1 Timothy 5:24 NIV

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

What is this place of judgement referred to here?


Paul is distinguishing between two kinds of sins: conspicuous kind and hidden kind in 1 Timothy 5:24 (ESV)

The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

The operative word is judgment, G2920, κρίσις, krisis. It can mean judgment by men or God. It is often used to refer to the final judgment as in Hebrews 9:27

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Let's see the context in 1 Timothy 5:

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

When the sins are conspicuous, you can judge and rebuke. They are easily recognized by men. There is no need to wait for the final judgment. When the sins are hidden, they cannot escape the final judgment by God. So the word judgment here is used to mean the final judgment by God. Conspicuous sins are recognized before the final judgment. Hidden sins are recognized at the final judgment.


before answering this question we should remind ourselves of the statement of the "Teacher" in Eccl 12:13, 14 -

When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

Thus, regardless of what we make of 2 Tim 5:24, all deeds and action, motive and intention will be taken into account whether hidden or not in God's great final judgement. 2 Cor 5:10 says this -

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

However, as we are all painfully aware, in this mortal life, some deeds are hidden and never revealed but are known only to God. Some sins are thus hidden until the judgement and others are well-known in this life. See Rom 2:5.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains it this way:

  1. Two kinds of sins are specified: those palpably manifest (so the Greek for "open beforehand" ought to be translated; so in Heb 7:14, it is translated "evident"; literally, "before" the eyes, that is, notorious), further explained as "going before to judgment"; and those which follow after the men ("some men they, that is, their sins, follow after"), namely, not going beforehand, loudly accusing, but hidden till they come to the judgment: so 1Ti 5:25, the good works are of two classes: those palpably manifest (translate so, instead of "manifest beforehand") and "those that are otherwise," that is, not palpably manifest. Both alike "cannot be hid"; the former class in the case of bad and good are manifest already; the latter class in the case of both are not manifest now, but shall be so at the final judgment.

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