Judgment Seat

JUDGMENT SEAT (Gr. bēma, a raised place, platform, tribune). The bench or seat where a judge sits to hear arguments and pleas and to deliver sentence. Although the word is used principally in the NT in connection with the trials of Christ (Matt.27.19; John.19.13) and of Paul (Acts.18.12), its main association is with the judgment seat of Christ before which all believers will stand (Rom.14.10; 2Cor.5.10).


JUDGMENT SEAT (Βη̂μα). In Acts 7:5 bēma means “step,” “stride,” or “length,” but elsewhere in the NT and most often in Gr. lit. it means “tribunal,” “judicial bench,” “judgment seat” or “throne,” traditionally erected in public from which judgment and other official business was conducted.


Ironically the roles will one day be reversed, and Jesus who was unjustly judged by men will sit in righteous judgment over them. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor 5:10; cf. Rom 14:10). This includes even those who are reconciled. While they have the righteousness of Christ, their work will be tested (2 Cor 5:18-21; cf. 1 Cor 3:13-15). See Eschatology.

Bibliography

Arndt, 139; O. Broneer, “Corinth: Center of St. Paul’s Missionary Work in Greece,” BA, XIV (1951), 91, 92; A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (1963, 19652), 24ff.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


See also JUDGE.