Introductory Note:

This selective, topical index is designed to help readers get a picture of the with-God life presented in the Bible and the role of the Spiritual Disciplines in fostering that kind of life toward its fullness. The passages listed either contain a specific reference to a topic serving as a discipline (e.g., the word “meditation”) or are about that topic without using the specific term. Because this index is selective, it does not list every passage in the Bible on each topic, and the entries are restricted to the topic’s role as a Spiritual Discipline. Some of the entries are negative examples of the practice of a particular discipline.

The list of disciplines chosen for this index also does not include every practice or situation that could actually serve as a discipline in the process of spiritual formation. The disciplines under consideration here include celebration, chastity, confession (below), fasting, fellowship, guidance, meditation, prayer, sacrifice, secrecy, service, silence, simplicity/frugality, solitude, study, submission, and worship. Since the central focus of Christian spiritual formation is the with-God life, that topic begins the index.

Each section contains scriptural references for the various disciplines, in alphabetical order. Those references for which there are spiritual formation exercises are designated by an asterisk.

No doubt some passages may have been omitted that might be very useful for understanding spiritual formation. What is given here is intended to provide only a substantial introduction to the presence and importance of Spiritual Disciplines in the Bible. For further study on disciplines and how they are to be practiced, please see Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, and Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines.

Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Life with God Spiritual Formation Bible
CON­FES­SION: Shar­ing our deep­est weak­ness­es and fail­ures with God and trust­ed oth­ers, so that we may enter into God’s grace and mer­cy and expe­ri­ence his ready for­give­ness and healing.

*Gen­e­sis 45:25 – 28 

And they told him, Joseph is still alive!”

*Leviti­cus 5:5

When you real­ize your guilt in any of these, you shall con­fess the sin that you have committed. 

Num­bers 5:7

Con­fess the sin that has been com­mit­ted.… Make full resti­tu­tion for the wrong, adding one fifth to it, and giv­ing it to the one who was wronged. 

1 Kings 8:33

Your peo­ple Israel, hav­ing sinned against you, are defeat­ed before an ene­my but turn again to you, con­fess your name, pray and plead with you in this house. 

*2 Chron­i­cles 6:26 – 27 

They have sinned against you, and then they pray toward this place, con­fess your name, and turn from their sin, because you pun­ish them. 

*Ezra 10:1

Ezra prayed and made con­fes­sion, weep­ing and throw­ing him­self down before the house of God. 

*Nehemi­ah 1:6 – 7 

Let your ear be atten­tive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your ser­vant that I now pray before you day and night for your ser­vants, the peo­ple of Israel, con­fess­ing the sins of the peo­ple of Israel, which we have sinned against you. 

Psalm 32:5

Then I acknowl­edged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniq­ui­ty; I said, I will con­fess my trans­gres­sions to the Lord,” and you for­gave the guilt of my sin. 

Psalm 38:18

I con­fess my iniq­ui­ty; I am sor­ry for my sin. 

*Proverbs 28:13

No one who con­ceals trans­gres­sions will pros­per, but one who con­fess­es and for­sakes them will obtain mercy. 

*Ezekiel 33:10

Our trans­gres­sions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live? 

*Daniel 9:20

I was speak­ing, and was pray­ing and con­fess­ing my sin and the sin of my peo­ple Israel, and pre­sent­ing my sup­pli­ca­tion before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy moun­tain of my God. 

*Hosea 14:2

Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips.”

Matthew 3:6

They were bap­tized by him in the riv­er Jor­dan, con­fess­ing their sins. 

*Mark 1:5

And peo­ple… were going out to him, and were bap­tized by him in the riv­er Jor­dan, con­fess­ing their sins. 

Luke 12:1 – 5 

Noth­ing is cov­ered up that will not be uncov­ered, and noth­ing secret that will not become known. 

*Luke 12:8 – 9 

Every­one who acknowl­edges me before oth­ers, the Son of Man also will acknowl­edge before the angels of God. 

*Romans 10:9 – 10 

If you con­fess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

*Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast to the con­fes­sion of our hope with­out waver­ing, for he who has promised is faithful. 

James 5:16

There­fore con­fess your sins to one anoth­er, and pray for one anoth­er, so that you may be healed. 

1 John 1:9

If we con­fess our sins, he who is faith­ful and just will for­give us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

*1 John 4:15

God abides in those who con­fess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 

Excerpt­ed from the Life with God Bible (New Revised Stan­dard Ver­sion), with spe­cial thanks to Harper­One and to the late Dal­las Willard who com­piled the Index.

Text First Published May 2005 · Last Featured on Renovare.org May 2022

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