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, study, sub­mis­sion (list­ed below), 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
SUB­MIS­SION: Sub­or­di­na­tion to the guid­ance of God; with­in the Chris­t­ian fel­low­ship, a con­stant mutu­al sub­or­di­na­tion out of rev­er­ence for Christ, which opens the way for par­tic­u­lar sub­or­di­na­tion to those who are qual­i­fied to direct our efforts toward Christ­like­ness and who then add the weight of their wise author­i­ty on the side of our will­ing spir­it to help us do the things we would like to do and refrain from doing the things we don’t want to do.

Gen­e­sis 13:8 – 18*

Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled.

Gen­e­sis 15:9 – 14 

Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram…” He brought him all these. 

Gen­e­sis 16:9

Return to your mis­tress, and sub­mit to her. 

2 Kings 18:31 – 32*

Do not lis­ten to Hezeki­ah… Make your peace with me and come out to me.”

Esther 1:12*

Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command. 

Psalm 81:11

My peo­ple did not lis­ten to my voice; Israel would not sub­mit to me. 

Proverbs 1:8 – 9

Hear, my child, your father’s instruction. 

Proverbs 6:20 – 21

My child, keep your father’s com­mand­ment, and do not for­sake your mother’s teaching. 

Eccle­si­astes 8:8

No one has pow­er over the wind to restrain the wind, or pow­er over the day of death. 

Isa 28:15 – 18

I am lay­ing in Zion a… sure foun­da­tion: One who trusts will not panic.”

Matthew 6:10

Your king­dom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

Matthew 26:39

My Father, if it is pos­si­ble, let this cup pass from me: yet not what I want but what you want. 

Luke 1:38*

Here am I, the ser­vant of the Lord; let it be with me accord­ing to your word. 

Luke 1:46 – 56 

My soul mag­ni­fies the Lord, and my spir­it rejoic­es in God my Sav­ior, for he has looked with favor on the low­li­ness of his servant. 

Romans 8:7

The mind that is set on the flesh is hos­tile to God; it does not sub­mit to God’s law. 

Gala­tians 2:5*

We did not sub­mit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you.

Eph­esians 5:21 – 6:9

Be sub­ject to one anoth­er out of rev­er­ence for Christ. 

Colos­sians 3:18 – 24 

Wives, be sub­ject to your hus­bands… Hus­bands, love your wives… Chil­dren obey your parents. 

1 Tim­o­thy 3:4*

He must man­age his own house­hold well, keep­ing his chil­dren sub­mis­sive and respect­ful in every way. 

Titus 2:9

Tell slaves to be sub­mis­sive to their mas­ters and to give sat­is­fac­tion in every respect. 

Hebrews 5:7

Jesus offered up prayers and sup­pli­ca­tions… and he was heard because of his rev­er­ent submission. 

Hebrews 13:17

Obey your lead­ers and sub­mit to them, for they are keep­ing watch over your souls and will give an account. 

James 4:7*

Sub­mit your­selves there­fore to God. Resist the dev­il, and he will flee from 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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