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, 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.

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