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Message of the Day: Private Reproof Is Hard To Do, But It Is The Way Of Christ!

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15, NKJV)

The procedure indicated in the passage was a standard Jewish custom; the Dead Sea Scrolls, the rabbis and others demand that one begin with private reproof. Publicly shaming someone unnecessarily was considered sinful, and Jewish teachers stressed the importance of receiving reproof.

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software.

We should be willing to forgive our fellow Christians but we should also be concerned that wrongdoers realize their sin and turn from it. We should go to the wrongdoer privately and point out the mistake, so that the person might be spiritually helped.

If this move fails, two or three others should be called in, (1) to make sure that the wrongdoer is in fact guilty, and (2) to appeal for reconciliation. If this also fails, the entire community of believers should appeal to the wrongdoer. Should there still be no change, believers should treat the wrongdoer as if no longer part of their fellowship; though they should also desire the person’s repentance and restoration.

Private reproof is hard to do in this age of “virtual” relationships via the internet and the social media, but is is the way of Christ that all of us ought to follow.


Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

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