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, fasting, fellowship, guidance, meditation, prayer, sacrifice, secrecy, service, silence, simplicity/frugality (listed below), solitude, submission, study, and worship.

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
SIMPLICITY/FRUGALITY: The inward reality of single-hearted focus upon God and his kingdom, which results in an outward lifestyle of modesty, openness, and unpretentiousness and which disciplines our hunger for status, glamour, and luxury. 

*Deuteronomy 17:16 – 17

He must not acquire many horses for himself. … He must not acquire many wives; … also silver and gold he must not acquire in great quantity for himself. 

*Ecclesiastes 5:10

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. 

*Daniel 5:17

Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! 

*Hag 1:2 – 11

You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. 

*3 Maccabees 6:36

They instituted the observance of the aforesaid days as a festival, not for drinking and gluttony, but because of the deliverance that had come to them through God. 

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 

Matthew 6:22 – 24 

You cannot serve God and wealth. 

2 Corinthians 11:3

I am afraid that… your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 

Philippians 3:13

I do not consider that I have made it my own.

*Philippians 4:11 – 13 

I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. … I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 

Colossians 2:20 – 23 

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? 

Colossians 3:1 – 2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 

*2 Timothy 2:4

No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. 

Hebrews 12:1 – 3 

Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. 

James 1:8

The doubter, being double- minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 

James 4:8

Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 

*Revelation 3:17

You say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 

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.

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash