53 Bible Verses about Discernment

1 John 4:1 ESV / 339 helpful votes

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.

Philippians 1:9-10 ESV / 272 helpful votes

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

Hebrews 5:14 ESV / 220 helpful votes

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 4:12 ESV / 198 helpful votes

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.

Proverbs 3:1-6:35 ESV / 143 helpful votes

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. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

John 7:24 ESV / 114 helpful votes

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

Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV / 108 helpful votes

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.

1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV / 85 helpful votes

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

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ESV / 83 helpful votes

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.

Colossians 2:8 ESV / 77 helpful votes

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.

1 Kings 3:9 ESV / 74 helpful votes

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV / 68 helpful votes

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.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV / 58 helpful votes

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.

Matthew 10:16 ESV / 56 helpful votes

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

1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV / 55 helpful votes

But test everything; hold fast what is good.

James 1:5 ESV / 52 helpful votes

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

Matthew 24:24 ESV / 51 helpful votes

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV / 41 helpful votes

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Timothy 3:15 ESV / 36 helpful votes

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.

Psalm 34:18 ESV / 33 helpful votes

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Proverbs 18:15 ESV / 32 helpful votes

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

John 5:30 ESV / 27 helpful votes

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Romans 12:2 ESV / 26 helpful votes

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 10:4 ESV / 24 helpful votes

When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Revelation 22:18-19 ESV / 20 helpful votes

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

2 Corinthians 11:4 ESV / 20 helpful votes

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.

Revelation 22:16 ESV / 19 helpful votes

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Matthew 7:18-20 ESV / 19 helpful votes

A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Proverbs 25:1-28 ESV / 19 helpful votes

These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied. It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable. Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Psalm 23:1-6 ESV / 17 helpful votes

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

1 Kings 3:11 ESV / 17 helpful votes

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,

Acts 17:11 ESV / 16 helpful votes

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.

Ezekiel 44:23 ESV / 16 helpful votes

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.

Psalm 119:18-24 ESV / 16 helpful votes

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies.

Deuteronomy 32:27-29 ESV / 16 helpful votes

Had I not feared provocation by the enemy, lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, “Our hand is triumphant, it was not the Lord who did all this.”’ “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!

Acts 16:6-7 ESV / 15 helpful votes

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.

Isaiah 1:1-31 ESV / 15 helpful votes

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Deuteronomy 32:24-29 ESV / 15 helpful votes

They shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured by plague and poisonous pestilence; I will send the teeth of beasts against them, with the venom of things that crawl in the dust. Outdoors the sword shall bereave, and indoors terror, for young man and woman alike, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces; I will wipe them from human memory,” had I not feared provocation by the enemy, lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, “Our hand is triumphant, it was not the Lord who did all this.”’ “For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them.

Genesis 3:1 ESV / 15 helpful votes

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Isaiah 8:20 ESV / 14 helpful votes

To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Proverbs 28:11 ESV / 14 helpful votes

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

Psalm 33:1-22 ESV / 14 helpful votes

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

1 Peter 1:23 ESV / 13 helpful votes

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Romans 3:1-9:33 ESV / 12 helpful votes

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)

Deuteronomy 7:12-16 ESV / 12 helpful votes

“And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

Ephesians 4:14 ESV / 10 helpful votes

So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Ephesians 5:10 ESV / 9 helpful votes

And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Matthew 9:1-22 ESV / 8 helpful votes

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?

Isaiah 44:17-20 ESV / 8 helpful votes

And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Proverbs 4:7 ESV / 7 helpful votes

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

Isaiah 11:3-4 ESV / 5 helpful votes

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, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

1 Samuel 16:7 ESV / 4 helpful votes

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV / 3 helpful votes

Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

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