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Answer to Question 2

What does James have to say about judging others?

In verse 11 in some translations of the Bible, James warns us against judging our fellow man. Yet in other translations, his words ring out as, "Do not Slander". William Barclay, who translated the bible and wrote an entire series of Bible Studies, translates it as "talking harshly". Indeed, the original Greek would favor this meaning.

In various versions or translations most passages of the Bible are very similar and the variation in meaning from the original Greek is negligible. Yet, some passages, such as this controversial passage from James, require clarification and close study. What James is asking for here is that we should not wound our fellow man by speaking negatively of him. We should not inflict punishment upon him for crimes only supposed. He is speaking out against prejudice.

As Martin Luther King so wisely noted, we should judge men by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. There is even more in this notion. Throughout the epistle of James we find frequent references to the law. He is especially concerned that we do not put ourselves above the law. By speaking harshly, or slandering someone, by judging them without evidence, we place ourselves above the law. As noted in Chapter 3 God made the Law. If we place ourselves above the law, then we are placing ourselves above God. (A grave mistake to say the least.)

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