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Devotionals

Part Two - The Most Misused, Misunderstood Bible Verse - "Judge Not" - False Teaching

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He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. - Titus 1: 9 (ESV)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. - 1Thessalonians 5: 16-22 (ESV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. - 1John 4: 1 (ESV)

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. - Acts 17: 10-11 (ESV)

As we discussed in the last devotional, the Christianese term - "Judge Not" - is not an actual Bible verse. It comes from a five verse portion of the teachings of Christ from the Sermon On The Mount:

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. - Matthew 7: 1-5 (ESV)

Whenever we hear a Christian say "judge not" we can be assured they have ripped it out of this context. This context shows clearly that Jesus was speaking about hypocrisy, not judgment. In fact, Jesus clearly teaches we are to remove the speck from our brother's eye but only after we make sure we do not commit the same sin. Christians utilize the shortened "judge not" for generally two reasons. One, which was the subject of the last devotional, is to justify and feel better about our own sin. Someone tries to help a brother or sister who is straying from the truth and the answer invariably is - who are you to judge me! Judge not! The second reason we often see this verse mangled is when Christians want to defend their favorite false teacher or false prophet. That is what we will look at today.

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