On Books, Old and New

On Donald S. Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

WhitneyDonald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Revised & Expanded. Carol Stream, IL: NavPress, 2014.

For more than twenty years, Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life has been a blessing to the church of Jesus Christ, and now, in its newly revised and expanded format, it blesses all the more. My wife and I first read Whitney’s book together while dating in the late 1990s, and we’ve frequently returned to it since.

In fact, I’ve taught through Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life countless times in local church and discipleship settings, and used it as a seminary-class textbook for years. Whitney’s book has become standard issue in evangelical seminaries, serving as a key resource for spiritual formation and seminary discipleship classes.

Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness,” serves as Whitney’s biblical and thematic foundation. Upon that foundation he lays Bible intake as the central Christian discipline, demonstrating how Holy Scripture informs and facilitates the other spiritual disciplines, which Whitney defines as “habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times”(p. 4).

Whitney is a steady guide who cuts through the milieu of mystical excess and refutes the “Opraphication” of much of contemporary “spirituality.” He is relentlessly biblical, repeatedly driving the reader back to God’s Word. Moreover, he puts the spiritual disciplines in historical perspective, borrowing from the great divines of the Christian faith.

What is more, I’ve known Don Whitney as a close friend for many years. He practices his book. In fact, all who know Whitney know him to be a living demonstration of the transformative power of the spiritual disciplines faithfully practiced.

If I could force every new Christian to read one book, in addition to the Bible, it would be this book. I’m grateful to God for Don Whitney and his newly revised Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Read it and you’ll be grateful too.

topicsBook ReviewsSpiritual Disciplines

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