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Donald S. Whitney

Författare till Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

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Om författaren

Donald S. Whitney has been Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, since 2005. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological visa mer Seminary in Kansas City, MO, for ten years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. visa färre

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First sentence (from the introduction): The world is more complex than ever, and it becomes more so by the nanosecond. As a result, almost everyone eventually feels the need to simplify. For many people, simplifying means nothing more than "doing less." But simplifying is not so much about doing fewer things as it is about doing the right things.

First sentence from chapter one: Does your spiritual life sometimes seem more like a burden than a blessing? Does your spirituality seem to exhaust you as often as it refreshes you? Have your spiritual practices become "just another thing to do" in an already overcrowded, stress-filled schedule? If so, then you need to simplify your spiritual life.

To be completely honest, I'm conflicted about this one.

On the one hand, I do think the title isn't well-matched with the contents. This book isn't going to exactly "simplify" your spiritual life. If anything, I think the book would complicate your spiritual life. In other words, instead of "doing" two to three things as spiritual discipline--which I would say is a LOT for most people if we're being completely honest--it would be like here do these ten things to "simplify" your spiritual life. Are ALL the things beneficial to the spiritual life? Probably. Maybe. Mostly. Are all the things necessary to the spiritual life? Maybe. Maybe not. Truly grace and mercy covers all. One can't embrace the idea of "God doesn't love you more if you read your Bible AND God doesn't love you less if you don't read your Bible" and then stack up dozens of musts that are necessary to "being a Christian."

The book reminds me of a FEW iconic I Love Lucy moments. One episode that this book brings to mind is the episode where Lucy (and Ethel) are working in the chocolate [candy] factory. The second episode this book brings to mind is the episode where Lucy (who wants to be in Ricky's show, of course) is "refreshing" her ballet skills so she can audition as a professional ballerina.

Simplify this one does not. It just doesn't. It is authoritatively and practically giving you a dozen things to keep in mind if you want to grow spiritually. But it also feels like you've been thrown overboard in stormy seas with no life preserver.

One must always always always keep in mind that there are no short cuts in the spiritual life. If one picks up this book expecting to find short cuts, this is NOT that book.

On the other hand, this one offers SHORT, super-practical chapters that are organized by topic. Probably a good third if not a good half are super-obvious as well. Like read your Bible. Read your Bible with a plan. Create a Bible-reading routine--a time, a place. Or don't watch television at all. Avoid the internet if you can help it. [Neither one of those would be easy advice to follow. Well-intentioned or not.] When it comes to prayer, pray without filler, pray through your plans for the day at the start of the day, pray Scripture, pray when walking, etc. Take your sin seriously. Don't be comfortable with sins--big or small. No sin is harmless to the soul. SING OFTEN. Be prepared to evangelize.

There is genuinely good advice. Whitney is a big advocate of both PRAYING the psalms and SINGING the psalms. He also argues that you should be MEDITATING in addition to reading Scripture. Reading is the "exposure" to Scripture and meditating is the "absorption" of Scripture. He does give two different sets of questions to aid in meditation.

Here is his "Philippians 4:8" questions:
What is true about this, or what truth does it exemplify?
What is honorable about this?
What is right about this?
What is pure about this, or how does it exemplify pruity?
What is lovely about this?
What is admirable, commendable, or reputation-strengthening about this?
What is excellent about this (in other words, excels others of this kind)?
What is praiseworthy about this?

And the "Joseph Hall" questions:

What is it (define and/or describe what it is) you are meditating upon?
What are its divisions or parts?
What causes it?
What does it cause, that is, what are its fruits and effects?
What is its place, location, or use?
What are its qualities and attachments?
What is contrary to, contradictory of, or different from it?
What compares to it?
What are its titles or names?
What are the testimonies or examples of Scripture about it?

Honestly, I'm not sure how helpful/beneficial these questions are. The first seems like you are asking the same question eight times. The second seems like you'd need a doctoral degree and two decades of pastoral experience to make head or tails of it.

He's not done yet, it's not enough to read and meditate on Scripture. One must read, meditate, and STUDY.

He covers these basic categories a) personal Bible reading b) personal prayer c) family worship d) corporate worship e) journaling f) in-depth study (file folders and file cabinets are mentioned).

His advice in journaling includes asking yourself these questions before you start:

Have I been fervent in prayer?
Have I after or before every deliberate conversation or action, considered how it might tend to God's glory?
Have I after any pleasure, immediately given thanks?
Have I planned business for the day?
Have I been simple and recollected in everything?
Have I been meek, cheerful, affable in everything I said or did?
Have I been proud, vain, unchaste, or enviable of others?
Have recollected in eating and drinking? Thankful? Temperate in sleep?
Have I thought or spoken unkindly of anyone?
Have I confessed all sins?

A few of those sound potentially beneficial. Others are more puzzling. The list comes from George Whitefield who lived in the eighteenth century which might explain why some of the questions are so confusing.

He has a list of thirty-one journal prompts. [Not enough to tempt me to try journaling]

But here is his second list of TEN questions to help journal-writing:
1. What was the most important thing that happened today?
2. What did I learn today?
3. Where did I see God at work today?
4. What was the most significant thing that someone said to me today?
5. When was I most aware of the Lord today?
6. What was the most helpful thing I read today?
7. What should I have done differently today?
8. How can I simplify my life tomorrow?
9. What could I do to glorify God the most tomorrow?
10. What difference can I make in someone's life tomorrow?

The good news is that he does count nap-taking as a spiritual discipline or spiritual activity.
… (mer)
blbooks | 1 annan recension | Feb 2, 2024 |
An excellent overview of the essential Christian disciplines. The way Whitney describes and explains each discipline using analogies, personal stories, and biblical examples is incredibly helpful. One of the best things about the book is it’s accessibility. Whether you are just beginning to study and apply the disciplines or you’ve been doing so for years, Whitney provides helpful tips, encouragement, and exhortation that will inspire you to continue on the path of the disciplined Christian life.… (mer)
D.T.Adams | 13 andra recensioner | Aug 30, 2023 |
Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life by Donald Whitney is a must read book for every believer.

Spiritual disciplines are practices every follower of Christ should seek to make a part of their lives, from the disciplines we are used to hearing about such as Bible intake, prayer, serving, and evangelism, to other disciplines such as journaling and fasting.

I was so glad Whitney included journaling as a spiritual discipline, which is so often forgotten but so transformative in our Christian walk.

I especially appreciate how he speaks of the spiritual disciplines as being like “channels of God’s transforming grace” in describing how God’s grace comes to help and change us. Likewise, the book also reminds us about how to best view the spiritual disciplines: not as “drudgery” but “with the goal of Godliness in mind.”

I highly recommend this book.
… (mer)
aebooksandwords | 13 andra recensioner | Jul 29, 2023 |
This book is a very effective method for prayer. I highly recommend it!
Leann | 8 andra recensioner | Jun 27, 2023 |


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