Spiritual Discernment

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Telling The Real From The Fake

MATTHEW Chapter 16; 1 CORINTHIANS 12:8-10; JAMES 3:13-17; HEBREWS 5:14; 1 JOHN 4:1

In an article entitled How To Discern, Test & Judge Rightly, website developer Sandy Simpson highlighted the disturbing lack of discernment among many Christians today. He highlighted several dubious methods of so-called discernment being used, including -

• Experiences and physical manifestations that are labelled 'spiritual'

• Feelings, emotions & the atmosphere in a meeting

• Numbers of people claiming to be saved

• The size of a church or movement

• Signs & wonders, purported miracles (real or imagined)

• Subjective testimonies of dramatic experiences

• The apparent 'success' or wealth of a teacher/evangelist

• The apparent authority or performance of a speaker

The Meaning Of Discernment

The Greek verb diakrino means to distinguish the difference between two or more things - for example, between the guilt or innocence of a defendant in a court case; diagnosing between different possible medical conditions a patient may be suffering from in medicine.

In the Bible "discernment" is used to mean the ability to distinguish between good and evil; biblical truth and doctrinal error; and the influence of the Holy Spirit vs the influence of a demonic spirit. It involves the ideas of distinguishing between  - 

•  two groups of people                               ACTS 15:9

•  two kinds of wisdom                                 JAMES 3:13-17

•  good and evil                                              HEBREWS 5:14

•  different types of spirits                           1 CORINTHIANS 12:10


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