Spiritual Disciplines

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Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
Liberty University

READING REPORT: SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES FOR THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BY DONALD S. WHITNEY

Submitted to Dr. B. R. Lowman
In Partial Completion of Course Requirements For
PLED 520 – Spiritual Formation

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION1
SUMMARY1
EVALUATION AND CRITIQUE7
PERSONAL APPLICATION8
CONCLUSION8
BIBLIOGRAPHY9
INTRODUCTION

Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life explores eleven different spiritual disciplines that should be active in the believers’ life. The spiritual disciplines bring about spiritual growth that flow from disciplines that are both private and corporate.[1] The ultimate goal of engaging in and practicing spiritual disciplines is to draw the individual closer to God. The eleven disciplines that Whitney outlines in this book are: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. In all of this practicing, the main objective is that one begins to practice the disciplines outlined in this book to promote their own spiritual growth. Even though the list that Whitney puts forth in this book is not a comprehensive list, simply incorporating the disciplines listed in this book will put one on the path to growth. SUMMARY

Whitney, in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, divides each of the thirteen chapters for the purpose of adequately covering each discipline per chapter with the exception of Bible intake, which is discussed in two chapters. Whitney concludes the book with his final chapter explaining why perseverance in the disciplines is necessary. The chapters contain basic definitions of the discipline, ways to practice them and the importance of doing so. Each chapter ends with a personal challenge to commit one to the practice of the discipline discussed. The first chapter gives an overview of why there is a need to do spiritual disciplines. Whitney makes the point that one day those who are followers of Christ will be granted Christ likeness but until then one needs to pursue after it.[2] Whitney describes that the spiritual disciplines can be like channels of God’s grace.[3] In other words that through their practice one will see transformation in their life because they practice them. Bible Intake

Chapters two and three are devoted to the wonderful discipline of Bible intake. Whitney articulates clearly for the reader that this discipline is more than just reading the Bible. This discipline above all others can never be substituted.[4] Bible intake can come from a variety of ways first there is the hearing of the word of God. Second is the reading of God’s word. Third there is the study of God’s word. This is more than simply reading or hearing but requires a more in depth look at the scriptures. The fourth area of Bible intake is memorization of scripture. Memorization of scripture stimulates the fifth area of meditation. The more scriptures one has memorized the easier it is to meditate upon the Word. Prayer

Whitney argues clearly and powerfully that the discipline of prayer is a discipline that is equal to or complimentary to Bible intake. Whitney shows that prayer is not important in the lives of the average Christian.[5] God makes it clear here that prayer is not an option in Colossians 4:2. The fact that Jesus often prayed (Luke 5:16) shows that our need to pray is even that much greater. One cannot hope to be like Jesus without praying.[6] One important aspect that is discussed in this chapter is that prayer is learned. Worship

Worship is the gathering together with other believers to show God how worthy he is to receive one’s adoration. Whitney points out that in order to truly worship God one must concentrate on God to do otherwise is not worship at all.[7] The main point that comes...
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