Discerning Discernment

Discerning Discernment

The Meaning and Significance of Hebrews 5:12-14 in the Christian’s Call of Discernment

By Ryan Habbena

“What is your spirtual gift ?” I have heard this question asked and answered many times. In my experience, the most common response to this inquiry is: “I have the gift of discernment. When asked what this means, the person often answers, “I can automatically tell when something is evil.”

The Scriptures speak to the subject of discernment in various ways. While the Bible indeed affirms “discernment” as a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:10),1 the truth is that all Christians are called to be “discerners” (see 1 John 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). The question then naturally follows: “How do we acquire the ability to discern?” There are those who would answer in unison with the above example, simply stating: “I just know it my heart! I just know.” Note, for instance, Neal Anderson’s take on this subject: “Spiritual discernment is our first line of defense against deception. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in every believer, and He is not silent when we encounter the counterfeit. Discernment is that little ‘buzzer’ that goes off inside when something is wrong.”2 While the Holy Spirit has indeed taken up residence in every believer, rather than relying upon an automatic, subjective “buzzer” that is supposed to “go off inside,” we are informed in Hebrews that believers are equipped with discernment via different means. Hebrews 5:12-14 speaks directly to this subject. In what follows I will engage in some “basic exposition” on this central text regarding discernment. Following this I will apply its teaching to how we all are called to be trained discerners in order to avoid the deception that surrounds us.

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Be On Guard Against False Doctrine

J.C. Ryle

Let us be on our guard against false doctrine. Unsound faith will never be the mother of really sound practice, and in these latter days, departures from the faith abound. See then that your loins be girded about with truth, and be very jealous of receiving anything which cannot be proved by the Bible. Do not think for a moment that false doctrine will meet you face to face, saying, “I am false doctrine, and I want to come into your heart.” Satan does not go to work in that way. He dresses up false doctrine like Jezebel — he paints her face and attires her hair, and tries to make her like truth. Do not think that those who preach error will never preach anything that is true. Error would do little harm if that was the case. No! Error will come before you mingled with much that is sound and scriptural.

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Why would someone hate the word Exegesis? part 3

John MacArthur – Grace to You

How to Study Your Bible

Psalms 1:1-2; Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Corinthians 8:1

Introduction

Truly the Bible is magnificent. Early twentieth-century evangelist Billy Sunday pictured the Bible like a majestic palace. He wrote,

I entered through the portico of Genesis and walked down through the Old Testament’s art gallery, where I saw the portraits of Joseph, Jacob, Daniel, Moses, Isaiah, Solomon and David hanging on the wall; I entered the music room of the Psalms and the Spirit of God struck the keyboard of my nature until it seemed to me that every reed and pipe in God’s great organ of nature responded to the harp of David, and the charm of King Solomon in his moods.

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Metamorphosis, Part 2 (proliferating ignorance)


John MacArthur – Grace to You

 

The World Wide Web had quietly been implemented less than a year after the Soviet Union broke up. Still, by 1993, when the first edition of Ashamed of the Gospel hit the shelves, no one but the earliest Internet insiders had even heard about the Web—much less seen it. Most people had no clue how quickly or how drastically the Web would alter the world as we knew it.

I remember being told at a strategic planning retreat in 1996 that the World Wide Web would eventually become the primary vehicle for the dissemination of our radio broadcast and recorded sermons. (At the time, radio and cassette tapes were still the only media we were using for audio content.) When the men at Grace to You who stay abreast of new technologies predicted that within twenty years or so cassette tapes would be a totally dead technology, I thought they were exaggerating. “You can’t access the Internet in a car,” I pointed out. “Even if you could, who wants to carry a computer on the car seat, when it’s so much more convenient to pop in a cassette tape?”

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Metamorphosis, Part 1 (end of the cold war)

John MacArthur – Grace to You

The world of 1993 was another time in many significant ways. That was a unique year, strikingly different from the rest of the 20th century—but also nothing at all like the Internet era, which was just about to begin.

History will no doubt always remember the early 1990s as a pivotal time in human history. In 1992, conservative op-ed commentator George Will published a compilation of his newspaper columns written over the prior three years. He titled the anthology Suddenly, which perfectly captured the spirit of the day. Suddenly, confusingly, everything was in flux. Worldly fads and philosophies were changing faster than ever. The changes were global and profound, affecting everything from art to zoology. Ideological changes, societal changes, political changes, and moral changes were the order of the day. The shifting of so many opinions and boundaries all at once was both drastic and disorienting.

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