Best Bible Verses about Discernment

​Are you looking to develop the valuable skill of discernment? Or wondering what the heck it is? In this devotional, we’ll read the Best Bible Verses about Discernment and discover the important role it plays in every Christian’s life.

What is discernment?

In a Biblical sense, discernment is simply spiritual wisdom. It’s the skill and practice of understanding the deeper intentions behind our words or actions and judging them accurately in light of God’s truth. That means sifting through our thoughts, experiences, and the information that bombards our minds to determine what aligns with His divine wisdom. For us, as believers, discernment is like a spiritual compass guiding our decisions and movements along life’s path. And discernment isn’t just about knowing right from wrong, it’s about understanding God’s plan, leading us to make good choices that reflect His character and purpose for our lives.

What does the Bible say about discernment?

The Bible paints a clear picture of discernment as our God-given ability to separate truth from deception. The following verses teach us that discernment isn’t something we’re born with, instead, it’s something we develop over time by reading the Bible. The more we engage with God’s Word, the more our thoughts sync up with His wisdom, honing our ability to tell right from wrong. And as we have this ongoing conversation with God, we can hear the voice of God clearly and start making decisions that reflect His wisdom. So, let’s look at the Top Bible Verses about Discernment together.

Top Scriptures on Discernment

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7 NIV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111:10 ESV

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

Proverbs 4:7 ESV

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:1-4 ESV

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

​2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV


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,

Isaiah 11:3 ESV

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 NKJV

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5 ESV

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

John 7:24 ESV

But test everything; hold fast what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV

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Psalms about Discernment

The Psalms offer us not only insights into spiritual wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions but also comfort and strength. These beautiful songs are heartfelt cries for understanding beyond our capacities. The Psalmists seek guidance, asking for the knowledge and judgment only God can provide. Their words echo our own search for direction in a world filled with noise and chaos, gently reminding us that it is in the stillness that we can truly hear God’s voice.

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

Psalm 119:125 ESV

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

Psalm 119:66 ESV

Proverbs about Discernment

At its heart, Proverbs is a book of common sense. And it stands as a testament to the timeless wisdom of King Solomon, particularly when it comes to honing our discernment. These Bible Verses about Discernment serve as a guide for making wise choices while also underlining the significance of aligning those choices with the solid moral compass of our faith.

As we dive into the proverbs on discernment, it becomes obvious that wisdom isn’t just about telling right from wrong. It’s also about being aware that our choices have an impact, shaping our path and the paths of those close to us. King Solomon advises us to actively seek wisdom, like searching for hidden treasures. This wisdom helps us deal with life’s challenges with a clear sense of what’s right and the integrity to follow it.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.

Proverbs 3:13-14 ESV

Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.

Proverbs 10:13 NIV

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

Proverbs 3:21-22 NIV

My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
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.

Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

Proverbs 15:14 NIV

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

Proverbs 18:15 ESV

Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.

Proverbs 15:21 ESV

The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Proverbs 28:7 ESV

A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.

Proverbs 28:11 ESV

A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

Proverbs 1:5 NKJV

Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.

Proverbs 19:25 ESV

A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.

Proverbs 14:6 ESV

A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

Proverbs 17:10 ESV

The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

Proverbs 17:24 ESV

Holy Spirit Gives Us Discernment Scriptures

People often talk about a gut feeling that guides their decision-making. But for Christians, this guidance comes directly from the Holy Spirit, often referred to as the Spirit of Discernment. Scripture backs this up, painting a vivid picture of the Holy Spirit as our Helper who guides us into all truth. As we read these Bible Verses about Discernment it will become clear how the Holy Spirit helps us every day.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 ESV

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

John 15:26 ESV

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13 ESV

​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. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

1 Timothy 4:1 NIV

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Scriptures on Discernment of Spirits

Discernment of spirits goes beyond surface-level judgment, tapping into a deeper, spiritual intuition within us, powered by the Holy Spirit Himself. The Apostle Paul highlighted this gift of spiritual discernment in his letters, urging us to differentiate not just right from wrong, but also to perceive both the holy and evil spiritual forces at work. Learning to see the spiritual warfare going on around us is an invaluable skill for every Christian to develop and one that encourages our faith.

To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:10 ESV

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.

1 John 4:1 ESV

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

Hebrews 5:14 ESV

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ESV

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

Matthew 10:16 ESV

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.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV

For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

2 Corinthians 11:4 ESV

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8 ESV

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.

Matthew 24:23-26 ESV

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​Old Testament Discernment Bible Verses

There are rich layers of wisdom on discernment etched into the Old Testament scriptures. Each one shines a light on God’s principles and divine insight while helping us to prioritize heavenly wisdom over earthly riches. These Old Testament Bible Verses about Discernment set up the foundation of our faith built upon the unchanging nature of God’s wisdom.

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.

Hosea 14:9 ESV

And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.

1 Kings 4:29 NKJV

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

1 Kings 3:9 NKJV

And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,

1 Kings 3:11 ESV

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Isaiah 59:2 ESV

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Jeremiah 23:5 ESV

He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

Isaiah 7:15 ESV

“For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. If they were wise, they would understand this; they would discern their latter end!

Deuteronomy 32:28-29 ESV

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;

Daniel 2:21 ESV

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

Job 6:30 ESV

And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”

2 Samuel 14:17 ESV

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New Testament Scriptures on Discernment

The New Testament is a wealth of guidance on sharpening our spiritual discernment. In the following verses, we discover important insights into the practice of discernment and how to seamlessly blend God’s wisdom into our day-to-day lives.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV

And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:15 ESV

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,

1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Romans 1:18 NKJV

And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

Matthew 16:3 ESV

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,

Matthew 6:22 ESV

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?

Matthew 24:45 ESV

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

Matthew 24:32-33 ESV

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

Matthew 24:4-5 ESV

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8 ESV

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Acts 17:10-11 ESV

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

1 John 3:2 ESV

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:4 ESV

Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.

1 Timothy 6:2 ESV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

James 3:17 ESV

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Bible Verses about Discernment for Christian Leaders

For Christian leaders, understanding discernment is crucial for making wise and morally sound decisions for themselves while teaching good discernment to those under their care. The following Bible verses on discernment are a timeless source of wisdom, offering valuable insights for church leadership.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV

They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

Ezekiel 44:23 ESV

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2 ESV

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 ESV

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:29 ESV

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:17 ESV

I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

1 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 ESV

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie just as it has taught you, abide in him.

1 John 2:27 ESV

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV

A Prayer for Discernment

The Apostle Paul needed spiritual discernment just this we do. And he prayed this beautiful prayer for wisdom and knowledge that we can still follow today.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11 ESV

I hope after reading the Best Bible Verses about Discernment found in this short devotional, you can see how it defines your faith in Jesus and guides you through life’s challenges.

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