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Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,850 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Fifty-two Christian devotional classics paired with biblical readings for individual study and group use—from Renovare, a movement committed to nurturing spiritual renewal.
Paperback, 353 pages
Published June 11th 1993 by HarperOne (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  2,850 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christains, seekers, agnostics
Originally, I didn't want to read this book because I thought it was a bunch of dull writings by a bunch of dead white guys (I was in my mid 20's when I read it). While part of that is true (I think they're all dead), I enjoyed it until towards the end. The last few selections aren't quite as interesting to me for some reason.
Generally, this book is full of well selected spiritual writings. I encourage it to be read in a small group, but maybe that is because I like to talk!
As a Friend (Quaker),
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ridiculously challenging... contains writings by a huge selection of spiritual giants, over centuries of Christian experience. It provides an amazing perspective of Christianity from a wide variety of walks of faith - monastic to scholarly, etc. It's an awesome book for self study or group study. It has very practical, non-cliche, non-cheezy ways to make each truth a focus and practice in ones own life, and you have a whole week to soak in the truths of each chapter. Definitely the best devo boo ...more
Ed Belding
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
If you are looking for a devotional guide and you are not afraid to stray a little outside the boundaries of your own Christian tradition to be blessed by other brothers and sisters in Christ, then this is well worth reading.

This is arraigned like a "greatest hits" collection from many of the great Christian writers, theologians, mystics, and preachers throughout the centuries. They include pre-Nicene writers such as Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom; Perhaps more familiar names from antiqui
James Miller
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
It got better as it went along. Some discernment required (if it's necessary to say that about a book?). But also a number of good inspirations in here. I like the variety of authors over a period of time and the perspective that brings to this anthology. ...more
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was such a wonderful read.
A solid selection of writing from diverse 'friends of the past'. I was convicted, deeply encouraged, and walked away with many more friends from history than I began with.

Highly recommended if you don't know where to begin with Christian classics, or are wanting an extremely pleasurable survey of Church history.
Neil R. Coulter

How to summarize a book that I've spent nearly two years with, looking at one reading each week? I can't imagine how much this collection of readings has shaped my life in the months that I've been reading through it. Especially as I've been through the ups and downs of administrative work, these readings have encouraged me and kept my thoughts and attitudes properly aligned. I've previously enjoyed other books by Richard J. Foster (Celebration Of Discipline, Freedom of Simplicity), and I contin

Russell Hayes
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
At last I am finished with this book. This is an excellent compilation of portions of (mostly) classic Christian works throughout the ages, in devotional format. The authors range from Athanasius to Augustine to Bernard of Clairvaux to C.S. Lewis. The readings are not designed to be read hastily, but in a contemplative and thoughtful manner. The book is designed for one reading per week for a year, or 52 total. The selections include discussion questions and exercises for the week designed to pu ...more
Ray Schneider
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far this is a very interesting book which I would recommend for any book club. It is designed for a personal devotional reading program with 52 readings, with related scriptures, reflection questions and author assessment/reflection after each reading. The readings are drawn from a great variety of Catholic and Protestant writers mostly well known to everyone. The book has an ecumenical intent and might be particularly well suited for mixed denominational reading groups.

Now some months later
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite devotional books. It's all-star cast of "Greats" keeps me coming back year after year. This book is a wonderful introduction to renown Christian writers like C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Thomas a Kempis, among others. It highlights selections from their greater works and moves through seven "streams" or traditions within Christianity: Preparing for the Spiritual Life, The Prayer-Filled Life (The C ...more
Alumine Andrew
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourite
This book explores many Christian writers, spanning history to contemporary. Each chapter gives us an excerpt and some thought provoking comments by Foster as well as exercises we can do between studies. It has made us think and rethink, discuss and disagree and overall grown in our spiritual journey.

I enjoy reading this book every few years to regain perspective and be challenged in what can sometimes be an apathetic attitude to my faith. There is a good bibliography following each person so i
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, it only took me 14 years since I first purchased this book to read it - this year I cracked into it - working my way through the 52 readings over the course of a few months.

I encountered some old friends: C.S. Lewis, St Augustine, Brother Lawrence, Henri Nouwen, Kierkegaard, Pascal, Thomas a Kempis, Mdm Guyon etc. But I've also marked a few others I was taken by: Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626), George A Buttrick (1892-1980), John Baillie (1886-1960), Thomas Kelly (1893-1941), Hannah Whitall
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource for a year-long read. Gives good exposure to many great Christian heroes.
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
A significant--and perhaps "the"--strength of this anthology is its structure. Each new reading (in my 1993 edition) includes a mini-bio of the devotional writer, the devotional text itself, a relevant passage of Scripture, reflection questions, suggested spiritual exercises, a reflection on the text from Richard Foster, and an annotated list of related writings for people who want to further explore the devotional writer's life and thoughts.

What sets this text apart from similar devotional ant
This book has been perhaps the most influential book, aside from the Scriptures, that I have ever read. The selections opened my eyes to so many of the great thinkers and mystic believers of the Christian faith--most of whom I had never heard of before.

I read this book as my Lenten devotion first in 2003 when I was first exploring the idea of the catholic (small "c" catholic, as in universal) church, and again for Lent 2007.

In this large paperback, now completely dog-eared and with copious unde
Reading this collection has been one of the most formative devotional activities of my life so far. Over the course of the last 3 years, I've slowly meditated on these readings to great personal benefit. Some things I really love about this book:
1) The breadth and depth of authors I was introduced to from across the spectrum and history of Christianity--some still living. The biographical intros for each reading combined with the recommended reading sections at the end are a treasure trove!
2) Th
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Good way to get a taste of some of the “greats” and see which ones you might like more of. Ranges from pieces written around 300 AD to people still alive now. (Well, I guess Dallas Willard died a few years ago, so maybe they’re all dead now.) And a reasonably good number of women and non-white men (Evelyn Underhill, Catherine of Siena, St. Augustine, Watchman Nee, for examples), particularly considering that this was published in 1990. Definitely did not enjoy all of them, but there were also so ...more
Liz Wetzel
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-completed
Not sure how to rate this, as the end left more to be desired. But at some points in the beginning and middle of my reading, I was beyond challenged and will be going back to reread sections.

We read through this book with two other couples, all of us attending different churches. It was a wonderful book, across a wide variety of denominations, to pull us together. We all were challenged, each by different parts, and got to talk through what we agreed upon, and didn’t. Overall, it was a wonderful
Rev Ricky
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book in a whim. Well maybe more out of desperation. I needed a deep drink of water this summer, and Richard Foster nourished my soul.

This isn’t one book, it is excerpts from 50 of the greatest books of Christian history. You get to learn from Julian of Norwich, CS Lewis, Chrysostom, Annie Dillard and seemingly everyone in between. If you are like me and know you will never read all the books you should, pick this o e up. You definitely will not be disappointed.
Kyle Johnson
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books-read
This is the best devotional resource I have encountered, period. 52 primary source selections from Christian women and men over the span of nineteen centuries and from many streams of the Church. To get too wrapped up in our own present-day reflections on Christianity is to neglect the ancient composite of wisdom from an Athanasius to a Teresa of Avila and many more between and beyond.
Thomas James
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful devotional from many traditions. Well rounded and life changing.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
What a surprise this study was! Views of the Bible, Jesus and Christianity going back as far as 1400's. Amazing. ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A nice sampling from a broad spectrum of Christian writers from throughout the history of the church. The book leads one to desire to dig deeper into some of the contributor's works. ...more
Barbie N
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great devotional! I took it slow,as it has taken a year to complete. There is much underlining in my copy, and i will be going back to re-read portions again and again.
Richard Jacobsen
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great primer on devotional writers from different centuries. Good insights, plus information on how to find further information and sources if you enjoyed a particular author.
Barbara Lynn Seibel
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Challenging and encouraging collection across centuries of faith writings. Great book to use with a discussion group.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was an excellent introduction to the classic writings of Christians from many different times, places, and traditions--writings dear to my heart (Tozer, Bonhoeffer, Thomas R. Kelly, C.S. Lewis) and also many to which I had not been exposed before (St. Francis de Sales, Thomas a' Kempis, Fenelon, Merton, etc.) . Reading and comparing the experiences of other Christians from other traditions was a breath of fresh air to me.

The readings were long enough to catch the writer's rh
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Devotional Classics contains 52 readings from a large variety, (temporally, theologically, etc.) of authors/pastors/thinkers organized within different traditions (I.e. Contemplative, Holiness, Evangelical, Charismatic, etc.)

Designed to be used with a discussion group, note that discussion questions are included, I read it much more quickly and independently. It works well as a devotional reading guide and you'll come away with an extensive "to read" list. I see how this material would work very
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great overview of writings about the Christian faith from authors over the centuries (from early church fathers all the way up to current writers). I really loved the variety of viewpoints that you get from writers coming from all different denominations, vocations, and time periods. From St. Augustine, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Martin Luther, Madame Guyon, C.S.Lewis...the list goes on.

The book is set up as 52 different readings, so that you can use it in a small group or individuall
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This amazing resource serendipitously showed up in a book giveaway in my college writing center several years ago. It has 52 wonderful, classic excerpts from spiritual giants such as C.S. Lewis, Charles Sturgeon, Watchman Nee, and other masters of of the faith. I was inspired to go deeper into my faith by taking in these "nutritious" truths every night before bed. I fell asleep in peace after meditating on God's Word and principles, but also experiencing His presence. Richard Foster and I don't ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Foster and Smith collect devotional classics and organize them around the topic of preparing for spiritual life and then six traditions from which we all can learn and grow: the prayer-filled life the contemplative tradition); the virtuous life (the holiness tradition); the spirit-empowered life (the charismatic tradition); the compassionate life (the social justice tradition); the word-centered life (the evangelical tradition); and the sacramental life (the incarnational tradition). I found mys ...more
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Richard J. Foster is the author of several bestselling books, including Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and Prayer, which was Christianity Today's Book of the Year and the winner of the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He is the founder of Renovaré, an intrachurch movement committed to the renewal of the Church in all her multifaceted ...more

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