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, 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. It is followed by sections containing 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.

We are releasing this Bible in two editions—with and without the Deuterocanonial Books. (See the Foreword for a general statement.) In the Spiritual Disciplines Index, you will see some references to passages in the Deuterocanonial Books. These references will be in italics to differentiate their status from the New and the Old Testaments.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Life with God Spiritual Formation Bible

FASTING: The voluntary abstention from an otherwise normal function—most often eating—for the sake of intense spiritual activity. 

*Deut 8:3 One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

*1 Sam 7:6 They fasted that day, and said, “We have sinned against the Lord.”

*1 Sam 31:13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

*2 Sam 12:16, 21-23 David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground.

*1 Kings 21:27-29 When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth over his bare flesh; he fasted, lay in the sackcloth, and went about dejectedly.

*2 Chron 20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

*Ezra 8:21-23 I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might deny ourselves before our God.

Neh 1:4 When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

*Neh 9:1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.

*Esther 4:3 In every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting.

*Esther 4:16 Hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do.

Esther 9:31 They had laid down for themselves and for their descendants regulations concerning their fasts and their lamentations.

*Ps 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting.

Ps 69:10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, they insulted me for doing so. 

*Ps 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt.

*Isa 58:3-6 You fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.

Jer 14:12 Although they fast, I do not hear their cry.

Dan 6:18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Dan 9:3 Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and sup plication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

*Joel 2:12-13 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.

Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly.

*Jon 3:5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

*Zech 7:5 When you fasted and lamented in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted?

*Zech 8:19 The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah.

*1 Esd 8:50 There I proclaimed a fast for the young men before our Lord, to seek from him a prosperous journey for ourselves.

*2 Esd 5:13, 20 If you pray again, and weep as you do now, and fast for seven days, you shall hear yet greater things than these.

2 Esd 6:31-35 If therefore you will pray again and fast again for seven days, I will again declare to you greater things than these.

*Jth 4:9-13 The Lord heard their prayers and had regard for their distress; for the people fasted many days… before the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty.

*Jth 8:6 She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the day before the sabbath and the sabbath itself, the day before the new moon and the day of the new moon, and the festivals and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel.

*1 Macc 3:47 They fasted that day, put on sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on their heads, and tore their clothes.

2 Macc 13:12 They had all joined in the same petition and had implored the merciful Lord with weeping and fasting and lying prostrate for three days without ceasing.

Sir 34:31 So if one fasts for his sins, and goes again and does the same things, who will listen to his prayer?

Bar 1:5 Then they wept, and fasted, and prayed before the Lord.

Mob 12:8 Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness.

Matt 4:2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.

Matt 6:16-18 And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting.

Matt 9:14-15 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Mark 2:18-19 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

Luke 5:33-35 The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.

*Rev 13:10 Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Now Underway: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? First, choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

Learn more >

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.