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.'"

John 7:24: Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

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?"

Romans 2:1:You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

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

6. Judge according to God's Truth, not Human Truth
1 Corinthians 2:15-16: The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3: Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

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."

See 10 Facts about False Teachers and How False Teachers Help Us.

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."

Galatians 6:1: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

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."


The passage below tells us not to judge. It doesn't give specifics. Should we assume that it cancels all of the passages listed here that command us to judge? Or should we see it as part of the whole message commanding us not to judge in inappropriate ways?  Most false teachings are built by taking a few verses out of context of the overall message presented in Scripture. 

Luke 6:36-37: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

1-Minute devotions addressing biblical judgment:

3 Lame Excuses for Not Judging
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
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


I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word. Read the story behind Wisdom for Life HERE. And find out about the two free Bible studies with purchase HERE. You can read the first 4 devotions in the book by clicking "look inside" on Lifeway or AmazonIn addition, you can buy the book in Kindle format on Amazon and as an ebook on Barnes and Noble.
I also encourage you to sign up for a free subscription to Bible Love Notes and get a free e-booklet. Find out more HERE.

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.

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 :)

  3. 2 Corinthians 5:16

    “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

    I was taught early on by a Pastor that we should know one another by the Spirit (the new man) and not after the flesh (the old man). I still think of it as good advice. If we practiced such more, I believe there would be far less judging amongst members of the Body of Christ for we would see one another as God sees us.

  4. I can not tell you how glad I am to have the opportunity and privilege to read your blog. It is an eye opener. I understand that you guys do this out of your hearts and that it must be a true battle to keep afloat, mentally and financially. That said, it came as a surprise that yje following sentence were at the bottom of this message. "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," Why? I understand that it belongs to you, but what could you possibly gain by it? Isn't the center of your work, God? What is more important, your message or you? Not looking for a fault with you guys, it is just a question. It just felt out of place. Don't be angry with me and please keep up the good work. You are changing the world without knowing it.

    1. Good question. No, I’m not angry, but I also don’t apologize for expecting people to obey copyright laws in regard to Bible Love Notes materials.

      Let me start by asking you a question:
      If you owned a home where you offered rooms for homeless people free of charge, would you check to make sure the people were homeless and not con-artists or drug dealers? What if some strangers took over your home and without your knowledge starting charging the homeless tenants rent?

      Sadly, we live in a fallen world. All the time people steal copyrighted material and misuse it, claim it as their own and/or sell it for a profit.

      And my experiences are first hand. Since I've been writing Bible Love Notes, I've had people take my images (which I pay to use) and use them on their blogs without permission. That puts them in violation of copyright laws with the company that handles my pictures, not with me. Should I warn them?

      Quite by accident when doing a search on the internet several years ago, I found a church site and the pastor had a personal blog on which he shared my devotions word-for-word, claiming them as his own. I could have charged him with copyright abuse and ruined his reputation, but I simply asked him to remove them and I asked how I could pray for him since he was so desperate to steal my work.

      Years ago, I was with a group that did mission work in a 3rd world area offering a free Bible school with snacks, supplies, and Bibles. We found out later that the local pastor was charging people to attend the Bible school so he could earn some personal income. Should we have cared as long as the kids had Bible school?

      I'm not aware of a single Scripture that tells us we should encourage people to lie or steal, nor am I aware of any Scripture that tells us we have no right to protect our possessions, including our written materials with copyright laws.

      If you do an online search you won’t find many Christian sites without ads, products to sell, or donation requests. I don’t think it’s wrong to do those things, but I have chosen not to do them. I spend hundreds of dollars of my personal income each month to maintain the Bible Love Notes ministry which is now offered in 7 languages.
      Christians are commanded to obey the laws of our country unless they violate Biblical principles, and copyright laws are good laws. No, I’m not ashamed to expect people to get my permission before using my materials, and I’m not ashamed to expect them to give attribution to me as the owner of those materials.

  5. I have never understood how those who steal the material of others are able to sleep at night. When I ran my site and wrote numerous articles for 3.5 yrs. on FB, I would run across my articles stolen and others actually signing their own name to them. I felt hurt and outraged simultaneously when this 1st began. I wrote what I wrote from a mother's grieving heart. Each article took me a couple of hrs. for I sought the Lord throughout the writing. As a Mother who has experienced great loss of a child, it opened up Pandora's Box for me. It wasn't about 'me' because my heart's desire was that God alone would be glorified and readers would find comfort in our Lord as a result. But for me, I felt violated. It felt as if another piece of my heart was being stolen because I wrote from my heart, often wiping away tears so I could simply see what I was typing. The disrespect is what angered me. I also had to start protecting them with copyright. I had no issue with anyone sharing the articles if they could benefit another. But I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief that some would do so in the manner they did. Blessings! (((HUGS)))

  6. I’m a Christian writer too and my heart is in each word. To steal these words is to steal my heart beat. It is only right to protect what God has put in and on your heart.