Who is included in the "we all" of 2 Corinthians 5:10? Is it just believers who appear before the judgment seat of Christ? Or does Paul include non-believers as well?

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. ESV

1 Answer 1


In several ways, there are some parallels between the subject matter of 2 Cor 5 and 1 Cor 5. Both discuss the moral state of the Christian Community at Corinth and both discuss the coming judgement. Both talk about those in the church that were both good and bad.

Greek uses pronouns rather sparingly and only for emphasis. In most cases the pronoun is implied by the verb. In this instance, the pronoun, "us" is explicit and used for emphasis. See 1 John 2:2 for another case where this occurs where the "us" or "our" is in contradistinction to the "world" (kosmos). Rom 14:10 contains an almost identical construction and sentiment.

Therefore, I believe that Paul is addressing the professing Christians in Corinth. However, this does not deny the New Testament teaching that ALL are subject to judgement for the deeds of the flesh, while the true believers do not come into judgement (John 5:24, 25), that is are not subject to executive judgement.

  • @Dr.McGowan What do you mean by the phrase "executive judgment"?
    – Ken Banks
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 14:50
  • "Judgement" in the NT is translated from two Greek nouns: krisis = investigation or process of judgement; krima = verdict, decision or execution and result of investigation. That is, the krisis results in a krima. The second phase is simply called the executive phase where the decision is carried out. See W E Vine's Expository dictionary of NT words, "judgement" entry.
    – user25930
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 21:12
  • @Dr.McGowan I would disagree with your definition of krisis, it is not the decision to judge, rather, it is speaking about the outcome of a judicial judgment and so it refers to the outcome of a kind of judgment. When the trial judge declares the verdict in a trial he is making a krisis judgment. I looked at Vine as well as a number of lexicons and they all refer to it as a kind of judgment. Never having seen the phrase "executive judgment" before I did a quick search at it seems to be a specific phrase within Seventh Day Adventist theology. Were you using it in that sense?
    – Ken Banks
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 13:59
  • @Ken Banks - I think there is no difference between us - krisis "denotes the result of the action signified by krino", that is the verdict, condemnation and/or (sometimes) punishment. In this sense I was suggesting it is when the judgement is executed. However, the NT is not quite so nuanced and distinct in the use of these nouns as Vine suggested. For example, in Rev 17:1, the NIV translates krima as "punishment". In any case, if you do not like my phrase, "executive judgement" then substitute verdict or similar.
    – user25930
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 19:45
  • @Ken Banks - see also Jude 15, "execute judgement", ESV, NLT, NASB, KJV, CSB, HCSB, WEB, etc.
    – user25930
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 20:11

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