What Does the Bible say about “Judging?”

What about “Judging?”

© 2023 C. O. Bishop

We usually think of “judging,” and “judgment,” only in a negative sense. The unbelieving World claims that “all judgment is bad.” But, Jesus is the Judge of all things, and He is completely GOOD. Abraham recognized Him, face to face, and addressed Him as “the Judge of all the earth.” “(Genesis 18:25…compare John 5:22) therefore, we see that NOT “all judgment” is a bad thing. Furthermore, the specific Greek word being translated often determines the usage.

Primary Greek Root: Krinō  

For a primary example, the New Testament uses the verb “krino” to mean, “to judge.” This includes, but it is not limited to, the concept of condemning. In addition, it also includes the concept of making a good decision or discerning between good and bad. Next, it can also include making an authoritative decree , in a civil matter, as a Judge; or in church matters, making a weighty decision that calls for good judgment.

Finally, it can even involve something as common as just stating an opinion. (The New Testament uses this root 110 times as some form of krino, and translated it as “judge” 87 times.) So, in the following passages, we will see examples of each of those ideas, and the particular grammatical changes in the Greek root.

Other Root Words

Moreover, translators have also translated a few other Greek roots in the New Testament, as “Judge,” or “Judgment,” but these words are far less common:

The New Testament translates the Greek word Krima second-most-often as “Judge.” Krima means “to judge or condemn.” (We derive our words, “crime,” “criminal,” and “incriminate” from this root.) (The New testament uses Krima 29 times… and it translates it as “judgment” 13 times.)

Other Greek Roots:

Next, Hegeomai means “to consider.” The New Testament only uses it once, carrying the idea of “regarding, or considering.” Hebrews 11:11 (referring to the faith of Sara) says, “…because she judged Him faithful Who had promised.” We rarely use this form in modern English, but it was once quite common. (“We judged that a quart of water ought to be enough to prime the pump…”)

There are others, (dikē)  related to the concept of the judgment decreed by a ruler. (The New Testament only uses it in that regard nine times.)

And a few others are related to the concept of “knowledge…(thinking:)” three from the Greek root (“gnosko.”) Or the concept of perception, one from the Greek word (“aesthesis.”)

Various meanings of “Judgement from th e Root Word “Krinō

The majority of the occurrences of “judgment” in the New Testament are from the root “Krinō.

Judge notMatthew 7:1 (most commonly quoted.) (krinete with negative prefix mē.) but “krima” (condemnation) appears in the next verse “with what judgment (krima) you judge (krino) So, in this context, the “krino” judgment is connected to condemnation.

Judging, as righteous, ordained JudgesMatthew 19:28 (Jesus said that the apostles would serve as judges over Israel.) (krinontes…judging)

Judge: (krino, krinete) (meaning, to “give an opinion:” especially an authoritative opinion…a judgment) Acts 13:47, and Acts 15:19.

Judge,  (krinate) (meaning “sit in Judgment”…in court) John 18:31

Several Examples in One Passage

1st Corinthians 6:1-8 supplies us with several different examples, so it is a very good passage within which to see the various uses of the verb “krino.

1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law (krinesthai) before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge (krinousin)the world? and if the world shall be judged (krinetai) by you, are ye unworthy to judge (kritērion)the smallest matters?

Know ye not that we shall judge (krinoumen) angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

If then ye have judgments (kritēria) of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge (the word “judge” actually is not in the original, it is implied by the context…it just means “set them up”) who are least esteemed in the church.

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 (diakrinai) between his brethren?

But brother goeth to law (krinetai)with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law (krinata)one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.


We see, obviously, that there are several different ideas lumped under the Biblical word “judgment,” and not all of them are negative. God advised some, He commanded others, (for example, 1st Corinthians 5:1-6) and He prohibited still others (See Romans 14:1-4.) We must read carefully and understand the context, to know what “judgment” is in question.