DISCERNINGS OF SPIRITS
di-zurn'-inz, (diakriseis pneumaton, "judicial estimation," "through judgment or separation"):
Occurs in 1 Corinthians 12:10 as being one of the gifts of the Spirit. The Greek word occurs in Hebrews 5:14; and Romans 14:1: "But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples." This translation scarcely expresses the meaning, which Thayer has freely rendered, "not for the purpose of passing judgment on opinions, as to which one is to be preferred as the more correct." Taking these three passages together it is evident that the Greek term which is rendered "discerning" means a distinguishing or discriminating between things that are under consideration; hence, the one who possessed the gift of "discernings of spirits" was able to make distinction between the one who spoke by the Spirit of God and the one who was moved by a false spirit. This gift seems to have been exercised chiefly upon those who assumed the role of teachers, and it was especially important in those days, because there were many false teachers abroad (see 2 John 1:7; Acts 20:29,30). See also SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
A. W. Fortune
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