Discernment is the ability to distinguish by the eye or by understanding. Paul went on to explain that the ability to discern grows with exercising the senses (Hebrews 5:14 Hebrews 5:14But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
American King James Version×). We grow in the ability to discern good or evil by having a deeper understanding of what defines good and evil. The Bible is the only source that truly defines good as coming from God. In order to grow, it is vital that we focus our attention on the Word of God constantly.
When we apply this understanding to the letter to the Philippians and then to ourselves, we see that their love was to grow in knowledge and discernment. That word “love” is agape in Greek and is a measure of our benevolence, affection and charity toward others. Discernment is needed in this area so we clearly see the difference between brotherly love, love between man and woman, and the love God has for us. It is in this area of godly love that knowledge is needed to help us abound. Discernment is something that must develop within a person—it is not provided by God as a gift.