The Twisted Bible - Part 3 - "Instruct"

This Twisted Bible series seeks to unpack and develop many words in English translations of the Bible that seem to be lacking. In this series, we will start by looking at words that could have been translated better (or at least more accurately), and then we will gradually build to translated words that were more heavily twisted, censored, or out-right butchered. If you have not read the introductory post on this series, please read it here. For every word I will give you the link so you can look it up on Blue Letter Bible. There you can see the Greek word, the full definition, and the cross references. Here is an article on how to use it for all its worth.


Let's talk about judging! This is certainly a hot topic in Christian circles. Most often when judging is discussed we hear the verse, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged" (Matthew 7:1, especially in the King James Version, to sound extra official). I most often hear this verse when a Christian is feeling convicted. It seems that this verse has become a shelter to hide from critique. The problem with the word judging are the associations we place with it. I know I quickly think of people like Westboro Baptist, whose judgment looks absolutely nothing like Jesus. But while we have verses like "Judge not" in Matthew 7:1 we also have 1 Corinthians 5:12, we tells us that we have no position to judge those outside the church, but rather only those inside of the Church. Both verses use the same Greek word "krinō". In light of this, how should the Church handle the topic of "judging"? I would like to propose an alternative word, found in the Bible, that would better define how " judging" should look in the Church:

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. -Romans 15:14

The Greek word for "instruct" as seen in this verse is "noutheteō." It's a bad translation, as this is the only time we see this word translated as "instruct." Almost every other time the word is translated "admonish," which gives a much better picture of its intended meaning. As we see in 1 Corinthians 4:14, the same word is used to explain what admonish looks like: "I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children." Admonishing should not be done in power or condemnation or oppression or judgement, but rather it should be done in love. As parents should lovingly admonish their children, we can do the same in family-like relationships. Only when the Church functions as a loving family, however, can we properly understand and follow these verses. Just as I correct, teach, and admonish my own kids differently than I would our neighbor kids, we can see how the Church should handle verses like 1 Corinthians 5:12.

My hope is we can walk away from the false dichotomy of either we can't judge or we judge like Westboro. I pray we can look like Jesus who correctly admonished self-righteous religious leaders of his day, but also showed radical grace to the hurting. It's in this light that I believe the word admonish could solve our issues on the topic of judging.

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