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Discerning as You Read

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By Beverly S. Krueger

Early on in their academic careers we teach our children the mechanics of reading and comprehension skills. As they get older, we need to arm our children with another tool of reading, discernment. Some call this critical reading, reading that focuses on determining the bias of the author and whether the piece is based on fact or opinion. Critical thinking applies to many aspects of our lives from what we read in newspapers and magazines or hear on television to what is preached from the pulpit. While God does give the gift of discernment in greater measure to some individuals, He does not leave the rest of us without assistance. He has given the Holy Spirit to all, and He leads us into all truth disclosing to us the mind of Christ. Through prayer and immersion in the Word, we can apply God's critical thinking pointers to our life.

Scriptural References:

When the Lord told Solomon he could ask whatever he wished from the Him, Solomon requested an understanding heart to discern between good and evil. 1 Kings 3:9-14
Hebrews 5:14 tells us we should train our senses to discern good and evil.
We shouldn't be like the Pharisees, blind men leading the blind, all falling into a pit together. Matthew 15:14
As spiritual men we are to appraise all things. 1 Corinthians 2
We are to accurately handle the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2: 15-16
We are to use scripture for teaching and training. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
We are to make our ears attentive to wisdom that it might enter our hearts, so that discretion may guard us and understanding watch over us. Proverbs 2: 1-15
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Every child should spend time studying Proverbs. It is chockfull of practical advice for every day living. The following list is just a smattering of the riches you will find.

Proverbs 1:10-19 Enticement to violence
Proverbs 11:4 Riches
Proverbs 11:6 Greed
Proverbs 11:9 The godless man destroys with his mouth
Proverbs 11:27 Evil
Proverbs 12:5 Wicked counsel deceitful
Proverbs 12:6 Words of the wicked
Proverbs 14:15 The naive
Proverbs 14:16 Arrogance of fools
Proverbs 16: 27-28 Words that destroy
Proverbs 17:4 To whom do you listen?
Proverbs 26:28 Lying and flattery
Proverbs 29:5 Flatterers

Further reading and critical thinking resources:

Report from the Ombudsman: Since skepticism is a virtue, you should be asking the following ten questions as you read, watch, and surf. By Michael Gartner, Brill's content November 2000.
35 Dimensions of Critical Thought
An Educator's Guide to Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts
Cornell Critical Thinking Tests
Mission: Critical A free interactive tutorial for critical thinking.

Curriculum & Critical Thinking Resources

Bible Study Resources:

Knowing Scripture by Robert Charles Sproul. R.C. Sproul outlines the principles of textual interpretation of the Bible, offers guidelines for personal application, investigates the role of culture in biblical revelation, and discusses the use of paraphrases, concordances, commentaries, and expositions.
How to Choose a Study Bible - Christian Research Institute
Biblical Discernment Ephesians 5:15-17 by Rev. Don Robinson
Loving God with All Your Mind: Logic and Creation by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.

Copyright ©  2001 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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