Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  3,678 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines including: Scripture reading prayer worship Scripture meditation evangelism serving stewardship of time and money Scripture application fasting silence and solitude journaling learning By illustrating why the disciplines are important, s...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 6th 2009 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published 1991)
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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...more
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.

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
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...more
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...more
Steve Hemmeke
I listened to this book, getting a free download from www.christianaudio.com

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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
This book was recommended by a pastor at my church when the small group I attend wanted to learn more about spiritual disciplines. Whitney covers twelve of them in this book: Scripture Readings, Prayer, Worship, Scripture Meditation, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Scripture Application, Fasting, Silence & Solitude, Journaling, and Learning. Practicing these, says Whitney, will help a person grow in godliness.

I learned a lot from studying this book. It is especially good for a group study....more
peter sterczela
Excellent read; you will be inspired.

Excellent read; you will be inspired.

All my questions have been answered. I have a much clearer picture of what the disciplines are, my responsibilities and the blessings it can produce in my life as I grow in godliness.
This is a book I keep coming back to. Very practical and an easy read. I am a "What about Bob" type person. I take baby steps in life especially in my Christian walk. For those perfectionest out there you won't like this book. You'll want to be able to say you do all that this book says. You'll never get there. My advice, take a section that you are weak in and really start the process of gaining that discipline. Sanctification is a lifelong process, this book really helps you see how to "work o...more
Warren Moore
I need to post my paper on this book. Great read.
This book was challenging to get through because it required tremendous, sometimes uncomfortable, thought. However, I firmly believe in a disciplined life, and thus enjoyed reading about some of the Christian principles to guide it. I plan on going back through certain aspects of the book this summer as I begin to put some of the disciplines into practice. I plan on working on fasting (ugh), journaling, and solitude. The last two shouldn't be a problem, but I know fasting will be difficult for m...more
Brent McCulley
Decent primer on spiritual disciplines.
Ian Hammond
This was very simple and direct. The thesis was that Spiritual Disciplines are the highways in which we encounter God, and that we make these encounters "for the purpose of Godliness." Spiritual Disciplines are not in themselves godliness but the means in which godliness is pursued.

My only critique is that it focuses too much on the "what" and not enough on the "how." I'd like to see a better treatment of Spiritual Disciplines being grounded in grace. Don Whitney was, however, very gracious in...more
C Hughes
A must read for every Christian! Encouraging, challenging and biblical through and through. This is a short, simple, easy book to read. But, to simply read this book and not be changed is absurd. The thoughtful reader must take time to reflect and pray over each chapter as they evaluate their own life and discipline.
One might assume this is just another book that encourages check list Christianity, but as you read Whitney you will come to understand the spiritual disciplines are much more valua...more
Useful descriptions and thought provoking encouragement for spiritual formation. This also was a "discovery" book, not specifically recommended to me by any clergy but discovered on my own, and later often referred to as a primer on Christian spiritual disciplines as I began mentoring other Christians in my ministries with Habitat for Humanity, and as Director of Community ministries at Church of the Valley.

I continue to go to this volume from time to time to refer others to specific spiritual...more
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  • Hunger for God
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  • A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
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  • Disciplines of a Godly Man
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  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • The Bruised Reed
  • Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives)
  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
  • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
  • The Reformed Pastor
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
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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
More about Donald S. Whitney...
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