Spiritual discernment according to 1 Corinthians 2: the Spirit and discerning the wisdom of God (An exploration in Pauline discernment: part 1)

  • Dirk Van der Merwe University of South Africa


This paper investigates the nature of “discernment” as personally experienced and communicated by Paul regarding his discernment of the “wisdom of God” as revealed to him by the Spirit of God. It is the first part of two articles that explore Pauline discernment, specifically with reference to 1 Corinthians 2. It is one of the main themes in 1 Corinthians 2. The verb κρίνω (decided, 2:2) and its derivatives ἀνακρίνω (discern, 2:14, 15[2x]) and συγκρίνοντες (interpreting, 2:13) occur five times in chapter two; this verb is used by Paul to explain how the spiritual person (πνευματικὸς) discerns the wisdom of God as this wisdom is mediated by the Spirit of God. This research endeavours to point out the coherence and relatedness of the different components that are involved in the process of the discerning of the wisdom of God.