A Study on the Word "Judge"

Living Abundantly 
According to God's Word Series

Read Time: 15 Minutes

Several verses in the Word have come to my attention about judging people and I wanted to be clear, from God's Word, about the subject. I want to line up my walk with God's Word and here is an area that I have judged people and seen people passing judgment or condemning others. There are a couple of words translated "judge" in the Bible; this study will focus on the Greek word krino. It is translated in the King James Version: judge 88 times, determine 7 times, condemn 5 times, go to law 2 times, call in question 2 times, esteem 2 times, and translated other ways 8 times, for 114 uses.

I found four main usages: the Father judges, Jesus Christ judges, the Word judges, men judge, and to determine or decide.

The first usage that I will cover is God the Father judging.

I Peter 1
:13  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,
    be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
:14 As obedient children,
        not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
:15 But as he which hath called you is holy,
    so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
:16 Because it is written,
        Be ye holy;
        for I am holy.
:17 And if ye call on the Father,
        who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work,
    pass the time of your sojourning here in fear [reverence]:

God judges us according to our works. We know from the Word that His judgment is not to condemnation for we are no longer condemned by the law (Romans 8:1) since Jesus Christ died for us, paying the price for Adam's disobedience (Romans 5). We have also been made righteous, not through any works of our own, but because of the great grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father. So the questions is, by what works are we judged?

Ephesians 2
:4 But God, who is rich in mercy,
        for his great love wherewith he loved us,
:5     Even when we were dead in sins,
    hath quickened us together with Christ,
        (by grace ye are saved;)
:6 And hath raised us up together,
    and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith;
        and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
:9     Not of works,
            lest any man should boast.
:10 For we are his workmanship,
        created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
        which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are no longer judged according to our old man, our sin nature, for God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) But we are judged according to our good works. The works I see referenced in the Word of God are the works of God,  ministering to people. God has equipped us to do works with His Word (II Timothy 4:16 & 17).  Judge has such a negative connotation  in our minds that we think that we will be condemned for not doing good works. But that is not God's heart. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.

God has given the judgment over to Jesus Christ.

John 5
:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them,
        Verily, verily, I say unto you,
        The Son can do nothing of himself,
            but what he seeth the Father do:
        for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
:20   For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth:
        and he will shew him greater works than these,
            that ye may marvel.
:21   For as the Father raiseth up the dead,
            and quickeneth them;
        even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
:22   For the Father judgeth [krino] no man,
        but hath committed all judgment [krisis-a form of judge-judgment] unto the Son:
:23       That all men should honour the Son,
            even as they honour the Father.
            He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
:24   Verily, verily, I say unto you,
        He that heareth my word,
            and believeth on him that sent me,
        hath everlasting life,
        and shall not come into condemnation; [krisis-judgment]
            but is passed from death unto life.
:25   Verily, verily, I say unto you,
        The hour is coming, and now is,
        when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God:
            and they that hear shall live.
:26       For as the Father hath life in himself;
            so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
:27       And hath given him authority to execute judgment [krisis] also,
                because he is the Son of man.
:28   Marvel not at this:
        for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
:29   And shall come forth;
            they that have done good,
                unto the resurrection of life;
            and they that have done evil,
                unto the resurrection of damnation. [krisis-judgment]
:30   I can of mine own self do nothing:
        as I hear, I judge: [krino]
        and my judgment [krisis]  is just;
            because I seek not mine own will,
            but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jesus Christ's judgment is according to God and His Word. Jesus Christ is completely in synchronization with God; his judgment will always be according to God's will.

 The Word also judges.

Hebrews 4
:12 For the word of God is quick,
    and powerful,
    and sharper than any twoedged sword,
    piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
    and of the joints and marrow,
    and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word discerner is a form of judge, kritikos, where we get critic. The Word of God is the standard whereby all is measured. The Word judges. Jesus Christ spoke the Word of God, he always said what God would have him say.

John 12
:46 I am come a light into the world,
        that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not:
        for I came not to judge the world,
        but to save the world.
:48 He that rejecteth me,
        and receiveth not my words,
    hath one that judgeth [krima] him:
        the word that I have spoken,
        the same shall judge [krima] him in the last day.
:49 For I have not spoken of myself;
    but the Father which sent me,
        he gave me a commandment,
        what I should say,
        and what I should speak.
:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting:
    whatsoever I speak therefore,
        even as the Father said unto me,
    so I speak.

The Word of God is the Judge. It is the standard by which we can measure our lives. We can live up to the standard, it is our freewill. We have been redeemed, made righteous, justified, sanctified, and have the ministry of reconciliation; we can live according to that standard now and abide in the light.

Now, for man judging, yup, you and me judging, what does the Word say?

I Corinthians 4
:3 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. [God is having Paul write this]
:4 For I know nothing by myself;
    yet am I not hereby justified:
    but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come,
        who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness,
        and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:
            and then shall every man have praise of God.

We may judge ourselves; we may judge others, but that does not give us the right to. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that judges, and we saw earlier that his judgment is of God and God is a rewarder. We are then told that we are to judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come. That judgment happens when Christ returns with his saints.

II Thessalonians 1
:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us,
    [more properly translated; and to you who were troubled are at rest with us]
    when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed [apokalupsis] from heaven with his mighty angels, 
        [angelon dunameos, messengers of His mighty power, angels and the Church Saints,  Believers]
:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, 
        and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, 
        and from the glory of his power;
:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, 
    and to be admired in all them that believe 
        (because our testimony among you was believed) 
    in that day.

God is talking about when Jesus Christ returns with his messengers, the angels and saints after the gathering together, yet before the first and second resurrections. For an explanation of the events that transpire during the Appearing or Revelation administration read How the Bible Interprets Itself: To Whom the Word is Written - Part II, Administrations II.

We are inclined to judge people. It is our way of categorizing people, determining what kind of person they are and how we are to relate to them. However, our judgments can be harmful and error prone. Jesus Christ's judgments come from the Father. So what does God have to say; we can learn from His Word and ask for revelation.

Romans 14
:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye,
not to doubtful disputations.
    [NRSV: Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.
    Magiera Peshitta Trans: Now to him who is weak in faith, give a hand, and do not have doubt in your reasonings.]

:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things:
    another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
:3 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.

So I ask you, who is our master, who is our Lord?  We are under God's judgment and answer to Him, so who am I to pass judgment that doesn't line up with the Word regarding someone? Are we looking at the five-senses actions of others and judging accordingly?

: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.
:7 For none of us liveth to himself,
    and no man dieth to himself.
:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord;
    and whether we die, we die unto the Lord:
    whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived,
        that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
: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.
:11 For it is written,
I live,
    saith the Lord,
        every knee shall bow to me,
        and every tongue shall confess to God.
:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more:
    but judge this rather,
        that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Our judgments can be harmful. If we determine that ourselves or others must do this or act this way to be righteous before God we err, for God has made us righteous, it is not by our works. The Word of God is for doctrine, reproof, and correction, it is not our five-senses opinions, or judgments, that are profitable.

:14 I know,
        and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus,
    that there is nothing unclean of itself:
    but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat,
        now walkest thou not charitably. [you are not walking in love]
    Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
:17   For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
            but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
:18     For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace,
    and things wherewith one may edify another.
:20 For meat destroy not the work of God.
    All things indeed are pure;
    but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
:21 It is good neither to eat flesh,
    nor to drink wine,
    nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth,
        or is offended,
        or is made weak.
:22 Hast thou faith?
        have it to thyself before God.
    Happy [makarios - blessed] is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat,
        because he eateth not of faith:
            for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

It is our individual walk with God that we can control. Others don't stand approved before me or you, they are judged by God, Christ, and the Word. Who is the person you are considering, is he/she a child of God? If so, their master is the Lord. What right then do you have to pass judgment and think evil of a person. Our thinking and actions should line up with the doctrine of the Word. If they do not then the Word provides the reproof and correction. If a person decides that they don't want to eat meat or maybe just not eat pork that is their choice, but they don't have a right to impose their choice on others. Most of Christianity goes to Church on Sunday, not because it is in the law but because it is a choice. If a person decides to go on Wednesday instead of Sunday that is their choice, we live in the age of grace.

Do be mindful that you do not cause your brother or sister to stumble. Walk uprightly according to the Word and not according the 5-senses rules and regulations which men feel they must impose upon each other. What is the greatest commandment? Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and the second is like unto it; love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22:36-40)

The next usage is to determine or decide something.

Acts 3
:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers,
    hath glorified his Son Jesus;
        whom ye delivered up,
        and denied him in the presence of Pilate,
        when he was determined [krino] to let him go. 

Pilate had realized that Jesus had not done anything worthy of death and made the decision, determined, to let him go.

Acts 4
:18 And they [the rulers and elders] called them,
    and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them,
        Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Peter and John put the decision back on the elders, should Peter and John listen to man more than God? They should determine what it best.

In summary:

  • God's judgment is to reward us for our good works that He has equipped us to do.
  • Jesus Christ's judgment is according to God and His Word. Jesus Christ is completely in synchronization with God; his judgment will always be according to God's will. God has given the judgment over to His son.
  • The Word of God is the Judge. It is the standard by which we can measure our lives. We can live up to the standard, it is our freewill.
  • Regarding man's judgment: Others don't stand approved before me or you, they are judged by God, Christ, and the Word.
  • The last usage is to determine or decide.