Judgment Seat - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Judgment Seat[ 1,,G968, bema ]
primarily, a step, a pace" (akin to baino, "to go"), as in Acts 7:5, translated "to set (his foot) on," lit., "foot-room," was used to denote a raised place or platform, reached by steps, originally that at Athens in the Pnyx Hill, where was the place of assembly; from the platform orations were made. The word became used for a tribune, two of which were provided in the law courts of Greece, one for the accuser and one for the defendant; it was applied to the tribunal of a Roman magistrate or ruler, Matthew 27:19; John 19:13; Acts 12:21, translated "throne;" Acts 18:12, Acts 18:16-Acts 18:17; Acts 25:6, Acts 25:10, Acts 25:17.
In two passages the word is used of the Divine tribunal before which all believers are hereafter to stand. In Romans 14:10 it is called "The judgment seat of God," RV (AV, "of Christ"), according to the most authentic mss. The same tribunal is called "the judgment seat of Christ," 2 Corinthians 5:10, to whom the Father has given all judgment, John 5:22, John 5:27. At this bema believers are to be made manifest, that each may "receive the things done in (or through) the body," according to what he has done, "whether it be good or bad." There they will receive rewards for their faithfulness to the Lord. For all that has been contrary in their lives to His will they will suffer loss, 1 Corinthians 3:15. This judgment seat is to be distinguished from the premillennial, earthly throne of Christ, Matthew 25:31, and the postmillennial "Great White Throne," Revelation 20:11, at which only "the dead" will appear. The judgment-seat of Christ will be a tribunal held "in His Parousia," i.e., His presence with His saints after His return to receive them to Himself.
[ 2,,G2922, kriterion ]
primarily "a means of judging" (akin to krino, "to judge:" Eng., "criterion"), then, a tribunal, law court, or "lawsuit," 1 Corinthians 6:2 (last clause), for which See JUDGE, B, No. 3, Note
(1); 1 Corinthians 6:4, for which See JUDGMENT, Note
(1) at end; James 2:6.