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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  4,462 ratings  ·  140 reviews
It's not uncommon for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. To make it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet the "freedom" to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined practice. // In the same way, the freedom to grow in godliness---to naturally express Christ's character ...more
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Published March 1st 2008 by Hovel Audio (first published 1991)
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Philip Mcduffie
Christ centered. Biblically saturated. Powerfully convicting. Read this book!
Todd Wilhelm
“Then you read this book, which encourages you to practice all these Spiritual Disciplines. And it makes you feel like a tired, staggering juggler on a highwire, trying to keep a dozen eggs in the air with someone else wanting to throw you a half dozen more.” page 236

Exactly how I felt after reading this book! Much of what was written was basic Christianity 101 - read your bible. pray, etc. It never hurts to review though, and it helped challenge me to renew my efforts and not become slothful. I
Jan 08, 2011 Stacia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians who want to grow more in their spiritual life
Recommended to Stacia by: my church and husband
Shelves: biblical-study
5/08 This is a very good book. Donald Whitney is a good writer and really help brings to mind spiritual disciplines that one might not have thought of as is. However, I do think that this is a book that is better as a reference than a sit down and read it all. I think the best way to approach the book is read about a discipline and really put it into practice and make it a habit, and then read/learn about another discipline. If you try to do it all at once its overwhelming and not helpful.

challenge to do what we believe

This is a well-written, biblically backed book on discipline. But that doesn't mean it's dry and dusty! No! This is an exciting invitation to pursue the great adventure of truly becoming like our dearest Love: to walk as He walked, to read as He read, to live as He lived. This is done,not by our on power, or by our own merit. Rather, this is entirely based in the gracious work already accomplished on our behalf through the death paid by Jesus on the cross. No amoun
Donald Linnemeyer
This is another one I didn't find all that helpful on the whole. While it has a good amount of helpful, practical tips on things like bible-reading and prayer, in the end the book always left me feeling either bored or guilty, and I’m still sorting through why. There’s a different tone to it – something colder and less impactful than a writer like Foster or Merton – but I’ve had trouble figuring out if it’s a stylistic difference, or if there’s a more substantial difference in how Whitney frames ...more
"...exercise [or discipline] yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." ~1 Timothy 4:7-8

Donald Whitney draws from the teachings left us by the early church fathers, the Puritan writers, and Jesus Christ Himself, teaching these disciplines:
- Scripture Reading
- Scripture Meditation
- Scripture Application
- Prayer
- Worship
- Evangelism
- Serving
- Stewardship
- Fast
If you want to be a true follower of Christ and/or are looking for practical ways to follow His word in order to be a stronger more devout Christian than this is a must read. Not only does is clearly and easily go thru what the disciplines are but also gives practical applications on how to involve them in your life.
I started this book a couple of years ago and got sidetracked halfway through. When I picked it back up a few weeks ago, I wondered why it took me so long. This is a great little book to introduce a much overlooked topic in today's church culture. Whitney offers practical advice on how to get started.
I've been reading/studying this for over a year now. Meeting with another monthly and doing the study using the study guide. Very convicting
It surprised me that I enjoyed this book so much. The spiritual disciplines are basic, but there is great depth in the explanation for each discipline. I enjoyed the examples taken from journals from a variety of people. Some were well-known to me, others were not.

I would recommend taking it slow and reading one discipline a week if it seems overwhelming. If not, read it straight through. I found it interesting enough to read straight through, but I took notes as I read and shared what I read wi
Ian Wilson
This is a MUST read, re-read, and... re-read kind of book! ;)
Brett Mclaughlin
This is one of those rare school-assigned readings that turned out to be quite good, and yet one I would almost never picked up on my own. Honestly, I've heard more than my fair share of teaching and preaching on Bible study, prayer, meditation, Scripture memory, and the like. I would say, heartily, "Ok, I get it."

Of course, I don't, and nobody else does either. But Whitney is a good author who allows Scripture to speak as much if not more than he does.

And the surprise -- the real value to this
Adam Shields
I will write up a full review later. But this is one of the most useful, practical books on spiritual growth I have ever read. It is somewhat similar to Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, but I think a little more accessible and less intimidating. I am going to schedule some time to re-read it again in about six months. I will try to put into practice what I can now and plan on adding more later.

I have been reading through the "Ancient Practice Series" as well. And many of the same dis
Steve Hemmeke
I listened to this book, getting a free download from

Very much in line with Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, it is a review of individual piety in Bible reading, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. Whitney is careful to avoid obvious legalistic pitfalls, and gives good practical advice on each subject. But I found some of his subjects a stretch, especially getting Biblical support for journa
Aug 30, 2011 Zack rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zack by: Josh Boyer
Donald Whitney does a great job of tackling a difficult subject with biblical truth and practical insight in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. The topic of spiritual disciplines is not a popular one in most church circles today, and that is precisely why these churches are not impacting the world with the power of Christ. Spiritual disciplines are the God-ordained means of becoming more Christ-like. Whether it’s bible reading, prayer, journaling, or fasting, Godly people hav ...more
Dottie Parish
A small group I’m in studied this book over the course of a year. It’s an excellent book for this purpose or for individual study. The first chapter makes the point that spiritual disciplines are for the purpose of Godliness. In fact each discipline is for the purpose of Godliness.

Whitney includes two chapters on the discipline of Bible Intake and then chapters on Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling, Learning and Perseverance. Every chapt
Milton Quintanilla
So the book begins with a story about a boy who gets visited by an angel who shows the boy who he will be in the future as an excellent guitarist, which will come through practice. This leads Whitney to state that it's the same in the Christian life that we were predestined to be conformed to Christ, but that also comes with discipline.

The book it's centered on 1 Timothy 4:7 " discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness", and that discipline without direction is drudgery.

The book is spilt i
Read for my Discipleship class this semester. Excellent read for any Christian. Everything in Whitney's book centers around 1 Timothy 4:7, which says to, "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." He states that the purpose for the disciplines is to grow more in Christ-likeness, rather than accomplishing tasks or feeling good about oneself. He defines the disciplines and lists each one's benefits. He also makes helpful suggestions for practicing the disciplines. For example, he presents ...more
Mike E.
One of the most worn books in my library is "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life." It serves as a starting point and a returning point whenever I am evaluating my own pursuit of Christ. Its back cover says this:

It’s not uncommon for for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. To make it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet, the “freedom” to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined prac
This is a very valuable work on Christian discipline as a whole. It's convicting because I neglect every single one of the disciplines listed; however the value to me was the fact that Whitney dedicated a chapter for each one, so I am in the process of going chapter by chapter again and working on my deficiencies :) For me, the most valuable chapters were on meditation, journaling and solitude. Whitney extensively references Scripture, ensuring that this work is solidly based on the Bible, and h ...more
KC McCauley
Apr 14, 2009 KC McCauley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KC by: Christian Life Class
Shelves: christian-living
This book offers a great overview of the various disciplines of the Christian life. They are:

- Bible intake
- Prayer
- Worship
- Evangelism
- Serving
- Stewardship
- Fasting
- Silence and Solitude
- Journaling
- Learning

After reading this book, I now realize just how many disciplines there are in the faith and that I should be practicing all of them at the same time! Of course, an emphasis on some of them is more appropriate at certain times. I was convicted that I am not very disciplined in certain area
Many people, especially with a reformed bent think this is the best book on spiritual disciplines. Disagree. I also heard claims that it is the most gospel centered. Disagree. Just because it mentions jesus doesn't mean functionally it is gospel centered. Sometimes this book leans on basic fideism on obedience to "law" as a means of obtaining maturity. Though Foster might not mention the gospel in some reformed formula, functionally it is more gospel centered because of the clear admonitions to ...more
Brian Watson
Whitney describes the spiritual disciplines (Bible "intake," prayer, study, service, fasting, silence and solitude, stewardship, journaling, worship), all of which are designed to lead us to godliness. Solid theology, yet practical. I found the section on the stewardship of time very convicting. Easy to read, hard to live out.
Cody Brobst
Best book on any combination of the disciplines I've read. Almost grabbed Willard's book, and was glad I read this one, for he quotes Willard often. The practicalities behind them don't really exist, but explaining well what they are, and providing a good biblical defense for doing each is all over the place.
Pretty good. A few misuses of scripture here and there, but I would commend every discipline that he covers. Oddly enough, journaling was the discipline that I grew in the most from this book, which led to more Bible reading and more prayer. Overall, a book that I am thankful to have read.
I really like Whitney's approach to spiritual disciplines. He points out that God's Word leads us to a disciplined life -- methodical, reasonably goal-oriented -- but that discipline alone will not make us godly. It's easy for me to check all the boxes, to get everything done and say I've had a good week. But to actually use each activity to point my mind and heart God-ward is different. Lifeless method is no better than methodless spontaneity. Neither one is the best path to godliness. It's a b ...more
This is a book to be read and re-read at least once a year. The author defines and gives practical advice for practicing 10 important spiritual disciplines:

Bible study
Silence and Solitude
Lifelong learning

The goal for each discipline is the same: godliness. If you are already practicing one of them, the chapter on that discipline will get you thinking about pursuing the effort in a new, creative way. If you are not currently practicing one
If you're a bad reader, it would be easy come away from this book a stark raving legalist, but there are safeguards against that (especially in the last chapter). This book teaches that the way to living a good Christian life is in the disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, fasting, etc. Lots of good advice and some really great stories scattered throughout.

For instance there's a guy he talks about that was blinded in an accident. Most of his body didn't have sufficient nerve endings
Ryan Smith
Helpful and straightforward, nothing too new here. More of a conservative/Reformed perspective on the disciplines, a bit less "mystical" than Foster's take on the disciplines.
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  • Disciplines of a Godly Man
  • Hunger for God
  • Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
  • Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change
  • The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness
  • Holiness
  • What Is the Gospel?
  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
  • What Is a Healthy Church Member?
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World
  • Quest for Godliness
  • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
  • Lectures to My Students
  • The Godly Man's Picture
Since 2005, Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, for ten years. He
More about Donald S. Whitney...
10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health Simplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian?: What the Bible Says about Assurance of Salvation Family Worship: In the Bible, in History & in Your Home

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“The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.” 0 likes
“No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture. The reasons for this are obvious. In the Bible God tells us about Himself, and especially about Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. The Bible unfolds the Law of God to us and shows us how we’ve all broken it. There we learn how Christ died as a sinless, willing Substitute for breakers of God’s Law and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn the ways and will of the Lord. We find in Scripture how God wants us to live, and what brings the most joy and satisfaction in life. None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible. Therefore if we would know God and be godly, we must know the Word of God—intimately.” 0 likes
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