The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10, KJV)

Discerning of spirits is one of the nine gifts of the Spirits mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. It is a critical gift of the Spirit to enable us to function in the spirit with accuracy. What is discerning of spirits? And how can I function more fully in this gift?

The word “discerning” in the verse above means “distinguishing.” It is the ability to distinguish or see the difference between two entities or things. Discerning of spirits, therefore, means the ability to tell the difference between the different spirits that are operating. The next logical question is: what are the different spirits we need to distinguish?

Most of the teachings I have heard growing up about this gift had to do with discerning demonic spirits. Though this is true, it is only part of the entire picture. As a matter of fact, there are three key spirits that have to be distinguished as we walk with the Lord and minister. They are the human spirit, demonic spirit, and the  Holy Spirit. The reason why discernment is so critical is that these three spirits can be operational and we might mistake one for the other.

The human spirit means the man or woman is acting out from their own hearts. Have you ever received a word of knowledge or prophecy which is not coming from the Spirit of God but from the individual saying it? Discerning of spirits will instantly tell you if they are speaking from God or from their own hearts. The same is true for demonic spirits. There are things that might appear very normal, but discerning of spirits will tell you that there is a demonic spirit at work.

It becomes even more important with the Spirit of God. How many of you have heard a “voice in your head” and be confused about “was it God or me?” only to find out what it was God after the event had taken place. Well, discerning of Spirits will enable you to know the Spirit’s voice, leadings and operations and distinguish them from yourself or from demonic spirits. These are only a few examples I can list you.

This gift is so important, and we should ask the Spirit for it.


Can demons present themselves to us as the Spirit of God?


The Apostle Paul instructed us to “desire spiritual gifts”. They enable you to function more effectively and efficiently. Desire and ask the Father in prayer.


Pray that the Lord will bestow this gift to you in increasing measure. 

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  1. This was very helpful and clarified some things for me. Thank you, brother. Thanks and praise to God for gifting the members of His Body.

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