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.

Pho­to by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash.

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