Is “Biblical Spirituality” biblical?

Putting the words “Spirituality” and Biblical together seems almost improper. But it shouldn’t. Here are some reasons to allow these words to re-enter your vocabulary. Firstly, lets recognize that these words seem out of place. But are they? The word spiritual is not often used in the context of Christianity. When the word is used, it often used to refer to “alternative spiritualities” or as Wikipedia puts it, “almost any kind of activity through which a person seeks meaning.” However, in the Bible, spirituality is a word used to describe something about reality generally and man specifically.

Just to get our bearings, lets start at the beginning. God is Spirit (1 John 4:24), and therefore, being created in His image (Gen 1:26), we too are spiritual creatures. If we are spiritual creatures, then all of us possess spirituality of one form or another.

Paul said that he spoke “God’s wisdom” which God revealed to him “through the Spirit.” Paul then spoke those things by “combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Cor 2:6-13). Paul also explains that since we have “the Spirit who is from God” we are able to “know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Cor 2:12). The Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer then, for Paul is the distinction between a spiritual and a non-spiritual being. He explains that “he who is spiritual” is the one who accepts the things God revealed to the apostles (1 Cor 2:14-15).[shareable cite=””]Our spirituality can be measured by our acceptance of what the scriptures say about reality and how we are to live.[/shareable]

That brings us to the second word: Biblical. According to Paul the spiritual is the one who accepts what God revealed through Christ and the Apostles (2 Peter 1:20-21, 3:15-16, Eph 2:20) and what they said has been written for us in the scriptures. Therefore, our spirituality can be measured by our acceptance of what the scriptures say about reality and how we are to live.

Now we are in a position to identify what we mean by biblical spirituality. Biblical Spirituality is a term that may be used to describe growing into and maintaining a spiritual vitality and life that is in accordance with what the scriptures say.

When understood in this way, we can have confidence that talking about biblical spirituality is both biblical and spiritual.

[reminder]Are you comfortable talking about biblical spirituality? [/reminder]

6 thoughts on “Is “Biblical Spirituality” biblical?”

  1. Thank you for laying this out so clearly and simply. I’ve found that in many mom groups that I have been a part of, where Christianity isn’t the common denomonator, women like to use the term “spiritual” to describe their pagan or atheistic beliefs. It has led me to reserve that word for anything outside Christianity. Yet another perfectly biblical word that the world has attempted to take for their own.

  2. Sorry Darryl , I don’t quite understand. The jump (third to last paragraph, sentence “Therefore…” is quite a leap.

    1. Hi Dale,

      When Paul says that he communicates spiritual things, he is talking about the things of God (i.e. God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments). So our acceptance of these things is then a test of biblical spirituality, and therefore our acceptance of these things (as recorded in the New Testament) is a measure of spirituality. Does that help?

      It is possible that there is a fundamental difference in our assumptions. If so, feel free to point it out.

  3. I’ve seen bible reference to mental health “disorders” being akin to ‘Spiritual Disorders”, what do the scriptures say? What are your thoughts?
    I’ve seen blogs, chats where people are encouraging others to dump their current medical health regime, ie counselling, serious medications and “find god”. Encouraged self medication or cessation could be dangerous to some.

    1. Good questions.

      Certainly, there are times when what is labelled a “mental health” issue can be traced to spiritual reasons. That doesn’t mean that such things are simple, and we shouldn’t take them simplistically. It also means that when it comes to medication, we need to be careful. You are right in that cessation of medication can be dangerous and should be worked through carefully with a physician.

      Issues need to be worked through carefully on a case by case basis, and it is unwise to simply drop medication. Often it is possible as the core issues are properly addressed to reduce the medication over time.

      If there is something specific I can help with, feel free to get in touch. 🙂

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