In What Way Will Christians Judge Angels?


‘Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!’ 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

What did Paul mean in, in suggesting that Christians will ‘judge the world’ and also ‘angels’?

Paul introduces doctrinal questions to argue why litigation should stay within the local church. He asks the question, ‘Do you not know’, this is the first of six times Paul asks this in chapter six. Paul’s appeal in the context here is an argument to not go to court with a fellow believer.

What does the saints will judge the world mean?

The idea of saints judging the world refers to a future judgment. This is an argument from a major premise to a minor premise. In other words, Paul is asking, if Christians will one day judge the world, cannot Christians judge a small issue between two Christians on earth? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

The word ‘if’ means ‘if, and it is true,’ so it’s a fact that Christians will one day judge the world. The sense likely is the same as that conveyed in Hebrews 11:7, where Noah is said to have ‘condemned’, ‘pronounce a sentence on’, the world.’ That is, by his obedient example, he stood in bold contrast to the disobedient world, hence, effectually condemning those people.

Paul is saying that believers will judge the world one day in the future. If they have this massive responsibility in the future, it’s only logical that they can judge on a much smaller scale an issue between two believers.

Christians have the capacity to move beyond ‘my friend, right or wrong.’ Objectivity, this goes beyond subjective friendship or politics in the local church.

What does we shall judge angels mean?

This isn’t easy to figure out exactly what Paul means here but it seems like Paul is continuing to enhance the contrast between going before a public non-Christian court and going before the local church by indicating that Christians will judge angels. How many more the things of this life!

Paul continues the argument from the greater to the lesser by arguing that if Christians will judge the higher being of an angel, he most certainly can judge a lesser being of a human.

Perhaps similarly, as in the case of Noah, Paul is suggesting that those who remain faithful to Christ, by their example will condemn evil angels, who didn’t maintain their integrity, as well as the ungodly world, Matthew 25:41 / 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6.

Whatever all this means, don’t miss the main point of Paul’s argument. If the church is to be employed by God in ‘judging’ on such a grand scale, surely wise Christian people ought to be able to judge between brethren who are in conflict, rather than permitting such dissensions to proceed to lawsuits, and thus damaging the church’s influence in society.

Paul is reminding these Corinthian Christians that they who know all about judging angels in the last day, how about judging some of these petty disputes you are disgracefully airing in the courts, of the pagans!

And in your practice of resolving these little earthly matters, how is it that you set the pagan judges over such trivialities, such judges being of no account at all in the church, as they’re not members of it.



"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."