Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves… (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The root word for discern in the New Testament Greek is dokimazō. This word means to examine something—scrutinize it closely—to see if it is genuine. We’re instructed to take a close, scrutinizing look at…
- …our beliefs about God (Romans 1:28)
- …our understanding of God’s will for our lives (Romans 12:2)
- …our relationship with God and others (1 Corinthians 11:28)
- …our faith (2 Corinthians 13:5)
- …our motives (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
- …the teaching we are listening to (1 John 4:1)
In his book Romans: God’s Glory, Donald Grey Barnhouse discussed the root word for discern (the Greek word dokimos). He said,
“In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world.” (emphasis mine)
This should be said of every Christian: “They are dokimos—men and women who are honorable and are the real deal. They don’t shave anything off; they don’t water anything down. They can be scrutinized closely and found to be the genuine article.”
The Bible makes it clear that before the world can call us dokimos, the Holy Spirit first has to stamp that word on us. It’s only after we have allowed Him to scrutinize (and correct) our beliefs, relationships, faith, and motives that we can be labeled dokimos. When we are the real deal in His presence, the world cannot help but see the genuine article when they examine us.
Let’s live this way! May both God and the watching world be able to call us dokimos!