GTY Blog: Discerning Leaders – John MacArthur

Truth2Freedom's Blog


In my previous post on discernment I closed by quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22, which is essentially the biblical recipe for discernment: “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”

“Examine everything carefully” (v. 21) is a command for all believers. In the context of the passage, Paul sets discernment alongside some of the most basic commands and instructions for the Christian life. Just like prayer and contentment, discernment is a crucial element of the effective Christian life.

That may surprise some Christians who see discernment as a uniquely pastoral responsibility. It is certainly true that pastors and elders have an even greater duty to be discerning than the average lay person. Most of the calls to discernment in the New Testament are issued to church leaders. In 1 Timothy 4:6–7, for example, Paul told Timothy:

Be constantly nourished on the words…

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