Judgment in John

Word Study on Judge/Judgment (krinō/krisis) in John

Note: krinō/krisis are sometimes translated as “condemn/condemnation.” But it is the same underlying Greek word generally translated as “judge/judgment.” Condemn is to judge negatively, while judge is more neutral — we don’t know yet whether it is a positive or negative verdict. krinō can sometimes be translated as “decide.” How does one know when the negative judgment is meant by krinō? How do we know when it might mean condemn? The following translation are from the NRSV.

John 3:17-19 [Jesus said,] “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” [Check how differently this passage reads if one replaces “condemn” with “judge.”]

John 5:22-30 [Jesus said,] “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27 and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

John 7:24 [Jesus answered the crowd,] “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

John 7:51 [Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of the Pharisees, asked,] “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?”

John 8:15-16 [Jesus answered the Pharisees,] “You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.”

John 8:26 [Jesus said to the Jews in the temple treasury,] “I have much to say about you and much to condemn [“judge”]; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

John 8:50 [Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him,] “Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge.”

John 9:39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

John 12:31 [Jesus said to the crowd,] “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.”

John 12:46-50 [Then Jesus cried aloud,] “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

John 16:8-11 [Jesus said to his disciples,] “And when [the Paraclete] comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness [dikaiosynē, “justice”] and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

John 18:31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”

John 19:13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.

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