discerning of spirits (v.10)—Satan is the great deceiver (John 8:44) and his demons counterfeit God’s message and work. Christians with the gift of discernment have the God-given ability to recognize lying spirits and to identify deceptive and erroneous doctrine (see Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1).
Paul illustrated the use of this gift in Acts 16:16-18, as Peter had exercised it in Acts 5:3. When it was not being exercised in the Corinthian church, grave distortion of the truth occurred (see v. 3; 14:29).
Though its operation has changed since apostolic times (because of the completion of Scripture) it is still essential to have people in the church who are discerning. They are the guardians, the watchmen who protect the church from demonic lies, false doctrines, perverted cults, and fleshly elements. As it requires diligent study of the Word to exercise gifts of knowledge, wisdom, preaching, and teaching, so it does with discernment.