Word Study: Judge and Judgment

Introduction

When considering the question of proper Biblical judging, especially in relation to others, we often turn to this familiar passage:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

To properly understand this verse and related passages, it may be helpful to properly define the verb found in this passage, “judge” (krino), and the related noun, “judgment” (krima). Otherwise, we may infer an improper meaning, because we have prejudiced the words with meanings not found in the definitions. Multiple Greek words are translated as “judge” and “judgment”; therefore, to provide a thorough examination of the building blocks God chose to communicate His will to us on this important topic (judging others), this article will provide a survey of multiple lexicons and dictionaries as well as a catalog of every New Testament reference for the following related Greek words:

The primary purpose of this article is to simply document definitions and usages of these words in the New Testament. Before each word I provided a personal summary of my analysis of the lexicons and the Biblical usage. This is primarily for my own quick reference, and I would encourage you to double-check my work using the sources provided. Questions or concerns are welcome via our feedback form. Commentary and application is provided in other articles.

krino - To Judge

The original Greek verb most frequently translated as “judge” in the New Testament is κρίνω (krino).

krino - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following Greek lexicons help us understand the meaning of the word, κρίνω (krino), during the writing of the New Testament and ensure that we do not inject meaning not found in the original. Looking over these definitions, we can see that this one Greek word, krino, can refer to various stations of judges offering various types of judgment in various circumstances. In other words, there is nothing inherent in the word to mandate a singular understanding of a specific judge, a specific subject being judged, the nature of the judgment given, the realm of judgment, or even the acceptability of the judging performed. The definition is too generic to permit us to conform all usages to the same applied meaning. Like so many words, we simply must examine the context of each instance to understand these particulars. As in so many other cases, the Bible stands as its own best commentator on the exact application of the word in each circumstance.

krino - Bible Occurrences

The word, κρίνω (krino), occurs 114 times in the following 98 verses, most of which are cited in the article, Degrees of Judging:

Matthew 5:40; 7:1-2; 19:28; Luke 6:37; 7:43; 12:57; 19:22; 22:30; John 3:17-18; 5:22, 30; 7:24, 51; 8:15-16, 26, 50; 12:47-48; 16:11; 18:31; Acts 3:13; 4:19; 7:7; 13:27, 46; 15:19; 16:4, 15; 17:31; 20:16; 21:25; 23:3, 6; 24:21; 25:9-10, 20, 25; 26:6, 8; 27:1; Romans 2:1, 3, 12, 16, 27; 3:4, 6-7; 14:3-5, 10, 13, 22; I Corinthians 2:2; 4:5; 5:3, 12-13; 6:1-3, 6; 7:37; 10:15, 29; 11:13, 31-32; II Corinthians 2:1; 5:14; Colossians 2:16; II Thessalonians 2:12; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 3:12; Hebrews 10:30; 13:4; James 2:12; 4:11-12; 5:9; I Peter 1:17; 2:23; 4:5-6; Revelation 6:10; 11:18; 16:5; 18:8, 20; 19:2, 11; 20:12-13

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anakrino - To Examine Carefully

The Greek verb, ἀνακρίνω (anakrino), is etymologically related to κρίνω (krino), except it is necessarily more intensive or thorough, and it is typically translated as to carefully examine, search, judge, or discern.

anakrino - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for ἀνακρίνω (anakrino) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

Based on the definitions, we learn that ἀνακρίνω (anakrino) is indeed closely related to κρίνω (krino) and the idea of judging, excepted the judging is necessarily intensified for ἀνακρίνω (anakrino), but for κρίνω (krino) the effort applied in judging may or may not be so intense.

anakrino - Bible Occurrences

This word, ἀνακρίνω (anakrino), 16 times in the following 14 verses of the New Testament:

Luke 23:14; Acts 4:9; 12:19; 17:11; 24:8; 28:18; I Corinthians 2:14-15; 4:3-4; 9:3; 10:25, 27; 14:24

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diakrino - To Judge Between

The Greek verb, διακρίνω (diakrino), is etymologically related to κρίνω (krino). Examining the lexicons and Biblical usage, the verb often seems to emphasize the separation or distinguishing between the things being judged. Often it refers to contending, arguing with others. It also frequently refers to being at variance within oneself, to doubt or waver.

diakrino - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for διακρίνω (diakrino) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

diakrino - Bible Occurrences

This word, διακρίνω (diakrino), occurs 19 times in the following 18 verses of the New Testament:

Matthew 16:3; 21:21; Mark 11:23; Acts 10:20; 11:2, 12; 15:9; Romans 4:20; 14:23; I Corinthians 4:7; 6:5; 11:29, 31; 14:29; James 1:6; 2:4; Jude 9, 22

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katakrino - To Condemn

The Greek verb, κατακρίνω (katakrino), is etymologically related to κρίνω (krino); however, it is almost entirely negative in meaning. This verb carries with it the idea of judgment unto condemnation, sentencing, punishment, or loss of power.

katakrino - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for κατακρίνω (katakrino) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

katakrino - Bible Occurrences

This word, κατακρίνω (katakrino), occurs 18 times in the following 18 verses of the New Testament:

Matthew 12:41-42; 20:18; 27:3; Mark 10:33; 14:64; 16:16; Luke 11:31-32; John 8:10-11; Romans 2:1; 8:3, 34; 14:23; I Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 11:7; II Peter 2:6

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krisis - Judgment

The Greek noun, κρίσις (krisis), is closely related to the verb, κρίνω (krino), and it is generally translated as judgment. Young's Analytical Concordance offers the brief definition, “the process of judgment”. When used in reference to a judgment pronounced, this word is used most frequently of negative final condemnation from God, which is reserved for the wicked. Notice, in John 5:24 the faithful “shall not come into judgment”, but yet the righteous are certainly judged on that last day (Romans 14:10-12). Again notice John 5:29, in which workers of good arise to the “resurrection of life”, while the workers of evil arise to the “resurrection of condemnation”. The most remarkable exception to this general connotation of divine, negative condemnation is found in John 7:24, where some form of this judgment is committed to saints in this age.

krisis - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for κρίσις (krisis) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

krisis - Bible Occurrences

This word, κρίσις (krisis), occurs 47 times in the following 46 verses of the New Testament:

Matthew 5:21-22; 10:15; 11:22, 24; 12:18, 20, 36, 41-42; 23:23, 33; Luke 10:14; 11:31-32, 42; John 3:19; 5:22, 24, 27, 29-30; 7:24; 8:16; 12:31; 16:8, 11; Acts 8:33; II Thessalonians 1:5; I Timothy 5:24; Hebrews 9:27; 10:27; James 2:13; 5:12; II Peter 2:4, 9, 11; 3:7; I John 4:17; Jude 6, 9, 15; Revelation 14:7; 16:7; 18:10; 19:2

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diakrisis - Discernment

The Greek noun, διάκρισις (diakrisis), is also etymologically related to the noun, κρίσις (krisis). It suggests the ability to form judgment, to discern or to distinguish. It can also mean arguing or the ability to argue.

diakrisis - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for διάκρισις (diakrisis) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

diakrisis - Bible Occurrences

This word, διάκρισις (diakrisis), occurs 3 times in the following 3 verses of the New Testament:

Romans 14:1; I Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 5:14

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katakrisis - Condemnation

The Greek noun, κατάκρισις (katakrisis), is closely related to the noun, κρίσις (krisis) and judgment; however, it seems to always refer to negative judgment and condemnation, whether it was issued by God (II Corinthians 3:9) or by men (II Corinthians 7:3).

katakrisis - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for κατάκρισις (katakrisis) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

katakrisis - Bible Occurrences

This word, κατάκρισις (katakrisis), occurs 2 times in the following 2 verses of the New Testament:

II Corinthians 3:9; 7:3

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krima - Judgment

The Greek noun, κρίμα (krima), is closely related to the verb, κρίνω (krino), as judgment is the result of judging. Please note that this word is used almost exclusively of final, negative punishment in judgment, whether being sentenced to physical death by men or spiritual death by the Lord. The few exceptions are reference to the general decrees (judgments, Romans 11:33) of God; Jesus’ comming, which effected the eternal division between righteous and wicked (John 9:39), and Corinthians seeking judgments against each other in carnal courts (I Corinthians 6:7). Additionally, this noun may have reference to men making harsh judgments in: Matthew 7:2; Romans 3:8; James 3:1, although these passages may alternatively refer to the eternal condemnation from God or men attempting the same judgment.

krima - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for κρίμα (krima) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

krima - Bible Occurrences

This word, κρίμα (krima), occurs 27 times in the following 27 verses of the New Testament:

Matthew 7:2; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47; 23:40; 24:20; John 9:39; Acts 24:25; Romans 2:2-3; 3:8; 5:16; 11:33; 13:2; I Corinthians 6:7; 11:29, 34; Galatians 5:10; I Timothy 3:6; 5:12; Hebrews 6:2; James 3:1; I Peter 4:17; II Peter 2:3; Jude 1:4; Revelation 17:1; 18:20; 20:4

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katakrima - Condemnation

The Greek word, κατάκριμα (katakrima), is the noun form of the verb, κατακρίνω (katakrino), and likewise, it is always negative, relating to a guilty verdict, condemnation, and even execution of that verdict.

katakrima - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for κατάκριμα (katakrima) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

katakrima - Bible Occurrences

This word, κατάκριμα (katakrima), occurs 3 times in the following 3 verses of the New Testament:

Romans 5:16, 18; 8:1

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katadikazo - Condemn

The Greek verb, καταδικάζω (katadikazo), is very similar to κατακρίνω (katakrino) in that it also always refers to a negative judgment of guilt requiring punishment.

katadikazo - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for καταδικάζω (katadikazo) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

katadikazo - Bible Occurrences

This word, καταδικάζω (katadikazo), occurs 5 times in the following 4 verses of the New Testament:

Matthew 12:7, 37; Luke 6:37; James 5:6

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dokimazo - To Prove

The Greek verb, δοκιμάζω (dokimazo), is conceptually related to the previous words, because it involves the process of examination followed by a conclusion, which requires judging. The word implies that one tests or proves through experimentation to determine acceptability. It is somewhat more positive in that the contextual goal is generally to find that which is good, approval worthy. However, the negative possibility is necessarily present, even if it is not the desired goal in each case.

dokimazo - Lexicons and Dictionaries

The following lexicon and dictionary entries for δοκιμάζω (dokimazo) help us ensure that we are not prejudicially loading the translated English words with a modern or personal connotation:

dokimazo - Bible Occurrences

This word, δοκιμάζω (dokimazo), occurs 22 times in the following 20 verses of the New Testament:

Luke 12:56; 14:19; Romans 1:28; 2:18; 12:2; 14:22; I Corinthians 3:13; 11:28; 16:3; II Corinthians 8:8, 22; 13:5; Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 5:10; Philippians 1:10; I Thessalonians 2:4; 5:21; I Timothy 3:10; I Peter 1:7; I John 4:1

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Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1994 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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