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

SACRIFICE: Deliberately forsaking the security of satisfying our own needs with our resources in the faith and hope that God will sustain us. 

*Gen 13:8-18 Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right.

Gen 15:9-14 Your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there … but I will bring judgment.

*Lev9:7 Draw near to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people.

Lev 23:37 You shall celebrate … times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire—burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day.

Num 10:10 You shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over your sacrifices of well-being; they shall serve as a reminder on your behalf before the Lord your God.

*Deut 15:21 If it has any defect—any serious defect, such as lameness or blindness— you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.

Deut 18:1-2 They may eat the sacrifices that are the Lord’s portion.

*Josh 8:31 They offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed offerings of well-being.

*Ruth 4:5 The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite.

1 Sam 15:22 Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

*2 Sam 24:24 I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.

*2 Chron 7:1 When Solomon had ended his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

Ps 4:5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

*Ps 40:6-8 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear.

Ps 50:23 Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me.

Ps 51:16-19 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Prov 21:3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Hos 6:6 I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

*Mic 6:6-8 What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

*Mal 1:8,14 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong?

Sir 34:21-24 The Most High is not pleased with the offerings of the ungodly, nor for a multitude of sacrifices does he forgive sins.

Sir 35:4 One who gives alms sacrifices a thank offering.

Sir 35:9 The sacrifice of the righteous is acceptable, and it will never be forgotten.

*ProfAzar 16-17 Yet with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted, as though it were with burnt offerings.

*Matt 9:13 Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

Mark 12:33 “To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,” and “to love one’s neighbor as oneself,”—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 

*Mark 14:3-9 A woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.

*John 21:18 When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.

Rom 3:25 God put forward [Christ Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.

*Rom 12:1 Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

*1 Cor 5:7 For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.

1  Cor 9:27 I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

2  Cor 8:1-9 They voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means.

*2 Cor 9:6-7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Eph 5:2 Live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

*Phil 2:17 Even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Heb 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these.

Heb 10:5 Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.

Heb 10:12 When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God.”

Heb 13:11 Those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.

Heb 13:15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.

*Heb 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Matt 6:18 [May] your fasting … be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matt 10:26 Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.

*Mark 4:22 There is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.

Luke 8:10 To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God.

Rom 2:16 According to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

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.