corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.02.23
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Study the Bible

New Living Translation
James 4:11

Don't speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God's law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it.

Bible Study Resources

Commentaries:

- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Box's Commentaries on Selected Books;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Dunagan Commentary;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Godbey's NT Commentary;   Gary Hampton Commentary;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Haydock's Catholic Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   Gray's Commentary;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Peake's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Sermon Bible;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;   Zerr's N.T. Commentary;  

Concordances:

- Nave's Topical Bible - Charitableness;   Commandments;   Doer;   Slander;   Speaking;   Uncharitableness;   Thompson Chain Reference - Doers;   Evil;   Silence-Speech;   Speaking, Evil;   The Topic Concordance - God;   Judges;   Law;   Salvation;   Speech/communication;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Slander;  

Dictionaries:

- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gossip;   Judgment;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Evil Speaking;   Ordinances of the Gospel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Evil-Speaking;   Persecution;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - James, the General Epistle of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - James, the Letter;   Judge (Office);   Slander;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - James, Epistle of;   Judas;   Judging;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Evil-Speaking;   James ;   James Epistle of;   Judge Judging (Ethical);   Law;   Neighbour;   Perseverance;  

Encyclopedias:

- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Busybody;   Crime;   Evil-Speaking;   James, Epistle of;   Parousia;   Slander;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].

The Complete Jewish Bible
Brothers, stop speaking against each other! Whoever speaks against a brother or judges a brother is speaking against Torah and judging Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of what Torah says, but a judge.

American Standard Version
Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

Bible in Basic English
Do not say evil against one another, my brothers. He who says evil against his brother or makes himself his brother's judge, says evil against the law and is judging the law: and in judging the law you become, not a doer of the law but a judge.

English Revised Version
Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

English Standard Version
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Darby's Translation
Speak not against one another, brethren. He that speaks against [his] brother, or judges his brother, speaks against [the] law and judges [the] law. But if thou judgest [the] law, thou art not doer of [the] law, but judge.

Easy-to-Read Version
Brothers and sisters, don't say things against each other. If you criticize your brother {in Christ} or judge him, then you are criticizing the law {he follows}. When you judge a brother {in Christ}, you are really judging the law {he follows}. And when you are judging the law, you are not a follower of the law. You have become a judge!

The Geneva Bible (1587)
Speake not euill one of another, brethren. He that speaketh euill of his brother, or he that condemneth his brother, speaketh euill of ye Law, and condemneth the Lawe: and if thou condemnest the Lawe, thou art not an obseruer of the Lawe, but a iudge.

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
Backbite not one another brethren. He that backbiteth his brother, and he that iudgeth his brother, backbiteth ye lawe, and iudgeth the lawe: But and yf thou iudge the lawe, thou art not an obseruer of the lawe, but a iudge.

King James Version (1611)
Speake not euill one of another (brethren:) he that speaketh euill of his brother, and iudgeth his brother, speaketh euill of the Law, and iudgeth the Law: but if thou iudge the Law, thou art not a doer of the Law, but a iudge.

Contemporary English Version
My friends, don't say cruel things about others! If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God's Law. And if you condemn the Law, you put yourself above the Law and refuse to obey either it

New Revised Standard
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

New Century Version
Brothers and sisters, do not tell evil lies about each other. If you speak against your fellow believers or judge them, you are judging and speaking against the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are no longer a follower of the law. You have become a judge.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
Speak not against each other, my brethren; for he that speaketh against his brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law. And if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but its judge.

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. But if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
Do not speak against one another, my brethren, for he who speaks against his brother, and judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Detract not one another, my brethren. He that detracteth his brother, or he that judgeth his brother, detracteth the law and judgeth the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

Good News Translation
Do not criticize one another, my friends. If you criticize or judge another Christian, you criticize and judge the Law. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it.

Holman Christian Standard
Don't criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
Backbyte not one another, brethren. He that backbyteth his brother, and he yt iudgeth his brother, backbyteth the lawe, and iudgeth the lawe. But and yf thou iudge the lawe, thou art not an obseruer of the lawe: but a iudge.

Mace New Testament (1729)
Don't, my brethren, treat one another with detraction. he that reflects upon his brother, and censures his brother, reflects upon the law, and censures the law: if you censure the law, instead of obeying it, you set up for a judge.

J.P. Green Literal Translation
Do not speak against one another, brothers. He that speaks against a brother, and is judging a brother, he speaks against Law, and judges Law. But if you judge Law, you are not a doer of Law, but a judge.

New King James
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

New International Version
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

King James Version
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

New American Standard Version
Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

New Life Version
Christian brothers, do not talk against anyone or speak bad things about each other. If a person says bad things about his brother, he is speaking against him. And he will be speaking against God's Law. If you say the Law is wrong, and do not obey it, you are saying you are better than the Law.

Hebrew Names Version
Don't speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.

International Standard Version
Do not criticize each other, brothers. Whoever makes it his habit to criticize his brother or to judge his brother is judging the law and condemning the law. But if you condemn the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
Speak not against one another, my brethren; for he who speaketh against his brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law. And if the law thou judgest, thou art not a doer of the law, but the judge of it.

The Emphasised Bible
Be not speaking one against another, brethren! He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against law, and judgeth law; Now, if, upon law, thou art passing judgment, thou art not a doer of law, but a judge!

Revised Standard Version
Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Tyndale Bible
Backbyte not one another brethren. He that backbyteh hys brother and he that iudgeth his brother backbyteth the lawe and iudgeth the lawe. But and yf thou iudge the lawe thou art not an observer of ye lawe: but a iudge.

Updated Bible Version 1.9
Don't speak one against another, brothers. He that speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.

The Webster Bible
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

World English Bible
Don't speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.

Weymouth New Testament
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. The man who speaks evil of a brother-man or judges his brother-man speaks evil of the Law and judges the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it.

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
My britheren, nyle ye bacbite ech othere. He that bacbitith his brothir, ethir that demeth his brothir, bacbitith the lawe, and demeth the lawe. And if thou demest the lawe, thou art not a doere of the lawe, but a domesman.

Young's Literal Translation
Speak not one against another, brethren; he who is speaking against a brother, and is judging his brother, doth speak against law, and doth judge law, and if law thou dost judge, thou art not a doer of law but a judge;

The Message
Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it.

Lexham English Bible
Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. The one who speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of the law.

Contextual Overview

11Don't speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God's law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it. 12God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor? 13Look here, you people who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." 14How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog – it's here a little while, then it's gone. 15What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." 16Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. 17Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Verse Review

from
Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Speak
Psalms 140:11; Ephesians 4:31; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3; 1 Peter 2:1
and judgeth
Matthew 7:1,2; Luke 6:37; Romans 2:1; 14:3,4,10-12; 1 Corinthians 4:5
speaketh evil of the law
Romans 7:7,12,13
a doer
1:22,23,25; Romans 2:13

Cross-References

Genesis 3:14
So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you will be punished. You are singled out from all the domestic and wild animals of the whole earth to be cursed. You will grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly.

Genesis 4:14
You have banished me from my land and from your presence; you have made me a wandering fugitive. All who see me will try to kill me!"

Genesis 4:15
The LORD replied, "They will not kill you, for I will give seven times your punishment to anyone who does." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him.

Genesis 4:16
So Cain left the LORD's presence and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Genesis 4:19
Lamech married two women – Adah and Zillah.

Genesis 4:20
Adah gave birth to a baby named Jabal. He became the first of the herdsmen who live in tents.

Genesis 4:21
His brother's name was Jubal, the first musician – the inventor of the harp and flute.

Genesis 4:26
When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh. It was during his lifetime that people first began to worship the LORD.

Job 16:18
"O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf.

Isaiah 26:21
Look! The LORD is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been murdered. They will be brought out for all to see.

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Speak not evil one of another, brethren,.... The apostle here returns to his former subject, concerning the vices of the tongue, he had been upon in the preceding chapter, James 3:6, and here mentions one, which professors of religion were too much guilty of, and that is, speaking evil one of another; which is done either by raising false reports, and bringing false charges; or by aggravating failings and infirmities; or by lessening and depreciating characters, and endeavouring to bring others into discredit and disesteem among men: this is a very great evil, and what the men of the world do, and from them it is expected; but for the saints to speak evil one of another, to sit and speak against a brother, and slander an own mother's son, is barbarous and unnatural.

He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; he that is a talebearer and backbites his brother, his fellow member, and detracts from his good name and character, and takes upon him to judge his heart, and his state, as well as, to condemn his actions, he speaks evil of the law; and judges and condemns that, as if that forbid a thing that was lawful, even tale bearing and detraction, Leviticus 19:16, or by speaking evil of him for a good thing he does, he blames and condemns the law, as though it commanded a thing that was evil; and by passing sentence upon his brother, he takes upon him the province of the law, which is to accuse, charge, convince, pronounce guilty, and condemn:

but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law; as is a duty, and would best become:

but a judge; and so such a person not only infringes the right of the law, but assumes the place of the Judge and lawgiver himself; whereas, as follows,

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Speak not evil one of another, brethren - It is not known to whom the apostle here particularly refers, nor is it necessary to know. It is probable that among those whom he addressed there were some who were less circumspect in regard to speaking of others than they should be, and perhaps this evil prevailed. There are few communities where such an injunction would not be proper at any time, and few churches where some might not be found to whom the exhortation would be appropriate. Compare the Ephesians 4:31 note; 1 Peter 2:1 note. The evil here referred to is that of talking against others - against their actions, their motives, their manner of living, their families, etc. Few things are more common in the world; nothing is more decidedly against the true spirit of religion.

He that speaketh evil of his brother - Referring here probably to Christian brother, or to a fellow Christian. The word may however be used in a larger sense to denote anyone - a brother of the human race. Religion forbids both, and would restrain us from all evil speaking against any human being.

And judgeth his brother - His motives, or his conduct. See the notes at Matthew 7:1.

Speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law - Instead of manifesting the feelings of a brother he sets himself up as judge, and not only a judge of his brother, but a judge of the law. The law here referred to is probably the law of Christ, or the rule which all Christians profess to obey. It is that which James elsewhere calls the “law of liberty,” (Notes, James 1:25) the law which released men from the servitude of the Jewish rites, and gave them liberty to worship God without the restraint and bondage Acts 15:10; Galatians 4:21-31 implied in that ancient system of worship; and the law by which it was contemplated that they should be free from sin. It is not absolutely certain to what the apostle refers here, but it would seem probable that it is to some course of conduct which one portion of the church felt they were at liberty to follow, but which another portion regarded as wrong, and for which they censured them.

The explanation which will best suit the expressions here used, is that which supposes that it refers to some difference of opinion which existed among Christians, especially among those of Jewish origin, about the binding nature of the Jewish laws, in regard to circumcision, to holy days, to ceremonial observances, to the distinctions of meats, etc. A part regarded the law on these subjects as still binding, another portion supposed that the obligation in regard to these matters had ceased by the introduction of the gospel. Those who regarded the obligation of the Mosaic law as still binding, would of course judge their brethren, and regard them as guilty of a disregard of the law of God by their conduct. We know that differences of opinion on these points gave rise to contentions, and to the formation of parties in the church, and that it required all the wisdom of Paul and of the other apostles to hush the contending elements to peace.

Compare the notes at Colossians 2:16-18. To some such source of contention the apostle doubtless refers here; and the meaning probably is, that they who held the opinion that all the Jewish ceremonial laws were still binding on Christians, and who judged and condemned their brethren who did not observe them, by such a course judged and condemned “the law of liberty” under which they acted - the law of Christianity that had abolished the ceremonial observances, and released men from their obligation. The judgment which they passed, therefore, was not only on their brethren, but was on that law of Christianity which had given greater liberty of conscience, and which was intended to abolish the obligation of the Jewish ritual. The same thing now occurs when we judge others for a course which their consciences approve, because they do not deem it necessary to comply with all the rules which we think to be binding.

Not a few of the harsh judgments which one class of religionists pronounce on others, are in fact judgments on the laws of Christ. We set up our own standards, or our own interpretations, and then we judge others for not complying with them, when in fact they may be acting only as the law of Christianity, properly understood, would allow them to do. They who set up a claim to a right to judge the conduct of others, should be certain that they understand the nature of religion themselves. It may be presumed, unless there is evidence to the contrary, that others are as conscientious as we are; and it may commonly be supposed that they who differ from us have some reason for what they do, and may be desirous of glorifying their Lord and Master, and that they may possibly be right. It is commonly not safe to judge hastily of a man who has turned his attention to a particular subject, or to suppose that he has no reasons to allege for his opinions or conduct.

But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge - It is implied here that it is the simple duty of every Christian to obey the law. He is not to assume the office of a judge about its propriety or fitness; but he is to do what he supposes the law to require of him, and is to allow others to do the same. Our business in religion is not to make laws, or to declare what they should have been, or to amend those that are made; it is simply to obey those which are appointed, and to allow others to do the same, as they understand them. It would be well for all individual Christians, and Christian denominations, to learn this, and to imbibe the spirit of charity to which it would prompt.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

Speak not evil one of another - Perhaps this exhortation refers to evil speaking, slander, and backbiting in general, the writer having no particular persons in view. It may, however, refer to the contentions among the zealots, and different factions then prevailing among this wretched people, or to their calumnies against those of their brethren who had embraced the Christian faith.

He that speaketh evil of his brother - It was an avowed and very general maxim among the rabbins, that "no one could speak evil of his brother without denying God, and becoming an atheist." They consider detraction as the devil's crime originally: he calumniated God Almighty in the words, "He doth know that in the day in which ye eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be like God, knowing good and evil;" and therefore insinuated that it was through envy God had prohibited the tree of knowledge.

Speaketh evil of the law - The law condemns all evil speaking and detraction. He who is guilty of these, and allows himself in these vices, in effect judges and condemns the law; i.e. he considers it unworthy to be kept, and that it is no sin to break it.

Thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge - Thou rejectest the law of God, and settest up thy own mischievous conduct as a rule of life; or, by allowing this evil speaking and detraction, dost intimate that the law that condemns them is improper, imperfect, or unjust.


Copyright Statement:
New Living Translation
Copyright © 1996 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved. For more information about the NLT, please click here.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, February 23rd, 2020
Transfiguration Sunday / the Last Sunday after Epiphany
There are 49 days til Easter!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology