The 1st Commandment of Culture: Thou Shalt Not Judge
“If you don’t know me, don’t judge me” (Tupac). “Don’t judge my choices if you don’t understand my reasons.” “Don’t judge me unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.” “Go ahead. Judge me. Just remember to be perfect the rest of your life.” “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.”
It seems like the cardinal sin in our culture is judging. The doctrine of moral relativism that is preached in our society holds that there is no objective standard for right and wrong — morality can vary from country to country, society to society, person to person. Therefore, the only thing that apparently (albeit illogically) is wrong is saying that someone else wrong.
Matthew 7:1f. is probably one of the most misquoted passages in all of Scripture. This passage may be more popular than Php 4:13, Jer 29:11 and other “verses” that are often taken out-of-context. And, moral relativists often trot out this verse in order to silence Christians.
In this cultural moment, it is crucial to understand what Jesus meant when He preached these words in the Sermon on the Mount. Below, please find the main points, videos, slideshow, Greek text, translation, and sources for 3.13.19’s Bible Study on Mt 7:1-6.
- The Word of the LORD is solid rock for morality
- Don’t judge judgmentally (i.e., condemn), Don’t judge hypocritically (no blind eye surgery), Don’t judge gullibly (use discernment when spreading the Good News), but Judge correctly (Jn 7:24)
- “Judge not!” does not mean “think not!” (Morris, 165)
- If we could not judge (i.e., evaluate) at all, it would be impossible to evaluate others’ fruit (Stott, 176) – that would be a recipe for disaster (France, NICNT, 277; Turner, 207)
- Without proper judgment (i.e., discernment) we can’t distinguish between a brother/sister with a minor problem, and a potential enemy who could do great harm (Turner, 207)
- We should not turn a blind eye to others’ faults (Stott, 175), nor our faults (Morris, 165). We should make sure our eyes are clear before attempting eye surgery (cf. Keener IVP)
- We should seek to correct and humbly accept correction – out of love
- Yet, no human being is qualified to condemn – only God (cf. Rom 14:4; Stott, 176)
I used this video as an example of judging (i.e., discerning) gullibly. Do you know how this one ends?
Unloving To Enable
I argue that it is unloving to encourage people when they are doing wrong. I used the following video as a light-hearted example of a serious principle. This X Factor singer has a very high opinion of her abilities, partly because of the encouragement of her parents (I played a clip of the singer who is featured from around 4:14 to 8:20).
To download the original PowerPoint file, please visit the C4C Bible Study/Sunday School DropBox.
Greek Text (UBS5)
Μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε 2 ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίματι κρίνετε κριθήσεσθε, καὶ ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν.
3 τί δὲ βλέπεις τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου, τὴν δὲ ἐν τῷ σῷ ὀφθαλμῷ δοκὸν οὐ κατανοεῖς; 4 ἢ πῶς ἐρεῖς τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, Ἄφες ἐκβάλω τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἡ δοκὸς ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ σοῦ; 5 ὑποκριτά, ἔκβαλε πρῶτον ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ τὴν δοκόν, καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου.
6 Μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον τοῖς κυσὶν μηδὲ βάλητε τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν χοίρων, μήποτε καταπατήσουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν καὶ στραφέντες ῥήξωσιν ὑμᾶς.1
1 Don’t judge, so you won’t be judged. 2 For by the judgment in which you judge you will be judged, and by the measure in which you measure, it will be measured to you.
3 And why do you see the splinter in the eye of your brother or sister but the log in your own eye you do not notice? 4 Or how can you say to your brother or sister, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye” — and look — there’s a log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother or sister’s eye.
6 Do not give what is holy to dogs, nor throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.
- Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
- Balz, Horst Robert, and Gerhard Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–.
- Blomberg, Craig. Matthew. Vol. 22. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.
- Brown, Jeannine K. “Matthew.” In The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary, edited by Gary M. Burge and Andrew E. Hill. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012.
- France, R. T. Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 1. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985.
- France, Richard T. “Matthew.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 904–45. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
- France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co., 2007.
- Glimm, Francis X. “The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.” In The Apostolic Fathers, translated by Francis X. Glimm, Joseph M.-F. Marique, and Gerald G. Walsh, Vol. 1. The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1947.
- Green, Michael. The Message of Matthew: The Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
- (*Cited as Keener, IVP) Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
- (*When Keener is cited in this study, it refers to his more in-depth commentary below) Keener, Craig S. Matthew. Vol. 1. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
- Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.
- Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.
- Merriam-Webster, Inc. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003.
- Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992.
- Nolland, John. The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2005.
- Osborne, Grant R. Matthew. Vol. 1. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.
- Powell, Doug. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 2006.
- Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.
- Stott, John R. W., and John R. W. Stott. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian Counter-Culture. The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985.
- (*When Turner is cited in this study, it refers to the BECNT below, which Turner repeats what is said here but goes into more detail) Turner, David, and Darrell L. Bock. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.
- Turner, David L. Matthew. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.
- Water, Mark. The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations. Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd, 2000.
- Wilkins, Michael in Arnold, Clinton E. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
- Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996.