Christian Judgment

Or judging all and judging nothing

1 Corinthians is a real corker for word-study lovers, especially when it comes to the word ‘judgment’.

I mean: According to Paul "the spiritual man makes judgments about all things" (Chapter 2). But then early in Chapter 4 he says "judge nothing before the appointed time". He will go on to say, "I do not even judge is the Lord who judges me". But then almost immediately he begins talking about "passing judgement on the man who [sinned]" (Ch 5). Then again, almost immediately following, he gives instructions about appointing "judges over themselves" because of the law suits among them. And on it goes.

So many different ways of using the one word!

I haven’t looked across the Greek or anything but here are a few thoughts:

In the broad context it appears to be about the Corinthians making judgements about Paul vs. Apollos vs. Cephas vs. Christ - in terms of "wisdom and knowledge", regarding whether they appear wise by “the standards of this word (i.e. 'speaking' with eloquence and superior wisdom).

In the direct immediate context, the real spiritual truth is the foolish message of the cross; not all that other trash that appears 'wise and superior'.

In view of this, those Corinthians are missing the point: they're listening to 'how' things are said, not 'what' is said. And when they do hear 'what' is said, they are making the wrong judgement - they are saying it's inferior to this other 'superior wisdom talk' (i.e. the secret wisdom that is being spoken is spiritually discerned and they are missing it).

However: The spiritual man can understand and see that Paul & Apollos & Cephas & Christ are all speaking with the same wisdom - which is actually the superior stuff - the wisdom of God which is foolishness to man. Thus these men are entrusted with the secret things of God and anyone with half a spiritual brain should be able to judge that they are of Christ and from God, and therefore not get into these divisions and rubbishy talk about 'men' and the comparisons between them in terms of speaking-ability and world-approved knowledge.

About 'he is not subject to any mans judgement': This then ties in with Paul's idea in Ch 4 that 'I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court...indeed I do not even judge myself - It is the Lord who judges me', because -

The spiritual man (Paul and Apollos and anyone else who is thinking right) is not under the judgement of these carnal thinkers who cannot even understand what is spiritual. Rather he is under God who is the one who has entrusted these spiritual truths to him.

But the spiritual man himself does make judgements about all things - because he can see whether a message is true or spiritual because he has the Spirit who has given him understanding.

What are your thoughts about Christian judgment in 1 Corinthians?

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