Soul Keeping

Available in hardcover and paperback (, Barnes & Noble,, eBook (Kindle, Nook, CBDReader), audio (CD, Audible, MP3 CD), and as a small group curriculum.

When is the last time you thought about the state of your soul?

The health of your soul isn’t just a matter of saved or unsaved. It’s the hinge on which the rest of your life hangs. It’s the difference between deep, satisfied spirituality and a restless, dispassionate faith.

John Ortberg said, “The smartest man I have ever known is a man named Dallas Willard. And as impressive as his mind was, his soul was even better.”

In Soul Keeping, John invites us to join him on a journey to explore the soul, to learn how to treasure it, and learn how to allow God to heal it and care for it. “This is really a journey I was led on long ago by Dallas,” John says. “And I’d like you to come along with me, and kind of come along with our old friend Dallas, to learn about God’s greatest gift to us: the gift of the soul.”

In an age of materialism and consumerism that tries to buy its way to happiness, many souls are starved and unhealthy, unsatisfied by false promises of status and wealth. We’ve neglected this eternal part of ourselves, focusing instead on the temporal concerns of the world—and not without consequence. Take time to discover your soul—the most important connection to God there is—and find your way out of the spiritual shallow-lands to true divine depth.


What is the soul? Author and pastor Ortberg (_When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box_) is the student to teacher Dallas Willard, the late philosophy professor, writer, and intellectual, regarding the answer to this age-old question. “You’re a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God,” Willard tells him, “which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.” Ortberg shares wisdom about the soul he learned from Willard, who died last year, throughout the book. He absorbs Willard’s calm wisdom and explores the soul by the various things it needs: a keeper, a center, a future, life with God, rest, freedom, blessing, satisfaction, and gratitude. Ending with a section called “The Soul Restored,” he explores the darkest part of the soul by explaining that “the soul is the place of greatest pain.” As he reflects upon the life and passing of his friend and teacher, he ends with a cathartic realization of what a redeemed soul can be: “To share without thinking. To see without judging. To love God.” This reflective study offers readers ways to nurture their souls—because that’s ultimately the only thing that matters.

(Zondervan Publishing Company (April 1, 2014) 208 pp, Paperpack. ISBN: 0310275970. ISBN-13: 978-0310275978.


Foreword by Dr. Henry Cloud
Prologue: The Keeper of the Stream
Introduction: Holy Ground

I. What the Soul Is

  1. The Soul Nobody Knows
  2. What Is the Soul?
  3. A Soul-Challenged World
  4. Lost Souls
  5. Sin and the Soul

II. What the Soul Needs

  1. It’s the Nature of the Soul to Need
  2. The Soul Needs a Keeper
  3. The Soul Needs a Center
  4. The Soul Needs a Future
  5. The Soul Needs to Be with God
  6. The Soul Needs Rest
  7. The Soul Needs Freedom
  8. The Soul Needs Blessing
  9. The Soul Needs Satisfaction
  10. The Soul Needs Gratitude

III. The Soul Restored

  1. Dark Night of the Soul
  2. Morning
Epilogue is co-sponsored by the family of Dallas Willard, Dallas Willard Ministries, and FiveStone.