In the face of deception today, believers need to be discerning. Here are some ways believers can develop and practice discernment.
Ways To Develop And Practice Biblical Discernment
You cannot be a discerning person if you are not studying your Bible.
“Believers must always remember that the spiritually immature are pitifully tossed here and there by all kinds of winds of doctrine and clever deceivers as we find in Ephesians 4:14.”
Topics & Timestamps
0:41 – Ways to develop and practice biblical discernment
0:47 – Discernment is a necessary fruit of discipleship
1:20 – Spiritually immature Vs spiritually mature believers
2:23 – Discernment is a necessary survival skill for believers
2:53 – Necessity for training on discernment
3:39 – The Church’s responsibility
5:18 – Misunderstandings about biblical discernment
Top Quotes: Ways To Develop And Practice Biblical Discernment
“You cannot be a discerning person if you are not studying your Bible.”
“As believers we are called to put on the full armor of God because there is a true spiritual warfare that is going on all around us.”
“Discernment is a necessary fruit of discipleship.”
Other Content On This Topic
Rodgers Atwebembeire is my name from the Africa Center For Apologetics Research. A ministry that equips believers especially to develop and promote biblical discernment.
We have learnt in the past that discernment is a very very important topic in the life of a believer and that in fact a necessary one that should be developed by every believer especially in the face of deception. And having discussed this, you may be saying, “But what can we do? How do we develop? How do we practice this biblical discernment?”
Ways to develop and practice biblical discernment
Now, I could give you a few ways in which we can do this:
- We must begin by recognizing that discernment is a necessary fruit of discipleship. That if you do not know what is true you cannot know what is false. You cannot be a discerning person if you are not studying your Bible.
Sadly many Christians today have put their Bibles under their pillows and every day they are crying, “God speak to me, please God speak to me.” But their bibles are closed. No wonder when a false prophet or false apostle comes and speaks they cannot tell the difference because they don’t know what the Bible says about that particular topic.
Spiritually immature versus Spiritually mature believers
Believers must always remember that the spiritually immature are pitifully tossed here and there by all kinds of winds of doctrine and clever deceivers as we find in Ephesians 4:14. But you should also remember that Hebrews 5:14 talks about those who are spiritually mature – it says that only the spiritually mature can distinguish between good and evil and are able to receive solid food that is nourishing, that is strengthening and that is doctrinally sound.
So for us to even talk about the necessity and fruitfulness of discernment, we have to ask the question, “Are our church members discipled? Are believers being intentionally and strategically grounded in the biblical truth?” Because only by knowing the truth can they easily discern what looks like but actually is not.
2. We must remember that discernment is not just a necessary fruit of those who are discipled but it is also a necessary spiritual survival skill in today’s world. That as believers we are called to put on the full armor of God because there is a true spiritual warfare that is going on all around us. The battle between truth and error continues to rage, the conflict between right and wrong is on and obvious. How can believers respond? By differentiating what is true from what is not and for that to happen they must embrace biblical discernment.
Necessity for training on discernment
With discernment we not only call for it but we especially appeal to the pastors and Christian leaders to be at the forefront of training their members in biblical truth so that they can develop discernment.
Training women and children especially who are vulnerable to the cult missionaries that knock on their doors when men have gone out to work.
Training those who are involved in Bible training and ministry so that they can be the kind of pastors who are discerning but also who teach their loved ones how to discern cultic groups, how to discern and spot false teachings, ways in which they can biblically test those who claim to be prophets but actually are not.
The Church’s responsibility
3. We have a responsibility as the church to address what I call misguided resistance to biblical teaching and biblical discernment. And this can come at the level of leadership but also at the level of followership.
Among leaders for instance, we have leaders who fear to teach their members discernment because they are scared that when people become discerning they will be critical, argumentative and love debates and might even challenge their own pastors. So to avoid them being challenged they never talk about the need to discern. There are those pastors who fear that when they encourage the lay believers to search the Scriptures on their own, lay believers might begin to ask questions that the pastors are not able to answer or they might begin to challenge the theology of their own pastors which would not be good for them and therefore they shy away from teaching it.
But what about the challenges at the followership level? Lay believers often do not understand or appreciate the need and necessity of discernment. Sometimes they do not see why discernment should be a priority and the responsibility of every believer. Sometimes they are not even aware that there is such a thing as discernment. And so leaders being able to teach their followers of the need and necessity of discernment goes a long way in helping them to be on guard and to be able to not fall victim to the attacks of false teachers and their teachings.
Misunderstandings about biblical discernment
You will also notice that there are many misunderstandings about biblical discernment that need to be sorted out. Whenever someone is discerning they usually experience resistance from other believers who for instance will be telling them that they are not supposed to judge.
And they usually go to Matthew 7 that we are not supposed to judge therefore you should not be able to tell the difference between right and wrong. Some will use Psalm 105 which says, “Do not touch the Lord’s anointed.” Some of the pastors will use that ‘Touch not God’s anointed. If you say I am wrong in what I’m teaching I could curse you or God will judge you.’ We have those who again who will be saying that we are not supposed to be wrangling about words that are not necessarily important and they will quote passages like 2 Timothy 2:14 which is usually a misinterpretation. Because this is not just a debate about words that don’t matter.
Discernment is always at the level of fundamental teachings of the Christian faith. That we care about those teachings which if believers get wrong they could actually lead into their own eternal condemnation. It’s not a question of wrangling about words. It is a question of talking about teachings of the faith that matter and can actually affect our eternal destiny. It is important that the Church understands the importance and priority of biblical discernment today if we are to be able to identify false teachers, expose them and guard the faithful believers from being taken into error and the deception.