I think marking in one’s Bible is a great idea. Highlighting certain verses, certain words, or writing short points in the margins of one’s Bible are all good ways to jog your memory or emphasize various important truths.
Unfortunately, the picture to the left is a caricature of how some people mark in their Bible. Christians and non-Christians alike can probably quote Matthew 7:1. If there’s one verse in the Bible that is closest to being universally known, it would be this verse.
But if I may remove the “markings” from this picture, you will see that this passage is actually stating that only a certain kind of judging is prohibited, and a different kind of judging is expected.
If we remove the markings covering verse 5, you’ll see that before we judge another, we need to remove the “plank” from our own eyes…but keep reading. Jesus said, “then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Did you see that? Jesus isn’t opposed to “speck removing.” He’s opposed to “speck removing” from people who haven’t removed the “plank” from their own eye.
So what this passage is teaching is that people who haven’t removed planks from their eyes don’t need to judge others. Therefore, Jesus tells us to remove our planks so that we can see clearly to help remove the speck in the eye of others.
Context really does matter, doesn’t it!