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 (listed below), 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
SOLITUDE: The creation of an open, empty space in our lives by purposefully abstaining from interaction with other human beings, so that, freed from competing loyalties, we can be found by God.

*Genesis 32:24

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Numbers 23:9 

Here is a people living alone, and not reckoning itself among the nations!

*1 Kings 17:4 

I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.

Psalm 62:5 

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

*Isaiah 35:1 

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.

*Jeremiah 15:16–18 

Under the weight of your hand I sat alone.

*Matthew 14:23 

After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

Mark 1:35 

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

Mark 6:31 

Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.

Mark 6:47 

When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

Mark 9:2 

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.

*Luke 4:42 

At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place.

Luke 5:16 

He would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Luke 6:12 

He went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.

Luke 9:18 

Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him.

*John 8:29 

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone.

*John 16:32 

The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when… you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.

*Gal 1:17–22 

I went away at once into Arabia.

1 Timothy 5:5 

The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God. 

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.

Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash