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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida

To Judge, or Not to Judge?

Is it just me, or are there more and more Christians that are proud that they donít "judge" other people, but keep company and fellowship with people who are caught up in obvious sin? Do you see it too? I also see parents overlooking sin in their children for the sake of "peace" within the family, and pastors overlooking sin within their Church in order not to make "trouble".

There are two types of "judging" in the New Testament. The one we are commanded NOT to do, is an "active" form of judgement, where we decide that someone is spiritually doing wrong and we "punish" them for it. (Quite often through back stabbing and gossip) The other type, that we SHOULD do, is a "passive" form of judging, where we discern, or decide, what is right and wrong, and separate ourselves from the wrong.

In Matt. 7:1-5, the Greek word "krino" is used, concerning a "personal" and "active" judgement: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again". This is the form of "judging" that we are commanded NOT to do, in many New Testament passages.

But, there are other Greek words in the New Testament, that are translated "judge", where we DO judge, such as "anakrino", and "diakrino". Scripture passages that use these two words tell us to "judge", or "discern" right from wrong and SEPARATE ourselves from sin.

"Anakrino", for example, is used in 1 Cor. 2:15, where Paul states: "He that is spiritual judgeth all things", and we find "diakrino" and "krino" both in one sentence in 1 Cor. 11:31, where Paul says "If we JUDGE (diakrino, discern right from wrong) ourselves, we should be not JUDGED" (krino, God having to measure out discipline to us).

I find three situations in the New Testament where we DO "judge":

We must "passively judge" or discern right from wrong and separate ourselves from sin. (1 Cor. 2:15 & 11:31, & Eph. 5:1-15) Discipline within the local Church body. (1 Cor. 5:9-13, "krino" or active judging, and 1 Cor. 6:1-8, with "krino" in verses 2,3,& 4, and "diakrino", deciding who is right and wrong, in verse 5). National and local authorities must judge (krino) and punish law breakers. (Rom. chapter 13 & 1 Pet. chapters 2:13 Ė 3:7. These passages also include job, school, and parental authorities, where discipline should be designed and administered for correction). When we condone and assist others in sinning, Godís Word says that we are PARTAKERS in their SIN! (Eph. 5:3-12, 1 Tim 5:22, & 2 John 9-11)

We MUST understand these principals of "judging" and heed them in our walk with the Lord. May the Lord give us "discernment" as we read the above Scriptures, and the ability to apply them to our lives.

Bob Jones