Discernment is an act of wisdom or detection marked by an insight into a person’s character or by an event that comes through insight that goes beyond the facts given. In Scripture people can discern matters in an explicitly spiritual manner (1 Cor 2:14) or through their own cultivated powers (Job 34:4).
Discernment is always to be desired. Those without discernment are looked down upon (Deut 32:28), whereas the discerning are considered wise and knowledgeable (e.g., Prov 8:9; 14:6; 15:14; 16:21; 17:24). Discernment is often sought in political matters (Gen 41:33, 39; 2 Sam 14:17; 1 Kings 3:9) as well as in spiritual matters to guide us in holy living (Prov 28:7; Hos 14:9; 1 Cor 2:14; Phil 1:10). Even God uses discernment in examining our actions and state of heart (Ps 139:3). (Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C., Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. (2000). In Dictionary of biblical imagery (electronic ed., p. 207). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
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