How, Who and What to Judge According to Scripture

We need to quit saying "Judge Not" in situations where the Bible says, "Judge." Find out what Scripture says about How, Who, and What to Judge.

Despite the common "judge not" misunderstanding, the Bible clearly tells us how, who, and what to judge. Below are Scriptures explaining specifics. Below the Scriptures, you will find a collection of 1-minute devotions addressing various aspects of biblical judgment.

How To Judge:
1. Judge Not Like Job’s Friends
Job's friends tried to tell Job that his problems were a sign that God was punishing him. 

God rebuked them: “you have not spoken the truth about me.” Job 42:7

We shouldn’t blame hardship on the person’s actions or attitudes unless specifically obvious. For example, we can judge that a person gets lung cancer because they smoke or gets in a car accident because they drive while drinking. But we should not blame sickness or tragedy on sins not related to the problem. 

This 1-minute devotion addresses this type of judgment: Job’s Friends

2. Judge Not by Appearance
1 Samuel 16:7: "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"

These 1-minute devotions talk about this type of judgment:
Hearts versus Faces
Sometimes We Miss Seeing A Man's Heart

3. Judge Not By Position or Wealth
James 2:1-7: "My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here’s a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?"

This 1-minute devotion discusses this type of judgment:
Christians Look on the Heart

4. Judge Not Harshly
James 2:12-13: "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

This 1-minute devotion discusses this type of judgment:
Standing Firm

5. Judge Not Hypocritically
Matthew 7:1-4: “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. 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?"

These 1-minute devotion talk about this type of judgment:
I Remember the Plank
To Judge or Not to Judge

Who to Judge:

We need to quit saying "Judge Not" in situations where the Bible says, "Judge." Find out what Scripture says about How, Who, and What to Judge.
1. Judge Ourselves
Matthew 7:5: "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." (See context above.)

1 Corinthians 11:28: "Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup."

1 Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith."

1 John 1:8-10: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us."

See Feelin' Good

2. Judge False Teachers
Matthew 7:15-20: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

3. Judge Sinning Believers
Matthew 18:15: "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."

James 5:19-20: "My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins."

1 Corinthians 5:12: "It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning."

See 7 Claims of False Teachers

4. Judge Bad Companions
1 Corinthians 15:33: "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"

Ephesians 5: 5-7: "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them."

See 4 Types of People God Tells Us to Avoid

Formal church judgment against sinning believers
Read 1 Corinthians 5 and Matthew 18:15-17

What to Judge:

We need to quit saying "Judge Not" in situations where the Bible says, "Judge." Find out what Scripture says about How, Who, and What to Judge.
1. Judge Sin
Ephesians 5:11: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."

2. Judge False Teachings
Acts 17:11: "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

3. Judge Bad Influences
Psalm 101:3: "I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it."

1 John 2:15-17: "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes,and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."

1-Minute devotions addressing biblical judgment:

Biblical Judgment: 5 Errors to Avoid
An Immature View of Judging
Walk a Mile in Their Moccasins
Nobody's Business
To Judge or Not to Judge
Do Not Judge
Judge Not Scripture Out of Context
Judgment Phobia
Judge the Sin, Not the Sinner??
Judging Ourselves
All Sins are Not the Same in God's Eyes
Context is King!
I Remember the Plank
Misunderstanding Human Needs
Using the "J" Word
Using the "J" Word Bible Study
Insights for the "J" Word Bible Study
Inaccurate, Illogical, Popular

The resources on this page can be used as curriculum for a Sunday school class or small group. You have my permission to reproduce them as long as you note on each hand-out: "Printed with permission, copyright Gail Burton Purath," You may not produce them for sale, in book form, as part of a book or booklet, or on a blog or website. Copyright questions can be sent to gail.purath

Bible Love Notes


  1. You've done such a great job with all these judging Scriptures, my husband and I have read through so many tonight and found them so helpful

    1. Thanks, Lizzy. I'm so glad this was helpful.
      God bless you.

  2. I always look forward to reading my Bible Love Notes when I get home from a long,hard day at work. They calm and soothe me, and they assure me that all is not lost. I work with the public for ten solid hours (in retail) six days a week, so sometimes I need such assurances :)