TO JUDGE OR NOT TO JUDGE, THAT IS THE QUESTION
(Mat 7:1-6) Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete [Gk: measure], it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote [Gk: twig or straw] that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam [Gk: stick of timber] that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite [Gk: an actor under an assumed character (stage-player)], first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Mat 7:6) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
1. measure = Dictionary: act or process of ascertaining the extent, dimensions, quantity of something, esp. by comparison with a standard. [what is our standard?]
2. judge = Greek: to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by impl. to try, condemn, punish: avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
3. judge = Dictionary: (noun) 1. a public officer authorized to hear and determine causes in a court of law; a magistrate charged with the administering of justice. 2. a person appointed to decide in any competition or contest; an authorized arbiter. 3. one qualified to pass a critical judgment. ///// (verb) 4. to try (a person or a case) as a judge does; pass sentence on or in. 5. to form a judgment or opinion of or upon; decide upon critically; estimate. 6. to decide or decree judicially or authoritatively.
4. Judge not = The Full Life Study Bible: Jesus condemns the habit of criticizing others while ignoring one’s own faults. A believer must first submit himself to God’s righteous standard before attempting to examine and influence the conduct of other Christians. Judging in an unjust manner also includes condemning a wrongdoer without desiring to see the offender return to God and His ways. Christ is not denying the necessity of exercising a certain degree of discernment or of making value judgments with respect to sin in others. Elsewhere we are commanded to identify false ministers in the church (Mat 7:15) and to evaluate the character of individuals (Mat 7:6; cf. John 7:24; 1 Cor 5:12; 1 John 4:1; Gal 1:9; 1 Tim 4:1). [However,] This verse must not be used as an excuse for laxity in exercising church discipline (Mat 18:15).
5. Judge not = The Nelson Study Bible: This restriction does not mean that a disciple never judges. After all, some kind of judgment is required to obey the command in verse 6. The point of this verse [these verses] is that a Christian should not have a spirit of carping criticism and fault-finding. Every judgment that a person makes becomes a basis for his or her own judgment (James 3:1,2).
a. dogs and swine = The Nelson Study Bible: Dogs and swine refer to people who are enemies of the gospel, as opposed to those who are merely unbelievers. Such enemies are to be left alone (15:14; 2 Cor 6:14-18). One example of such a person was Herod Antipas, who heard John gladly (Mark 6:20), but then beheaded him. Later when Christ stood before Herod, He said nothing (Luke 23:8,9). In context of this verse, Herod had become a “dog” or a “pig” (NKJV).
6. Judge not (“Don’t criticize”) = The Life Application Bible (The Living Bible): Jesus’ statement “Don’t criticize” is against the kind of hypercritical, judgmental attitude that tears others down in order to build oneself up. It is not a blanket statement against all criticism, but a call to be discerning rather than negative. Paul taught clearly that we should discern false teachers (Mat 7:15-23), exercise church discipline (1 Cor 5:1,2), and trust God to be the final judge (1 Cor 4:3-5).
(1 Cor 5:9-13) I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators [Gk: whoremongers] [“sexually immoral people” NIV]: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world [Not (meaning of course that you must) altogether shun the immoral people of this world” Amplified Bible], or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator [Gk: whoremonger], or covetous [Gk: greedy], or an idolater [Gk: image worshipper], or a railer [Gk: abusive] [syn: rude, insulting, foul, offensive, obnoxious, violent, rough], or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I [the Apostle Paul] to do to judge them also that are without [outside the church]? do not ye judge them that are within [the church]? them that are without [outside the church] God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor 6:1-5) Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world [Gk: kosmos; “cosmos” universe]? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
(Heb 5:12-14) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles [Gk: utterances] of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Heb 5:14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses [Gk: organs of perception, i.e. (fig.) judgment /// to apprehend: perceive] exercised [Gk: practiced, i.e. trained] to discern [Gk: make a judicial estimation] both good and evil.
1. discern = Greek: judicial estimation:--discern (-ing) /// to separate thoroughly, fig. to discriminate: mark a difference, discern, judge.
2. Amplified Bible = (Heb 5:14) But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.
3. Commentary: We learn to discern that we may judge. Woman (Eve’s pre-fall name) was obviously not able to discern between good and evil, else she would have immediately judged the serpent, who was speaking words contradictory to God’s words, as “evil.” Redeemed humanity is bring restored via the transformation process (Rom 12:2) back to Eden (the archetype of Heaven), but now having, among other wonderful gifts, the additional cardinal ability to discern between good and evil, and thereby, to judge in righteousness.
AN EXAMPLE OF KING SOLOMON’S DISCERNMENT LEADING TO JUDGMENT
(1 Ki 3:7-12) And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant [Solomon] king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child [humility]: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
(1 Ki 3:16-28) Then came there two women, that were harlots [Heb: whores], unto the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this [first woman] said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. [King Solomon discerned the evidence, and judged.]