This is a subsidiary post of Vocabulary of Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding.

God wants us to be discerning.  Of course, He does not want us to be judgmental.   Therefore, let’s make sure we understand the difference.  That is, let us exercise good judgment without being judgmental.  Remember that in the same passage in which Jesus told us to “judge not” He also told us “do not cast your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:1-6).

(An asterisk at the beginning of the citation indicates a non-literal reference to discernment.)

*Matthew 7:6  –  “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine…”  –  See Philippians 3:2 below regarding “dogs.”

*Matthew 7:15-23  –  “Beware of the false prophets…”

*Matthew 10:16  –  “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”
*Matthew 10:16 KJV  –  “…wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Matthew 16:3  –  “…Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”

*Matthew 24:11 –  “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”

*Luke 12:57  –  “why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?”

*1 Corinthians 6:5, 6  –  “…Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren…”  –  Thus wisdom is a prerequisite for proper judgment.

Philippians 1:9, 10, 11  –  “that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless…”  –  NASB marginal note on “approve the things that are excellent” reads “Or discover; or distinguish between the things which differ.”

Philippians 3:2, 3, 4  –  “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision…”  –  Consider the expression “dogs” in connection with Matthew 7:6 above.

Hebrews 5:14 –  “…because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

*1 John 4:1  –  “…do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

*Revelation 2:2, 3  –  “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false…”

*Revelation 2:20  –  “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess…”


Psalm 119:66  –  “Teach me good discernment and knowledge…”

Proverbs 28:7  –  “He who keeps the law is a discerning son…”

Hosea 14:9  –  “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them…”

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