Dunn on Passing Judgment


The following is from James D.G. Dunn’s commentary on Colossians in The new International Greek Testament Commentary, Eerdmans1996. Dunn is commenting on Colossians 2:16: “Therefore, do not let anyone pass judgment on you over food and drink or in the matter of festival, new moon, or Sabbaths.”

“More noteworthy still is the use of the verb KRINO [a Greek word meaning ‘to judge’ pronounced kree-no-jerry], as in Romans 13:3-4, where it clearly indicates the tendency of the more scrupulous to pass judgment on others who do not live according to their scruples. Those who insist on a more restricted lifestyle for themselves do so because they think it an essential expression of their belief and identity as believers. They observe because they think God requires such observance. That conviction will inevitably result in them criticizing or even condemning those who claim the same fundamental faith loyalty but who practice a less restricted lifestyle. If God requires observance, then he disapproves of nonobservance, and those who ignore God’s requirements are to be condemned and avoided, despite their claim to the same fundamental faith. Such was the logic of the devout Jewish traditionalist, including the traditionalist Christian Jew. It is this attitude which is most probably in view here, judged to be more dangerous than the equivalent attitude critiqued in Romans 14 but requiring less forceful response than in Galatians, presumably because the circumstances in each case were different.”—173-174

 Soli Deo Gloria!


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