What is a Discerning Spirit? Meaning and Signs (2022)

5 min readDec 3, 2022

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The spiritual gift of discernment is one of the most important gifts that a person can have, especially in the church. The Bible tells us that God has given this gift to all believers for the edification or building the church through shared learning and growth. 1 Corinthians 14:12

Discernment comes from the Latin root words: “dis-” (meaning “apart”) and “cernere” (meaning “to separate”). So, when you have discernment, you can separate what’s true from what’s false, what’s real from what isn’t.

Read on for more information.

· What is the Meaning of a Discerning Spirit?

· How to Get the Spirit of Discernment?

· How do I know if I have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?

· Where is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment Mentioned in the Bible?

· Conclusion

What is the Meaning of a Discerning Spirit?

The gift of discernment is also known as the spirit of discernment or a discerning spirit, which all refer to the same thing. It is a spiritual gift given by God that helps you understand what’s happening around you so you can make wise life decisions. You can enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:8–10 explains the spirit of discernment as A person who can perceive or understand something that others do not perceive or understand at all or in the same way.

A discerning spirit can perceive spiritual truth from God’s Word and from other sources such as dreams and visions. Discernment involves distinguishing between truth and error, good and evil, right and wrong, etc., to make wise decisions about one’s walk with Christ and service for Him.

How to Get the Spirit of Discernment by Reading Your Bible and Listening

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The spirit of discernment is not something you can ask for, but it is something you can develop. This spiritual gift from God helps you know what He wants you to do. To develop this gift, there are some things that you can do:

i. Read Your Bible

Reading your Bible and praying regularly will help you develop spirit of discernment.

God’s word states you need to read the Bible daily and pray regularly if you want Him to give you this gift (1 Corinthians 2:14). It will give you the wisdom and knowledge you need to have discernment in your life. It will also help you develop a relationship with God if you want to receive any spiritual gift from Him.

ii. Listening

Listen carefully when someone speaks.

When someone is speaking, listen closely and try to understand what they are saying without making any assumptions about what they mean or trying to judge them for what they say. When you listen intently to what others say, you’ll hear things that others miss. This can help you see things through the eyes of God and see what He wants for you in any given situation.

iii. Ensure you Want God’s Will

Make sure you want God’s will in your life because if it’s not important enough for you, then God won’t let you have discernment. You must have a strong desire for His will before He gives you this gift. He knows that if it isn’t important enough for you, you won’t use it wisely or properly and could end up hurting yourself or others.

You have to be willing to do whatever He asks of you, even if it is difficult or painful. He knows that if you are unwilling to sacrifice anything for Him, you will never truly love Him.

How do I know if I Have the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?

If you have probably asked yourself, ‘‘What spirit do I have? ’’ You are in the right place. By looking at your life, you can tell if you have a discerning spirit. Notice if you’re always making good choices and if people like to be around you because they feel safe with you (or at least safer than when they’re not).

If so, maybe it’s time for you to learn how to use this gift! You can check some other signs as follows:

a. You are very observant

b. People come to you for advice because they trust your judgment

c. You can read between the lines of conversations

d. You are very intuitive about people’s feelings and motivations. You know when someone likes or dislikes something without them telling

e. You tend to speak up in debates and discussions even though it could be a very unpopular position

f. You are naturally drawn to research and investigation (you love a good mystery

g. You have a knack for knowing when someone is lying or keeping something from you

h. You have a strong sense of justice and fairness

Where is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment Mentioned in the Bible?

The spiritual gift of discernment is mentioned several times in the Bible. Here are 3 verses that mention it:

1 Corinthians 12:10–11 (NIV)

“To each [spiritual gift] there is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of our human words, but glowing words, eloquent speeches and persuasive arguments come from our heavenly Father”.

Romans 12:6

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives aid, with liberality; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

2 Timothy 1:5–6

“I am reminded of your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you as well. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.”


The gift of discernment is different from wisdom or insight because it involves looking past what you see on the surface. You can see deeper into people’s hearts or motives. Discernment helps you know why someone is doing something or saying something, even if they don’t know themselves.

You can tell whether their actions are sincere or not, who they are as a person (rather than just what they seem like), and whether or not they are telling the truth. Discernment helps you decide whether or not something is right for you spiritually or in life.




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