To Judge or not to Judge
You be the Judge
by Craig C. White
Definitions are from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
It is written “Don’t judge your brother” (Rom 14:3-6). It is also written “Judge your brother” (1Co 6:5). The word judge doesn’t always apply to the same condition. As a matter of fact the word judge is used to express words that mean different things. Also other words are used to express judgment. When it comes to judgment you better break out the concordance before you judge.
Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
In Leviticus 19:15 above the word translated judgment is a Hebrew word meaning the general act for conducting a court case. The word translated judge means to pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish. The words are used in similar ways but the second has a more specific application.
Jer 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
In Jeremiah 5:28 above wicked men of Israel “misjudge” six times. Five different words are used. First the wicked men purposely overlook the deeds of the wicked. In other words they don’t condemn or judge their deeds. Second and third; they don’t contend (or act) to solve the case of the fatherless. Fourth and fifth are similar words; the wicked men neglect to render (or conclude) a verdict in the case of the needy when a verdict is due. All of these words refer to some aspect of judgment. We cannot therefore render judgment on the word without much consideration.
Joh 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
In John 5:30 above Christ says that, “as I hear, I judge”. Here the word translated judge is the Greek word krino (kree’-no); it means to distinguish or decide whether a thing is good or evil. The word translated judgment is the Greek word krisis (kree’-sis); perhaps best described as condemnation.
Ok, now we are ready for judgment that hits closer to home. In 1Corinthians we are instructed to judge our fellow believers; but be careful because we are also cautioned not to judge them!
In 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 below the apostle Paul differentiates between man’s temporary scrutiny and God’s everlasting consequential ruling. He uses the same word in both cases but modifies the meaning with additional words that also mean judgment.
1Co 4:3-4 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
First Paul says that it is a small thing to be scrutinized by man for a day. The word judged is the Greek word anakrino (an-ak-ree’-no); meaning to scrutinize. The word judgment is a Greek word roughly meaning “something that applies for a day”. In verse 4 Paul tells us that he is not justified (or judged as innocent) through his own assessment of himself, but that God scrutinizes him. As you can see there are many ways to look at judgment.
1Co 5:11-13 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
In 1 Corinthians 5:11 above we are instructed to not associate with people who confess to be a fellow believer in Christ but who also are actively practicing grievous sin. In verses 12 and 13 the word judge is used three times. It is the same word in all three instances; krino (kree’-no); it means to distinguish or decide whether a thing is good or evil. The word has the same meaning; however the consequences vary depending on who the judge is, man or God.
1Co 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
In 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 above the word judge is again the word krino (kree’-no); it means to distinguish or decide whether a thing is good or evil. So when Jesus Christ reigns on earth believers will judge people and angels. Krino doesn’t necessarily mean that we will punish them but that we will decide in our minds whether a thing is good or evil. Final and complete judgment is given to Jesus Christ. In John 5:22 below judgeth is the word krino. Judgment is the Greek word krisis (kree’-sis); meaning damnation. So be careful how you use the word judge!
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
In 1 Corinthians 6:5 below the apostle Paul criticizes the local church for not judging one another in civil and criminal matters. Here Paul uses the Greek word diakrino (dee-ak-ree’-no); meaning to judge (or decide thoroughly) through some conduit. Here it describes a person who is able to complete judgment between his fellow church members. You might call him a judge.
1Co 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
In 1 Corinthians 11:31 below diakrino is used again. If we judge ourselves; that is if we decide thoroughly, then in this life we would not be tried by God. When our behavior is tried by God he disciplines us so that we will not be condemned (katakrino; to judge down) to everlasting punishment with the rebellious world that has rejected Jesus Christ.
1Co 11:31-32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
In Romans 14 below we are instructed not to judge (krino, to decide) fellow believers in the way that they serve God. If you believe that Sunday is for going to church, great! If your Christian brother believes that Saturday is for going to church, that is great too! Do not criticize your brother in Christ for the way he serves God. That is God’s job.
Rom 14:3-6 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
In Romans 14:10 below judge is the Greek word krino, and set at nought means to despise. Judgment seat is the Greek word bema (bay’-ma); meaning a step, that is, foot breath.
Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
We will all present ourselves for judgment at the feet of Jesus Christ as he sits on his throne.