Discernment - knowing when to use knowledge. Or in other words, prudence.
Proverbs 19:2 - It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
Psalm 119: 25 - I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
As understanding is necessary for wisdom, so discernment is necessary for understanding. Thus the correction for the fool is understanding. The correction for the simple is discernment, for that will lead to wisdom and understanding.
Proverbs 8:5 - You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.
The discerning heart ... seeks knowledge (15:14), listens to a rebuke (17:10), holds his tongue (17:28), seeks out wisdom and understanding (17:24) (18:15), keeps the law (28:7), foresees and avoids evil (22:3),
The interesting thing is the opposite of discernment is both folly and the simple.
For what is discernment? It is the ability to tell the difference. Knowing when to use it.
Wisdom is knowing what to do - to obey.
Understanding is knowing where to obey - only the truth (the right)
Discernment is knowing the difference between right and wrong - ability to tell the difference.
A good thing at the wrong time is still wrong just as much as a bad thing at a good time is still wrong.
A bad thing at a good time - stealing at an opportune time is still wrong.
A good thing at the wrong time - Intimacy is a very good thing, but outside of commitment it becomes lust. Lust is destructive, seductive, and is the closest thing to a universal solvent (dissolves everything it touches) we have found.
Without Discernment, Understanding is useless (can’t tell right from wrong). Without Understanding, Wisdom is useless (it turns to folly by following the wrong thing). Without Wisdom, Knowledge is useless (cannot utilize it properly). And without knowledge, there is nothing. For if you know nothing, you will practice nothing, by practicing nothing, you will become nothing.
The good news is - If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
And with true Wisdom comes the prerequisites of understanding and discernment.
Always remember - “Knowledge is useless unless you have the wisdom to know how to use it, the understanding to know where to use it and the discernment to know when to use it.”