James 4:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 4:11, NIV: "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister 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."

James 4:11, ESV: "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."

James 4:11, KJV: "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."

James 4:11, NASB: "Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. The one who speaks against a brother or sister, or judges his brother or sister, 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."

James 4:11, NLT: "Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God's law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you."

James 4:11, CSB: "Don't criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge."

What does James 4:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

So far in chapter 4, James has described how his readers were being unfaithful to God by following the world's path of self-reliance and self-glorification. He has also described how Christians can repent from this sinful approach to life and begin to trust God and move closer to Him again.

Now James warns his readers not to turn on each other in slander or in judgment of each other. As used in the Bible, slander means to question someone's authority, to spread hurtful lies about them, or even to say unkind, unhelpful things about them. To judge someone is to assume a position of authority over them. James may have in mind Leviticus 19:16, one of the verses found just before the "love command" (Leviticus 19:18) he quoted earlier in his letter. The earlier verse says, "You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people…"

James's Jewish readers had high respect for the Old Testament Law. His point is that to disobey the Law by judging another person is a way of putting yourself above the Law. If you're going to be a doer of the Law, just be a doer. Don't be a volunteer judge of how others are doing. Again, James is urging Christians to walk in humility in our relationship with God and with each other. As he will say in the next verse, God is the only judge we or our neighbors need.