The Bible does not necessarily condemn criticism, but offers a framework for constructive criticism that fosters improvement and growth, while also reminding followers about the potential harms of unkind, rash or unjust judgment.
What Guidance the Bible Provides on Delivering Criticism
When it comes to offering criticism, the Bible lays out principles to ensure it’s constructive and beneficial, rather than harmful or malicious. According to biblical teachings, it is crucial to deliver criticism gently, in love, and to bring about positive change or uphold truth and justice. It is frowned upon to criticize with a haughty spirit, with the intent to harm, or from a place of self-righteousness. Instead, believers are encouraged to give feedback that helps others grow and improve.
Why the Bible Encourages Receiving Criticism Openly
The Bible encourages believers to receive criticism with humility, understanding, and openness as it can lead to wisdom and personal growth. It stresses the importance not only of accepting criticism but considering it deeply as a means to self-improvement. While not all criticism is correct or fair, a wise person can discern the truth within and utilize it for personal growth.
Who is Cautioned Against Making Rash Judgments in the Bible
The Bible cautions everyone against making rash judgements about others. It is emphasized repeatedly that as humans, we only see the exterior or the actions of a person, not their heart or inner motivations. Therefore, it advises waiting for all the facts before forming opinions, and warns against making hasty or uninformed judgments. It also warns against hypocrisy, advising believers to honestly examine their own faults before pointing them out in others.
Where the Bible Advises on Self-Criticism
The Bible advises that a certain amount of self-criticism can be healthy, as it encourages personal development and spiritual growth. However, it also warns against unproductive self-criticism, leading to self-doubt, anxiety, and a diminished sense of self-worth. Instead, it promotes self-reflection, honest self-assessment, and change driven by a desire to be more Christ-like.
When the Bible Condemns Unjust Criticism
The Bible condemns unjust criticism and the harm it can cause. It cautions that words wielded carelessly can hurt like weapons, and insists that the tongue must be controlled to avoid causing unnecessary damage. It offers warnings against bearing false witness, spreading gossip, or speaking maliciously about others. Moreover, it instructs believers to call out and resist unjust criticism, promoting a culture of respect, fairness, and love over judgement and harm.
Below is our full list of bible verses on criticism (King James Version – KJV) provided in ranked order.
Most Popular Bible Verses About Criticism
“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
“11 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.12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”
“29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
“19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
“1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
2 Timothy 3:16
“16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
“4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”
Related Themes: Judging Others
“31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”
Related Themes: Wisdom
“6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
“24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”
2 Timothy 2:24-25
“24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;”
“1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
“17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
“8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
“15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
“11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
“13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
“5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
“18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
“19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
“51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Related Themes: Holy Spirit
2 Peter 1:21
“21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
“2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
Related Themes: Judging Others
1 Corinthians 2:14
“14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
“2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”
“2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”
“2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
“10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”