This week I’ll begin a series that explores the spiritual disciplines and an outline for thinking about them that I have found to be the most useful.
Here I describe some of the better books on the disciplines. There are books that stand out in their treatment of individual disciplines, such as fasting and prayer, which I’ll take up as the series progresses.
This list includes those that aim to set out a complete list of spiritual practice.
Richard J Foster, Celebration of Discipline. I cut my disciplines teeth on Foster, although I had earlier read Bridges’ Practice of Godliness (arranged by the fruit of the Spirit). Today Foster would not be my first choice, and the reader should be alert to the Quaker “inner light” influence coming through.
Donald S Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I have benefited much from Whitney’s treatment of the disciplines here. There are many other resources that accompany this volume, and a website in addition.
Donald S Whitney, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. This does not treat the spiritual disciplines per se, but is a good companion volume to Spiritual Disciplines.
Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace. This sat on my shelf for years before I finally picked it up and read it recently. It isn’t organized by the various disciplines, which might be why I put it aside for a time. But Bridges here provides a great resource for understanding spiritual growth through the disciplines, and the vital role that our understanding of grace plays in it.
R Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man. Other notable resources by Hughes include Disciplines of a Godly Family and Disciplines of a Godly Young Man. His wife, Barbara, wrote Disciplines of a Godly Woman. All are worth reading.
If you are beginning a study of the disciplines, or beginning again, I recommend Whitney’s two books — Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life and Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health — together with Bridges’ book — The Discipline of Grace.
What are your suggestions?
Check back here for my post series on the subject.