God's Truth Not Smooth Words

Discerning the Spirits

Discerning the Spirits

©copyright 2006 Bonita M Quesinberry, R.C.  

Does God give us instructions and examples about discerning the spirits? All scriptures herein are paraphrased or quoted from exclusively the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

I Kings 3:9— Give thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

Solomon had been given the throne of his father, David, and asked our Lord for wisdom to properly discern all things both good and evil. Verse 11 reveals God granting his request, because “Solomon did not ask for things for himself; such as long life or riches or the destruction of his enemies: instead, Solomon had asked to discern judgment.”

This then, is the same discernment we, as Christians, are cautioned to do; that we properly identify both the spirits of good and of evil. According to I Corinthians 12:8-10, discerning of spirits is the seventh of nine Spiritual Gifts of power. However, the Gift of Discernment is reserved for those spiritually mature, according to Hebrews 5:13-14, for young Christians are considered amateurs in the Word of Righteousness: like a baby. But the weightier matters of God’s Word belongs to them of full age, those who have learned by experience to discern both good and evil. I Corinthians 2:14-15 adds that a discerner of spirits has the mind of Christ; for the flesh man rejects Spiritual things as foolishness thus he cannot know them, because they must be spiritually discerned.

Ezekiel 44:23-24 tells us that a discerner of spirits teach the people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to learn the difference between the unclean and clean. And in controversies the discerner stands in judgment and shall judge according to God’s Biblical judgments, which define how His Commandments are to be obeyed and, if violated, what type of punishment is appropriate during the here and now. A discerner also is defined as one who obeys God’s laws and His statutes in all God’s holy assemblies; and they obey God’s Sabbaths.”

Malachi 3:18 adds that they also discern the difference between the righteous and the wicked, the difference between he who serves God and he who does not.  Ecclesiastes 8:8 adds that a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment; time referring to prophecy time lines as well as what God calls a day, from sundown to sundown.

With respect to Ezekiel 44 above, Isaiah 8:16,20  clarifies who are discerners of the spirits, paraphrased: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. They teach God’s Law and preach His and Christ’s testimony.” Then, in Matthew 5:19 Jesus stated adamantly, “Who ever obeys and teaches God’s Law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Everyone understands that discerning of the spirits is to determine for whom a person speaks and teaches; because both God and Satan work through human beings: Satan taking on the guise of an angel of Light and his ministers appearing as ministers of Light. It should be clear that young Christians are not discerners of spirits; rather, they must look to the elder, mature Christian for guidance in discerning spirits, while also learning through experience.

For example, one professed Christian lives and teaches God’s Law as well as His and Christ’s testimonies and another professed Christian says it is not necessary: the young Christian, enlightened only in the basics of salvation, easily could be wooed by the person saying it no longer matters, that all you have to do is love and believe Jesus is the Son of God. After all, it is easier to live IN and be OF this world if we go along with the majority. However, an elder Christian mature in God’s Word would caution the younger that not all things taught are coming from God: to always determine if what they say wholly lines up with God’s Word, ALL of God’s Word on any given topic.

If there is so much as one flaw in a teaching, then none of that person’s teachings are coming from God’s Holy Spirit. We judge the spirits only by God’s Holy Word: ALL of it, not just parts here and there, taking only scriptures that will please the hearers. This is exactly why God gave us clear instructions on how to study His Word; and, there is a great difference between reading the Bible from cover to cover versus indepth study that is Spirit guided.

Additionally, if someone who claims to be a Christian does deceitful things or lies about and/or attacks other Christians or even non-Christians, he or she does so by evil spirits; for certainly God forbids such behaviour of His sheep. If a person supports two different teachings, this also is by evil spirits; for one either supports only God’s Word or they do not. We are not allowed to have it both ways; there is no straddling the fence, not in God’s eyes.  We are either in God’s camp or we are not. We either choose life or we do not. We either choose Truth or we do not. There simply are no gray areas with God; therefore, there are no gray areas with those who discern the spirits.



13 August 2006 - Posted by | Bible, Bible Related Articles, Blogroll, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Study


  1. I think other web site proprietors should take this website as an model – very clean and excellent style and design, as well as the content. You are an expert in this area!

    Comment by vacation rentals by owner | 13 July 2011 | Reply

  2. your name is bonnie q.ithink your very wrong about discernment in young people.the lord jesus can use anyone to discern spirits according to his will.and in the end times he is going to use young people free from relious spirits.praise the lord.and the beauty is it will be free.

    Comment by donald boucher macdonald | 2 January 2011 | Reply

    • Donald, I respect your right to your own opinion; however, I caution you that it is not me with whom you disagree, it is God: for everything in this treatise on the Gift of Discernment is scriptural, therefore God’s opinion, not mine as you suppose.

      I do agree with you, however, that Jesus chooses whom He will, regardless of age, to endow with special Gifts. Albeit, Jesus gives those gifts not according to the individual’s desire for a specific gift; rather, He gives a gift or gifts according to His discretion based on a number of factors that hinge upon that person’s life experiences: in short, where that person will be the most effective in serving Christ and His mission.

      All that God gives us is free, as you mentioned but it does not come without requirements of us. As Paul taught, “Faith without works is dead; works without faith is dead. So, you see, it takes both faith and works.” The first requirement, as set out 3x in Revelation, is that we obey God’s Commandments as set out in Exodus, chapter 20. Alas, to violate even one of the 10 eliminates receiving spiritual gifts. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians consistently violate the fourth Precept.

      I pray that my reply to you has been informative and, most of all, helpful to your spiritual understanding.

      Much love & prayers in Christ,
      Remnant Doctrine Keepers

      Comment by bonnieq | 2 January 2011 | Reply

  3. Reading this information has blessed me. Thank you.

    Comment by Leola K | 1 June 2007 | Reply

  4. very insightful read, thankyou.

    Comment by banshee | 22 February 2007 | Reply

  5. Hi mrs. Bonita,Im So sorry to here of your many trails, you are truly an example of the power of God that rest upon is something i have struggle for some time now i realy dont think i have the gift of discerment but,i have this problem that i cant even look at people without seeing there struggles or there pain .i really hate to even look at people because of what i see in them.this has cause me to be withdral from everyone around me .can you please help me and shed some light.i was in a abusive relationship were my ex would come home angry and he would take it out on me.he would hit me for no apperant reason so i guess i would always blame myself . ialways try to figure him out but it was very difficult since he would change alot he was very emotional unstable we had 4 kidsour house was a live in hell i was never happy i try leave him many time but he would always convince mewith his crying .i became a nervous wreck ..finally i left him after 14 years but i am still an emotional wreck ..please give me some advice ..thanks gail

    Comment by gail | 2 November 2006 | Reply

  6. Melle Dozier, I will be posting another article soon about how to discern the spirit of a person; so, you might want to keep an eye out for it. I’m currently recovering from a broken back but will do my best to get the article posted within the next few days.

    Love in Christ
    Bonnie Q

    Comment by bonnieq | 7 September 2006 | Reply

  7. This is very good. I recently was “undone” by my beloved husband of 2 years. He acted as if he loved me and then without warning when he knew I was going to be with my little granddaughter babysitting for the first time, he moved all his things out of the house and left me. Very suddenly, in fact I still thought he loved me and maybe he justwas not feeling well, because he seemed to be somewhat withdrawn and on edge. He told me he loved me and gave me roses on our 2nd anniversary. A few days later he left the house with all his stuff. It was a clear deception. I have wondered how I could not really see who he was and could have avoided this, if I could have only had the gift of discerning his spirit. I had a little money, and when this was used for him and his grown child who also needed some help, he seemed to begin to lose a little interest, but was home every night. I was so shocked, painfully hurt, and deeply wronged by this. I now think he planned the whole thing. He was charming and convincing, never hurt me or was ugly to me. I wondered what I had done or did not do, to cause this. I have had support and love from my pastor, my family, and friends; but, I am still so shocked because I could not see this at the very beginning. It worries me and frightens me to know I could be so trusting and loving and believing him and he was deceiving me all the time. I pray for God’s guidance in all this and courage and protection. I am a little bit afraid of him now, although, he does not call, or try to communicate with me in any way. I wonder what else is he capable of doing? I was commited to him, and believed him and thought he really, really was committed to me and loved me. How could I be so deceived so easily? Thanks again for this available article. melle dozier

    Comment by melle dozier | 7 September 2006 | Reply

  8. Additionally, if someone who claims to be a Christian does deceitful things or lies about and/or attacks other Christians or even non-Christians, he or she does so by evil spirits; for certainly God forbids such behaviour of His sheep.

    This is an extreme view but one I respect for it’s purity. Christianity has been turned in to a buffet religion of convenience by too many people. They won’t commit to what it actually means, they simply chose the bits that are easy to obey and call themselves Christians. The term in my experience has become so broad as to lose it’s original meaning.

    This pure ideology will both harm and help people but at least it’s honest.

    Comment by Sean Kehoe | 15 August 2006 | Reply

  9. Again I thank you for this fine teaching.

    The Scriptures answer so many questions I have had this week. I am still saddened by the evil spirits that I perceive around me. I guess I am being toughened up. That is the purpose of these trials and testings.

    I will always be guarding your back Sweet Sis. I love you lots.


    Comment by joanne tolles | 14 August 2006 | Reply

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