Editor's 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.

Originally published May 2005

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