What Is Valid Criticism?

Okay, I’ll need some help on this one.

Solomon, the wisest king ever, said in Proverbs 25:12:

To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. (New Living Translation)

I don’t really like criticism of any kind, but it says it right there in the Bible that valid criticism is good for me. So what is “valid criticism”? Look at this same verse in two other versions:

Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear. (NIV)

A wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger. (The Message)

I’ll start…

Valid criticism comes from someone with wisdom and experience in the area they are critiquing.

Valid criticism is intended to help me get better.

Valid criticism comes in measured, well-thought-out words.

Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, please share with us how you define “valid criticism.”

Also check out 20 Helpful Thoughts On Criticism for some insights from other wise people.

8 Responses to “What Is Valid Criticism?”

  1. Chad Says:


    I would say that you’ve hit upon the crux of it with this statement:

    Valid criticism is intended to help me get better.

    It seems to me that if criticism does not build, edify, or seek the growth of the one to whom it is delivered, then not much can be said for its validity. I notice that the verses you’ve picked mention “rebuke” and “reprimand,” and I would suggest that valid criticism should involve another R word: reproval. For a Christian, reproval means gentle correction which comes in love.

    Just my two cents.


  2. Chilly Says:


    If I’m humble enough to pay attention, I can receive ‘valid criticism’ from anyone.
    – how people live
    – what they say
    – how they treat others
    – how they pray
    – the way they smile

    I certainly have ‘iron men’ in my life that keep me accountable on a regular basis. But, I want more than that & strive to learn continually…

    IF I’m constantly growing, changing and loving – I can embrace any word of correction and find the good in it without becoming defensive. Sometimes it’s ALL needed – other times, it’s like hot wings – eat the meat & pitch the bones! 😉

    If any speak ill of thee, flee home to thy own conscience, and examine thy heart; if thou be guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction; make use of both, so shalt thou distill honey out of gall, and out of an open enemy create a secret friend. ~ Francis Quarles


  3. Craig T. Owens Says:

    Here’s a great example of valid criticism from Michael Hyatt’s blog post that came out the same day I posed this question. You can read Michael’s post here.


  4. Everyone’s A Critic | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] What Is Valid Criticism? […]


  5. How Does One Write A Book? | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Be humble enough to accept honest, loving feedback.  […]


  6. Judging The Right Way | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] One final thought. I think I need to treat a concern that another person brings to me in a very similar fashion as I would treat an eye speck someone else. Perhaps God sent them to me, so I need to ask the Holy Spirit to show me any “plank” that may be in my eye, even if it has been brought to my attention through a judgmental person. It is very God-honoring for me to give that person the benefit of the doubt by saying that they cared enough for my well-being that they would be willing to point something out to me.  […]


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