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. 

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

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