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The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Spiritual discernment is good for more than just making monumental decisions according to God's will. It is an essential, day-to-day activity that allows thoughtful Christians to separate the truth of God from error and to distinguish right from wrong in all kinds of settings and situations. It is also a skill-something that any person can develop and improve, especially w ...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published December 19th 2007 by Crossway Books
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It was hard to rate this book. There were many good things in it but also quite a few disappointments.When I saw the title, "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment", I thought it would be about the discernment of spiritual things or the discernment of spirits. He does mention that in his book, but that isn't what the book is really about.

Basically this book is about learning how to: read scripture, interact with Christians who have different views, and discern right from wrong. Obviously this
I got this book through inter-library loan and I'm wishing that I owned it. I would probably have underlined half the book! :-)
This is an excellent book on the need for Christians to practice discernment. Throughout Scripture, we are told to seek understanding and to test the spirits. The author defines discernment as "the skill of understanding and applying God's Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong."
The reasons for lack of discernment are addressed (low vie
Jan 29, 2014 Sam rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I have read books and blog articles from this author before. Generally, I enjoy his writing and appreciate his pastoral approach to his subject matter, and I have certainly been encouraged by his content before.

However, in my opinion, this book just wasn't very good. Here are some of my reasons.

1. The book was too long. - I know this gets said about every book ever written, but I really believe this book could have been much shorter. The author repeats his points again and again. In my opinion
Really enjoyed this book. Easy to understand and sets out the basic principles all Christians should use in their everyday life to understand what real Truth is.
I recently finished this book by Tim Challies who is a web designer who hails from the Great White North. Although I have had my difference with Canadians over the years (they try to pawn of ham as "Canadian Bacon"...I'm not buying is to different parts of pig) I was still very fond of this book.

This book does not have a misleading is about the act of discernment which is a discipline that has not been the focus of much attention in recent years.

Challies attempts to engage the
Ruben Cardenas
A very practical, resourceful (and Puritan-like) primer on cultivating discernment. Oh, if I only had this when I first got saved. I've followed Challies' blog since 2009 and even on his blog he does the broader Christian community a service with his insightful reviews and articles. Here in this volume he has done no less, but even more.

In this little volume he lays out a biblical definition of discernment, clarifies the distinction between God's Will of Decree (hidden will) and God's Will of Co
The book was average, which was surprising given Mr. Challies's normally excellent grasps of topics. While I wouldn't call the book poor or badly written, the discipline comes down to two separate, but simple things. The mind will fill with what you decide to feed it. If you fill with trash, your spiritual discernment will be nill. Or as we learned in computer programming courses, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." If you read The Word constantly and allow it to mold your mind and thought processes, you ...more
Tim Challies writes an interesting and informative blog ( which I check regularly. I find that he is a good thinker and a decent writer, and I can tell that he puts a lot of effort into his blog posts. His book reviews have been particularly helpful to me.

I was disappointed in this book, however. Spiritual discernment is surely an important topic and one that is desperately needed within the church, and as it goes, Challies did a decent job handling this topic. However, two things s
Discernment is something that I think we talk about in Christian circles as a side issue, or something that happens almost by accident as we progress in our faith. Tim Challies asserts that this should be a much more important topic in our lives... if not the most essential discipline as we grow in our knowledge and love of God.
It is a comprehensive, to say the least, and challenging book that has left me with a thorough understanding of the biblical definition and importance of discernment. But
Tim Challies clearly communicates the need for discernment and how it is paralleled with spiritual maturity. In a day when we are opposed by culture, satanic influence, and even our own evil natures, we need to be a discerning people. Challies shows the importance of "understanding and applying God's Word" in order to separte what is error from what is good. We must believe and think correctly about what the Word has revealed about God and His character. And we must believe and think correctly a ...more
In my opinion Tim Challies has added a considerable contribution to the body of Christ by writing this book on the need of acurate, humble and timely discernment in the the world. Although the theme of discernment is by no means scarce in the Bible, there is comparatively very little literature on the subject. Challies has contributed a relevant and biblically accurate urgent call for discernment that is so needed in the church today. In a culture where excercizing biblical discernment is oftent ...more
Paul Wichert
I read this book to see if it would be a good small group study at some point. After reading I am uncertain. There is a lot of good discussion in the book about discernment and some peripheral areas such as judging and God's will. The book moved fairly slowly to a definition of discernment about one-third of the way through and ended with a 17-step process for Christian discernment. While I followed the author's intent, and I do think the book is helpful, I'm not sure approach is as complete or ...more
Paul Mullen
Tim Challies tackles an important topic. What I really appreciated was how he debunked the behavior that suggests that we can find proof verses or know the specific will of God in a particular situation that is not addressed in the scriptures by examining the scriptures for a specific answer. Instead, he suggests that we need to be reading the whole body of the Bible, to be working on living as God intends, and then out of this infusion of scripture, experience, and Spirit, we will begin to be a ...more
Landon Chapman
This book was incredibly useful and enlightening. Sadly, in today's American Evangelical churches, those who practice spiritual discernment are looked at as "haters". This book goes a long way to remind us that the practice of discernment is necessary, and biblical.
Some Christians say it is unloving to nitpick on doctrine and right beliefs but Tim blows this completely out of the water with this book. He specifically calls those who do not seek after discernment as those who have not grown up to maturity. This is a must read. Specially for those who say "who are we to judge".
Chris Giovagnoni
This book is a must read, only if you're in a place where you're willing to do the hard work involved with spiritual discernment. The last chapter provides a great framework to apply when analyzing spiritual teaching and when making decisions.

The rest of the book makes the case, for holding everything up to the Word of God to determine what is true and what is not. Truth is consistent. It never varies. Being able to clearly identify truth makes spotting falsehoods packaged in grains of truth ea
Mark A Powell
Right or wrong? Truth or error? The process of answering these questions is discernment, and Challies has written a work dedicated entirely to defining and developing this discipline. Challies spends the first part of the book explaining what discernment is, then discusses some of its dangers before concluding with practical advice on how to put discernment to use. Although this book is full of helpful information, it seems repetitive in some places and slow in others.
I had never read Tim Challies but I like what I read. This book is exceptionally easy to read, but not dumbed down by any means. It is a well written book that will keep almost anyone interested.

The book is dedicated to understanding what discernment is and how to attain it. At the end of the book he gives a practical example. This was the first book that I had read that was strictly concerning spiritual discernment. I was impressed.
Jayme Hlatky
I burned up a highlighter on this book. there were a couple of tedious chapters that seemed get get bogged down in details and I kept wanting to skip to the chapter on developing discernment. but over all this was very helpful! I know I will be returning to this book many times as I both practice and teach on spiritual discernment. I am convinced the American church is really sick as a result of this issue being neglected.
Great book. Strong focus on 1 Thess. 5:21-22 - "Test everything, hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." A much needed read personally and very challenging. This is an area that needs to be cultivated in our churches, specifically in our male leadership. I found the discussion questions at the end to be useful and probing. I would recommend this book for small-group book studies.
I'm not sure that there is a biblical calling that believers are less familiar with but more in need of than the discipline of spiritual discernment. Challies' book, while occasionally giving us the opportunity to practice what he is encouraging (!) is a needed wake-up call and a very accessible primer on this vital theme. I found myself both deeply encouraged and challenged as I read.
Havebooks Willread
Challies shared a lot of worthwhile information in a very careful way, which is wise of him but tedious to me.
Solid subject with helpful application to instruct on how to proceed with discernment as a ministry or a gift. I really appreciated the discussion of the necessary posture and attitude to conduct discernment with. It is in this are that many discerning people fall short, failing to exercise humility or grace with those they purport to help.
Great book. Read it with a group of guys and found that it worked will for group discussions. Disagreed with Challies on some points, but that helped conversations go all the better. I think that this a really helpful place to start when looking into the topic of discernment.
Jean Pierre
This book has opened my eyes to then importance of discernment not only in books but in every aspect of Christian living. Through the chapters, he explains discernment as found in the Bible and he also gives many pointers on how to practice discernment. Great book.
Absolutely wonderful book. This is a no nonsense approach to discernment that every believer everywhere should read. I read it on my kindle, but will be ordering a few hard copies, one to keep, and some on hand to give away. Well done Tim Challies!
Bauer Evans
1st book written by this author. A thorough treatment of a vital biblical practice. I would have liked more emphasis on the role, importance of the Holy Spirit, but Tim's clarity, and concise writing ability makes this a must read
This was a very good book. It encouraged much thought and personal evaluation. I found it to be slightly repetitive at times, but I'm sure that helped with its clarity and ability to truly drive home his points. I highly recommend.
Peter Krol
Very clear on the topic of discernment. Challies doesn't just tell us what to think. He helps us understand why we should think and how we can go about doing it well. I highly recommend it.
Terrific book. I lead a group through this book at church back in January and have another group in the summer.
Every church leader should read this book.
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Tim Challies is a leading evangelical blogger and editor of Discerning Reader, a site dedicated to discerning reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. A self-employed web designer, Tim lives in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario with his wife and three children.
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“and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." The word translated as "insight" is a Hebrew equivalent to "discernment.” 0 likes
“This word deposit is taken from the ancient world. In the age before personal safes and safe deposit boxes, a person who was going to be away for some time might ask another to care for a treasured possession. He would entrust this possession to another, depositing it to him, and this person was bound by a sacred oath to protect it.8 In his letters to Timothy, Paul, who knows that he will not always be able to encourage and mentor Timothy, entrusts to him the gospel message. Timothy would be expected to guard this message and to find worthy, godly Christians to whom he could in turn entrust it. And so the gospel has been protected and has carried from one generation to the next through the long, storied history of the church. And so it has been handed in trust to you and to me and to all who believe.” 0 likes
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