Speaker: Jerry Cisar
What is the most popular verse in the Bible? Most surveys base their findings on what is searched on Bible apps (John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 23, and Philippians 4:13 top all the lists). But that only measures what is popular among Christians. Greg Laurie, an evangelical pastor, suggested that Matthew 7:1 (“Don’t judge lest you be judged”) is the most popular verse among unbelievers, though they likely don’t know where it is found. He may be right.
Despite its popularity, not many consider how it fits into its context, or do so only superficially. Consequently, 7:1-6 becomes something like: “Don’t judge lest you be judged, because the way you judge is how you will be judged…. But then, be careful to judge people as dogs and pigs lest you cast holy pearls before them.” If verse 6 is a caution to not overdo verses 1-2, the caution fails to give any practical advice and renders verses 1-2 seemingly useless.
Once again, this text did not land in our Bibles, dropped off by a spaceship coming out of nowhere. Context makes all the difference. In last week’s text, we saw that Jesus tells us “Don’t worry; be generous” because worry prevents people from being generous. In this week’s text, Jesus tells us “Don’t judge; be _______________.” because such judging will prevents people from being ____________. (That’s right, once again you have to come to find out!)