Practical Spiritual Disciplines: What are Spiritual Disciplines?

May 6, 2018 · 397 words · 2 minute read Practical Spiritual Disciplines   Spiritual Disciplines  

This post answers the questions: what is a "spiritual discipline" what spiritual disciplines are presented in the Bible?

This is part of a series called Practical Spiritual Disciplines which is designed to show you what tools and activities God has given us to grow and how we can practices these disciplines in our daily lives.

“We are far too easily pleased.”

~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


A spiritual discipline is an activity, which ought to be a habit, that the Bible prescribes for Christians to help them grow spiritually. The idea that there are activities which believers ought to be doing to help them grow is not a modern idea. It is found in scripture in numerous locations.

Biblical Basis for Spiritual Disciplines

The idea of spiritual disciplines comes from the Bible. In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul exhorts his readers to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is at work in your both to will and to work for His Good pleasure”. Far from a call to passively acknowledge the truths expressed earlier in chapter 2, Paul is calling his flock to “work out” their salvation in light of the theological truths he just discussed. Whatever Paul has in mind here, “work out” sounds like something intentional and habitual. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, Paul encourages his flock to get in the habit of doing certain things (and not doing others). “rejoice always”, pray without ceasing", and “in everything give thanks” (emphases added). In Paul’s mind, there are habits that ought to characterize followers of Jesus Christ which should flow from our new spiritual life in Christ (see John 3:3) and should help us grow spiritually.


Even if you have never heard the phrase “spiritual disciplines” before, you are certainly familiar with some examples. Some of the spiritual disciplines we’ll be discussing in this series are:

  • Bible reading/study (see Hebrews 5:11-14, 1 Timothy 3:2, 3:9, and 2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Prayer and Fasting (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:12, 1 Peter 3:7, Matthew 6:9-13, Acts 13:2-3, 1 Peter 4:7, and Daniel 9:3-4)
  • Serving the Church (1 Peter 4:7-11 and Ephesians 4)
  • Tithing (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19 and 2 Corinthians 9:7)

There are other spiritual disciplines given in scripture, but these are the main ones we’ll be focusing on. Again, we will be answering questions like “How do I develop this habit?” and “How do I practice this discipline in my life?”. It’s going to be good!