Bible Question:

How does a Christian acquire discernment, besides asking God for it?

Bible Answer:

Discernment is the ability to perceive and see, or to find out something. Often we have the idea that it is a sixth sense that helps us discover some truth or fact that is not immediately obvious.

What Is The Benefit? The greatest Old Testament example of a person wanting discernment was King Solomon. He asked God for understanding in order to discern between good and evil.

So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine? (NASB) 1 Kings 3:9

God answered his prayer and blessed him with more – wealth.

And God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.” (NASB) 1 Kings 3:11-12

Discernment is a gift that God gives.

What Else? But you have asked a different question. You have asked what else do you have to do. Scripture does give us some help. it tells us to avoid those who are fools. We are greatly influenced by those around us. Wisdom, understanding, and discernment do not come by spending time with those who are not wise themselves. There is a divine principle to be followed. Spend time with someone who has the qualities you desire.

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (NASB) Proverbs 13:20

Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge. (NASB) Proverbs 14:7

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (NASB) 1 Cor.15:33


Wisdom, understanding, and discernment come from God. This fact is found in the Bible. The book of Proverbs is filled with all of the above. How do we know whom to avoid? How do we know who the fools in our life are? Some are obvious and others are not. Ultimately, none of us are really wise. None of us really have understanding. None of us have great discernment. But God does!

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright . . . Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course. (NASB) Prov. 2:6-9

But if you really want wisdom, here is the best way. Ask God for it and spend as much time as you can in the book He has written – the Bible!

Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Thy commandments. (NASB) Psalms 119:66