24 Scriptures about Discernment

In the Bible, discernment is presented as an essential quality for the believer, rooted deeply in wisdom and understanding bestowed by God. It involves the capacity to judge and distinguish between good and evil, truth and deception, and align one’s actions and decisions with the will of God.

Scriptures like 1 Kings 3:9 highlight the importance of discernment when Solomon asks God for “an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil.”

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The New Testament emphasizes spiritual discernment, as seen in 1 Corinthians 2:14 where natural individuals are depicted as unable to grasp the things of the Spirit of God, indicating that discernment is a spiritual gift and virtue. Believers are consistently urged to exercise discernment, to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), and to hone their capacities through the Word of God which is “sharper than any two-edged sword” and discerns “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

In essence, Biblical discernment is about recognizing and embracing what is of God while rejecting what is not, always seeking alignment with His divine will and purpose.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

Scriptures about Discernment

1 Kings 3:9

“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

This verse is King Solomon’s request to God for wisdom to lead his people. He asks for an understanding mind to discern between good and evil, emphasizing the need for divine wisdom in leadership and decision-making.

Job 6:30

“Is there any injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?”

Job is defending his integrity and righteousness, questioning if he has spoken unjustly. He implies that his discernment can identify the true cause of his suffering, suggesting that his affliction is not due to any wrongdoing on his part.

Psalm 119:125

“I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!”

The psalmist, acknowledging his servitude to God, asks for understanding to know God’s testimonies. This verse highlights the desire for discernment to comprehend and follow God’s teachings.

Psalm 119:66

“Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.”

This verse expresses a desire for God to teach good judgment and knowledge. The psalmist’s belief in God’s commandments underlines his request for discernment to live according to divine principles.

Proverbs 2:3-5

“Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”

These verses emphasize the value of seeking wisdom and understanding. The writer of Proverbs suggests that discernment, like a precious treasure, requires earnest pursuit, and through it, one can gain a deeper understanding of God.

Proverbs 3:21

“My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion.”

This verse advises maintaining wisdom and discretion. It underscores the importance of not losing sight of discernment and understanding in daily life.

Proverbs 15:14

“The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.”

This verse contrasts the wise, who seek knowledge, with fools, who indulge in foolishness. It highlights the role of discernment in seeking and valuing knowledge over folly.

Proverbs 18:15

“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”

This verse suggests that a wise and discerning heart is always in pursuit of knowledge. It portrays discernment as an active, ongoing process of learning and understanding.

Isaiah 11:2-3

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear.”

These verses describe the qualities of the Messiah, emphasizing wisdom, understanding, and discernment. They highlight that true judgment is not based on external appearances but on spiritual discernment.

Jeremiah 33:3

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

God invites His people to call upon Him for understanding. This verse suggests that through prayer, one can gain insight into divine mysteries and truths.

Daniel 2:21

“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”

This verse acknowledges God’s sovereignty over time and rulers, and His role in granting wisdom and knowledge. It underscores that discernment and understanding are gifts from God.

Hosea 14:9

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”

This scripture calls for wisdom and discernment in understanding God’s ways. It contrasts the upright, who walk in God’s ways, with transgressors, who stumble due to their lack of discernment.

Malachi 3:18

“Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

This verse speaks of a future time when the distinction between the righteous and the wicked will be clear. It implies that discernment will reveal the true nature of individuals’ relationship with God.

Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Jesus advises His disciples to be discerning and wise, yet innocent, as they navigate a world that can be hostile to their message. This verse emphasizes the need for balanced discernment in dealing with challenging situations.

Luke 12:56

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Jesus criticizes the lack of spiritual discernment among the people. He points out their ability to understand natural signs but their failure to recognize the spiritual significance of the times they are living in.

Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This verse encourages believers not to conform to worldly patterns but to be transformed through the renewal of their minds. This transformation enables discernment of God’s will and what is truly good.

1 Corinthians 2:14

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

This verse highlights the spiritual nature of discernment. It suggests that without the Spirit of God, a person cannot understand spiritual truths, as they are discerned beyond natural understanding.

1 Corinthians 12:10

“To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits.”

This verse lists discernment, specifically the ability to distinguish between spirits, as a spiritual gift. It is part of a broader discussion on the variety of gifts given by the Holy Spirit to believers.

Ephesians 5:10

“And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Believers are encouraged to discern what is pleasing to God. This verse implies that discernment is necessary to understand and align with God’s desires and commands.

Philippians 1:9-10

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

Paul prays for believers to grow in love, knowledge, and discernment. This growth is aimed at enabling them to choose what is excellent and remain pure and blameless.

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

This verse describes the power of God’s word to discern the deepest thoughts and intentions of the heart. It portrays the word of God as a tool for spiritual discernment and understanding.

Hebrews 5:14

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

This scripture compares spiritual maturity with the ability to discern good from evil. It suggests that discernment is developed through practice and is a sign of spiritual growth.

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Believers are warned not to believe every spirit but to test them to see if they are from God. This verse underscores the importance of discernment in distinguishing truth from deception.

James 3:13

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”

This verse challenges believers to demonstrate their wisdom and understanding through their conduct. It links discernment with the practical application of wisdom in everyday life.

Closing Thoughts about Discernment Scriptures

The scriptures about discernment collectively emphasize the importance of seeking and applying divine wisdom in our daily lives. From Solomon’s request for an understanding mind to Paul’s encouragement for transformation through the renewal of the mind, the Bible consistently highlights the need for discernment in distinguishing between good and evil, truth and deception.

This discernment is not merely an intellectual exercise; it is deeply spiritual, requiring the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a heart attuned to God’s teachings. In today’s world, where we are often confronted with complex decisions and conflicting information, these Scriptures remind us about the importance of seeking God’s wisdom in our choices.

By nurturing a discerning heart, we can navigate life’s challenges with greater clarity, make decisions aligned with God’s will, and live out our faith with integrity and wisdom. This pursuit of discernment, as portrayed in the scriptures, is an ongoing journey of spiritual growth, essential for a life that reflects a follower of Christ.