Holman Bible Dictionary
Complaints against judges are frequent in the Old Testament literature. Absalom took advantage of discontent with the legal system to instigate revolt (2 Samuel 15:4 ). Judges are accused of showing partiality (Proverbs 24:23 ); of taking bribes (Isaiah 61:8; Micah 7:3; compare Exodus 23:2-9 ); of failing to defend the interest of the powerless (Isaiah 10:2; Jeremiah 5:28 ). Zephaniah described the judges of Jerusalem as wolves on the prowl (Jeremiah 3:3 ).
God is the ultimate Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25; Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12 ). As God's representative, Christ functions as judge as well (John 8:16; James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:5 ).
As is frequently the case with biblical truths, the Christian's role in exercising judgment on others is found in a tension between warnings to avoid judging others and admonitions concerning how best to judge others. Christians are forbidden to judge others when such judgment entails intolerance of another's sin coupled with blindness of one's own sin (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37; John 8:7; Romans 2:1-4 ) or when human judgment impinges on God's prerogative as judge (Romans 14:4; 1 Corinthians 4:5; James 4:11-12 ). Instructions on proper exercise of judgment include: the call to judge reputed prophets by their fruits (Matthew 7:5-17 ); encouragement for Christians to judge what is right for themselves and thus avoid pagan lawcourts (Luke 12:57-59; 1 Corinthians 6:1-6 ); and instructions regarding church cases (Matthew 18:15-20 ). 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 illustrates the function of a church court.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Judge (Office)'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/j/judge-office.html. 1991.