1 Corinthians 12:10, “…to another distinguishing between spirits.”

The next spiritual gift Paul lists is the “gift of distinguishing between spirits.”  The gift of distinguishing (or discerning) between spirits is, “a supernatural revelation about the origin of a spirit.” Consequently, there are four different kinds of spirits in the world, which are, (1) the Spirit of God, (2) an angelic spirit, (3) an evil spirit, and lastly, (4) the spirit of a man.

Many times Christians believe God is speaking to them, but really it is their own spirit. Other times, people have visions and hear voices they think are from God, but they really are evil spirits deceiving them, 2 Corinthians 11:4.  Therefore, the gift of discerning of spirits lets you know what is the source and purpose of every spiritual thing.

A Biblical example of discerning of spirits would be the time when a young girl who could tell the future followed Paul.  She kept shouting out in public, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  However, by the gift of distinguishing between spirits Paul knew that the spirit inside of her was of a demonic origin- thus, he cast the spirit out of the girl. Acts 16:16-18.

Sometimes people confuse the gift of discerning between spirits with being “nosey” or causing division through “gossip.”  In other words, just because someone says, “God told me this and that about someone’s spirit,” doesn’t mean they are right.  The discerning of spirits is meant to help people grow in Christ and avoid deceptive tactics from the devil.  Thus, church leadership should always be involved when someone wants to “confront” another Christian based on his or her “discernment.”

At the same, when the gift of distinguishing between spirits is used properly it can be powerful and life changing both in and outside of the church!


Do you believe God can use you to discern the different kinds of spirit in the world?


  1. Have you ever witnessed a demon being cast out, a spiritual attack, or an angelic visitation?
  2. Ask God to give you the gift of distinguish between spirits next time you encounter a spiritual battle or situation.
  3. Test every spirit- don’t believe every spirit is from God, 1 John 4:1.