Whitney, Donald S. Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2001.
How does one know if he or she is healthy? Growth is the most visible sign of health. Where there is health there is usually growth. If no growth exists then it is probable that either malnutrition or disease is present. This is why it is prudent for an individual to have regular check-ups and health screenings.
As true as this is for an individual physically, it is even more important spiritually. This is the premise of Donald Whitney’s book Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. He assumes that spiritual life has been given by God to his readers. The book is written to help individuals to diagnose their spiritual health.
As the title suggests, each chapter is dedicated to one of the ten questions. The ten questions focus on two areas – one’s relationship to God and one’s relationship to people. Each question begins with introspection and is observed in outward expression.
The book is an easy read. The author avoids large, difficult, theological words. Although, he does not avoid theological or doctrinal subjects. After all, the book is written based on the assumption that a person has been justified and possess spiritual life.
Each question is rooted in both the Scriptures and historical figures in Christianity. Each chapter has an epigraph from individuals like Jonathon Edwards and Martin Luther. This helps the reader to connect the idea from scripture throughout church history. Whitney then brings the biblical idea into the present as he addresses the importance of each question.
Each question is thought-provoking. They are not intended to be answered quickly. The questions are a test to help the reader formulate an accurate picture of spiritual health. Therefore, they are intended to be answered openly and honestly.
The real strength of this book is the application section included at the end of each section. The reader will not finish a chapter asking, “What do I do with this?” There are multiple suggestions given by the author to aid the reader in the application.
This is a great tool for an individual to use. The individual could use the book in conjunction with journaling. A chapter could be read and the question carefully considered during the exercise of journaling. There is flexibility in that a reader could read and journal one question each day for ten days. Or, the reader may choose to read a chapter at the beginning of the week and use the rest of the week to think through the answer. The value of journaling is that it would give the reader a historical record to trace their own spiritual growth or decline.
In the same manner, a church could use this book for a ten-week study. Participants could purchase their own copy and read through the assigned chapter for the week. Then the group would discuss the chapter during the weekly meeting. This could be in the form of larger class or in a small group setting.
This book is a gift of God to the Body of Christ through the pen of Donald Whitney. It is highly recommended. It should be used often, much like an annual physical examination, for an individual to diagnose his own spiritual health. As important as physical health is, spiritual health has eternal implications. One should not neglect his own spiritual health. This is a tool to help!
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