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, solitude, submission, study (listed below), 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
STUDY: The inten­tion­al process of engag­ing the mind with the writ­ten and spo­ken Word of God and the world God has cre­at­ed in such a way that the mind takes on an order con­form­ing to the order upon which it concentrates.

Deuteron­o­my 17:19 – 20 

It shall remain with him and he shall read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God. 

*Deuteron­o­my 31:10 – 13 

You shall read this law before all Israel in their hear­ing … so that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God. 

*Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall med­i­tate on it day and night. 

*Ezra 7:10

Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordi­nances in Israel. 

*Psalm 1:1 – 6 

Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they med­i­tate day and night. 

Psalm 19:1 – 14 

The law of the LORD is per­fect, reviv­ing the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, mak­ing wise the simple.

*Psalm 101:2

I will study the way that is blame­less. When shall I attain it? 

Psalm 111:2

Great are the works of the LORD, stud­ied by all who delight in them. 

*Psalm 119:1 – 176 

I will med­i­tate on your pre­cepts, and fix my eyes on your ways. 

*Eccle­si­astes 12:9

Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the peo­ple knowl­edge, weigh­ing and study­ing and arrang­ing many proverbs. 

*Jere­mi­ah 51:50

Remem­ber the LORD in a dis­tant land, and let Jerusalem come into your mind. 

*Ezekiel 3:1 – 3 

Eat this scroll and go, speak to the house of Israel. 

*Matthew 23:1 – 39 

Do what­ev­er they teach you and fol­low it; but do not do as they do, for they do not prac­tice what they teach. 

*John 6:35 – 59 

I am the bread of life. 

*Romans 2:21

You then, that teach oth­ers, will you not teach yourself? 

*2 Corinthi­ans 3:18

All of us, … see­ing the glo­ry of the Lord, … are being trans­formed into the same image. 

2 Corinthi­ans 4:18

We look not at what can be seen but at what can­not be seen; for what can be seen is tem­po­rary, but what can­not be seen is eternal. 

Philip­pi­ans 4:8 – 9 

What­ev­er is true, what­ev­er is hon­or­able … if there is any excel­lence and if there is any­thing wor­thy of praise, think about these things. 

*1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 4:11

Aspire to live qui­et­ly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we direct­ed you. 

2 Tim­o­thy 2:15

Present your­self to God as one approved by him, a work­er who has no need to be ashamed, right­ly explain­ing the word of truth. 

*Hebrews 3:1 – 2 

Con­sid­er that Jesus, the apos­tle and high priest of our con­fes­sion, was faith­ful to the one who appoint­ed him. 

Hebrews 12:3

Con­sid­er him who endured such hos­til­i­ty against him­self from sin­ners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. 

*2 Peter 2:1

False prophets also arose among the peo­ple, just as there will be false teach­ers among you. 


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 pan xiaozhen on Unsplash.

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