude to fall into, as we shall see later.


3. Judge not according to appearance. John 7:24

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
John 7:24

We are told, not to judge according to appearance but to judge righteous judgment. In other words, don’t be hasty in judging. Get the facts first.

Then we are to judge righteously. Is this contradictory to Matthew 7:1-2? All Scripture must harmonize and we shall endeavor to do this later.

4. What should be our attitude toward a fallen friend? Galatians 6:1

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

If a man is overtaken in a fault, we are to help him, encourage him. The point is how will we know he has been overtaken by a fault if we don’t judge him? Verse 2 tells us to help the man or woman. Verse 3 tells us never to think of ourselves as superior to the fallen brother, or we only deceive ourselves. For something similar could happen to us.

5. The Scriptures tell us how to judge. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13

We are not to judge according to the flesh or to the way man would judge a situation. But comparing the situation spiritually or to the way God would judge from spiritual insight. We will see how that can be done later.


6. Known by their fruit. Matthew 7:15-18

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Matthew 7:15-18

Just as a fruit tree is known by its fruit, whether edible or not, so we can judge only by what we see and experience. To determine this, we have to judge. That is why the moral fiber of the world is getting worse and worse.

The majority speaks so loudly and the minority remain silent because we do not want to be looked at as narrow-minded. When no voice speaks out, sin prospers. This tells us we are being judged, whether we realize it or not.

7. The one who wrote most of the New Testament judged. 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Paul had not talked to the guilty party directly, but apparently, the one who informed him was dependable, so he made a judgment call anyway. In verse 5, he tells them to disfellowship the man who was having a sexual relationship with his father’s wife.

Then in verse 6, he scolds the church for not speaking out against it and taking no action concerning the matter. So keeping silent, at times, is not pleasing to God. Paul made a righteous judgment decision.

8. The question now is, how do we judge? John 12:47-48

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

John 12:47-48

God’s Word is going to judge us on Judgment Day. If God is going to judge us according to His Word, then that is the way we ought to judge our fellow man. Therefore, before we can judge, we have to read, study, and understand the standard God wants us to live by, not compromising in any way.

Remember, Adam and Eve were fully instructed what to eat and what not to eat. They were fully instructed what would happen if they did. They chose to ignore the instruction that God gave them. So it is today that God has clearly instructed us how He wants us to live but man (as a whole) has chosen to ignore the instruction of God. It is up to the few to speak up and let our voices be heard. At least we have done our part.

9. Let’s go back to Matthew 7:1-5.

This plainly tells us not to judge. How can we harmonize this with these Scriptures that tell us to judge? In interpreting the Scriptures, you have to decide whom Christ is speaking to and why. In this case, verse 5 tells us. He is speaking to the hypocrite. The one who wants to tell everyone how they ought to live. Read verse 5 again.

In verses 3-4, the hypocrite has a beam (doing something worse) in his eye and trying to get a mote (small speck) out of his brother’s eye. So the hypocrite is not in a position to judge.

Therefore, to use this Scripture as a solid foundation to say “we ought not to judge”, is taking the thought out of context. It is the hypocrite Christ is telling not to judge, for he is guilty himself.

10. A supportive Scripture. Romans 2:1-3

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Romans 2:1-3

In verse 1, Paul also is speaking to the hypocrite. The one who tries to tell others how to live but he himself is doing the very same thing (or worse) as the one he is criticizing. Paul gets right back to the truth of the matter and explains how judgment should be meted out. Judgment should be according to Scripture, truth.

11. Until Jesus comes, we have a responsibility. Luke 19:13

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luke 19:13

“…Occupy until I come” means we are to take care of the Lord’s business until He returns. This is not by sound (words) only, but by action, the way we live day by day. May we be good representatives so we can speak out on issues that are not godly and people might listen.


Yes, the Bible does tell us to judge but we must be careful in our judgment of others lest we are hypocrites. May it be softened with love and compassion, even forgiveness when such is needed.

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions