New Testament Word Study on Judging / Trying / Discerning

The following was originally intended to be an Appendix to a post on that imperative command of God to righteously judge those who come in the name of Christ. There is a common belief out there that we can never rightly nor accurately judge those who call themselves brethren; this is a serious and unbiblical error. We are commanded to judge righteous judgment; it is not an option for Christians. One cannot simply explain away, or fail to heed, this order from God to His people. To do so would be foolishness because He so instructs us for our own benefit.

We are warned in Ephesians 5:11 to “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].” Does anyone think it right to say “no God, I cannot obey this command; I cannot judge because I may get it wrong — so I’m just going to wait until Judgment Day for you to reveal it to me?” In Romans 16:17, God tells us in no uncertain terms to “mark (lit. scope out, keep an eye on as on a target, be skeptical of) them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Will anyone dare say “well, this man is bringing Arminian heresy to me and this other man who claims to believe what I believe is defending him as a fellow-saint; that doesn’t seem right to me — but hey, who am I to judge, I better disregard Romans 16:17 and let the Lord Jesus sort it out when He returns on the Last Day?” If you think that this kind of mindset is biblical, you really need to start examining the words (and their use) in the verses below. I can tell you emphatically that it is a dangerous thing to use warnings against hypocritical, fleshly, and rash judgments as a shield to cover or defend heretics. As the Lord wills, I plan on addressing this issue further. Until then, I hope that the proof-texts below will be of some benefit to you.

To Try/Prove/Examine (Judge) – Dokimazō – G1381

dokimazō (δοκιμάζω – do-kē-mä’-zō); Strong’s G1381; Greek verb; from δόκιμος (G1384) = (accepted, particularly of coins and money; accepted, pleasing, acceptable; it comes from dokeō / δοκέω (G1380) which means 1) to be of opinion, think, suppose; 2) to seem, to be accounted, reputed; 3) it seems to me; a) I think, judge: thus in question; b) it seems good to, pleased me, I determined); definition of dokimazō: 1) examine or judge; a) to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinise, sift, question; 1) specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation; 2) to interrogate, examine the accused or witnesses; b) to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing; AV/KJV data: found 16x in the AV/KJV; translated as examine 6x, judge 6x, ask question 2x, search 1x, discern 1x.

    Critical passages for the study:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [G1381] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving [G1381] what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. 

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [G1381] what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove [G1381] your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove [G1381] all things; hold fast that which is good. 

To Judge – Krino – G2919

krinō (κρίνω – krē’-nō); Strong’s G2919; Greek verb; definition:1) to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose; 2) to approve, esteem, to prefer; 3) to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion; 4) to determine, resolve, decree; 5) to judge; a) to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong; 1) to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it; b) to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure; 1) of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others; 6) to rule, govern; a) to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, because it was the prerogative of kings and rulers to pass judgment; 7) to contend together, of warriors and combatants; a) to dispute; b) in a forensic sense; 1) to go to law, have suit at law; AV/KJV data: found 114x in the AV/KJV; translated as judge 88x, determine 7x, condemn 5x, go to law 2x, call in question 2x, esteem 2x, and translated using eight other distinct words.

    Critical passages for the study:

John 7:24 Judge [2919] not according to the appearance, but judge [2919] righteous judgment.

Matthew 7:1 Judge [G2919] not, that ye be [G2919] not judged [G2919].

Luke 6:37 Judge [G2919] not, and ye shall [G2919] not be judged [G2919] : condemn not [G2613], and ye shall not be condemned: [G2613] forgive , and ye shall be forgiven:

John 7:51 Doth [G2919] our law judge [G2919] [any] man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth ?

John 8:15 Ye judge [G2919] after the flesh; I judge [G2919] no man. 16 And yet if I judge, [G2919] my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: [G2919] for wherein thou judgest [G2919] another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest [G2919] doest the same things. 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest [G2919] them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Romans 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge [G2919] him that eateth : for God hath received him. m 14:4 Who art thou that judgest [G2919] 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. 5 One man esteemeth [G2919] one day above another: another esteemeth [G2919] every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind….10 But why dost [G2919] thou judge [G2919] thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… 13 Let us [G2919] not therefore judge [G2919] one another any more: but judge [G2919] this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in [his] brother’s way. 

1 Corinthians 5:3 It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged [G2919] already, as though I were present , [concerning] him that hath so done this deed, 

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge [G2919] them also that are without? do [G2919] not ye judge [G2919] them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Colossians 2:16 Let [G2919] no man therefore judge [G2919] you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:

To Judge – Anakrino – G350

anakrinō (ἀνακρίνω – ä-nä-krē’-nō); Strong’s G350; Greek verb; from ana (ἀνά – G303) and krinō (κρίνω – G2919) = (into the midst, in the midst, amidst, among, between + krinō); definition of anakrinō: 1) examine or judge; a) to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinise, sift, question; 1) specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation; 2) to interrogate, examine the accused or witnesses; b) to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing; AV/KJV data: found 16x in the AV/KJV; translated as examine 6x, judge 6x, ask question 2x, search 1x, discern 1x.

    Critical passages for the study:

Act 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11   These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched [G350] the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth [G350] all things, yet he himself is judged [G350] of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged [G350] of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge [G350] not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth [G350] me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge [G2919] 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. 

To Judge – Katakrino – G2632

katakrinō (κατακρίνω – kä-tä-krē’-nō); Strong’s G2632; Greek verb; from κατά (G2596) and krinō (κρίνω – G2919) = (according to + krinō); definition of katakrinō: 1) to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment; a) to condemn; b) by one’s good example to render another’s wickedness the more evident and censurable; AV/KJV data: found 19x in the AV/KJV; translated as condemn 17x and damn 2x. 

    Critical passages for the study:

John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself , and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath [G2632] no man condemned [G2632] thee? 11 She said , No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do [G2632] I condemn [G2632] thee: go , and sin no more.

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest : for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest [G2632] thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Romans 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [G2632] [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

To Examine (Judge) – Diakrino – G1252

diakrinō (διακρίνω – dē-ä-krē’-nō); Strong’s G1252; Greek verb; from διά (G1223) and krinō (κρίνω – G2919) = (through; throughout; during; by; by the means of; by reason of; on account of; because of for this reason; on this account + krinō); definition of diakrinō: 1) to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer; 2) to learn by discrimination, to try, decide; a) to determine, give judgment, decide a dispute; 3) to withdraw from one, desert; 4) to separate one’s self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend; 5) to be at variance with one’s self, hesitate, doubt; AV/KJV data: found 19x in the AV/KJV; translated as doubt 5x, judge 3x, discern 2x, contend 2x, waver 2x, and translated using five other distinct words.

    Critical passages for the study:

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh [G1252] thee to differ [G1252] [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive ? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory , as if thou hadst not received [it]?

James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye [G1252] not then partial [G1252] in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine [G1381] himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning [G1252] the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge [G1252] ourselves, we should not be judged.

To Discern (Judge) – Diakrisis – G1253

diakrisis (διάκρισις – dē-ä’-krē-sēs); Strong’s G1253; Greek verb; from diakrinō (διακρίνω G1252 – see above); definition of diakrisis: 1) a distinguishing, discerning, judging; AV/KJV data: found 03x in the AV/KJV; translated as discerning 1, discern 1, disputation 1

    Critical passages for the study:

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye , [but] not to doubtful disputations [G1253].

1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning [G1253] of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern [G1253] both good and evil.


To Condemn (Judge) – Katadikazō – G2613

katadikazō (καταδικάζω – kä-tä-dē-kä’-zō); Strong’s G2613; Greek verb; from κατά (G2596) and a derivative of δίκη (G1349) = (according to justice, vengenance, punishment, custom, judicial sentence); definition of dokimazō: 1) to give judgment against (one), to pronounce guilty; 2) to condemn; AV/KJV data: found 5x in the AV/KJV; translated 5x as condemn.

    Critical passages for the study:

Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what [this] meaneth , I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned [G2613] the guiltless.

Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified , and by thy words thou shalt be condemned [G2613].

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged : condemn [G2613] not, and ye shall [G2613] not be condemned: [G2613] forgive , and ye shall be forgiven :

James 5:6 Ye have condemned [G2613] [and] killed the just; [and] he doth not resist you.

To Try/Prove/Examine (Judge) – Peirazō – G3985

peirazō (πειράζω –  pā-rä’-zō); Strong’s G3985; Greek verb; from peira (πεῖρα – G3984) = (1. a trial, experience, attempt; 2. to attempt a thing, to make trial of a thing or of a person; 3. to have a trial of a thing; 4. to experience, learn to know by experience); Meaning: 1) to try whether a thing can be done; a) to attempt, endeavour; 2) to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself; a) in a good sense; b) in a bad sense, to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof his feelings or judgments; c) to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin; 1) to solicit to sin, to tempt; a) of the temptations of the devil; d) after the OT usage; 1) of God: to inflict evils upon one in order to prove his character and the steadfastness of his faith; 2) men are said to tempt God by exhibitions of distrust, as though they wished to try whether he is not justly distrusted; 3) by impious or wicked conduct to test God’s justice and patience, and to challenge him, as it were to give proof of his perfections. AV/KJV data: found 39x in the AV/KJV; translated as tempt 29x, try 4x, tempter 2x, prove 1x, assay 1x, examine 1x, go about 1

    Critical passages for the study:

Revelations 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried [G3985] them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine [G3985] yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted [G3985]

Revelations 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try [G3985] them that dwell upon the earth.


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