Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind and Scripture

October 26, 2010
Scripture and Ministry Lecture - Trinity Evangelical Divinity Seminary

The Apostle Paul tells us to “not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). But how are we to go about renewing our mind? Dallas Willard explains how our minds are renewed through Scripture, and the role of the pastor and the congregation in this process.

In this lecture, given as part of the 2010 Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding  "Scripture and Ministry" lecture series, Dallas teaches for 1 hour and then gives personal and practical examples of how this works in our lives during a 30-minute Q&A. (Topics range from avoiding jetlag to avoiding porn!)

This was a very important topic to Dallas. There's much more teaching about Christian Spiritual Formation, how we renew our minds, and more extensive answers to the Q&A topics in his book Renewing the Christian Mind.


Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind and Scripture

Dallas explores renewing the mind through Scripture. He shares insight into the critical role of the mind in shaping our spiritual life, emphasizing the necessity of scriptural memorization and disciplined practices to align our thoughts and actions with God's will. He challenges the modern church's approach to discipleship and spiritual growth, advocating for a return to authentic discipleship as the foundation for overcoming the church's struggles and achieving true conformity to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. This talk is a compelling call to deepen our engagement with the Word of God, transforming our internal and communal lives to reflect the kingdom of God more fully.

Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind and Scripture


  • Transforming Power of Scripture: Dallas emphasizes the crucial role of Scripture in spiritual transformation. He discusses how Scripture not only provides a moral compass but also actively shapes our understanding of reality, aiding us in aligning our lives with God's will.
  • Role of the Mind in Spiritual Transformation: Dallas speaks about the importance of the mind in the process of spiritual transformation. He asserts that renewing the mind through biblical truth is essential to break free from worldly patterns and conform to the realities of God’s kingdom.
  • Impact of Spiritual Disciplines: Dallas discusses various spiritual disciplines, emphasizing their importance in the life of a believer. He particularly focuses on the discipline of memorization, explaining how it aids in the internalization of Scripture, thereby transforming the believer's mind and actions.
  • Church's Role in Spiritual Growth: Dallas addresses the church’s essential role in nurturing spiritual growth among its members. He challenges churches to integrate scriptural teaching effectively to facilitate true spiritual transformation within the community.
  • Discipleship as the Norm: Dallas laments the lack of emphasis on discipleship within the modern church, arguing that becoming true disciples of Jesus is the remedy for the church's perceived failures. He calls for a resolute return to discipleship as the norm for Christian living.
  • Spiritual Formation vs. Spiritual Transformation: Dallas distinguishes between spiritual formation, which everyone undergoes in some form, and spiritual transformation, which aligns one's life with the teachings and character of Jesus Christ. He stresses the importance of intentional transformation in the life of a believer.
  • Love and Desire: Dallas discusses the differences between love and desire, highlighting that while desire focuses on personal wants, love is about seeking what is good and aligning with God’s will. He explains how true love should govern our decisions and interactions.
  • Process of Renewal: Dallas outlines the process of spiritual renewal, explaining how it involves not only an individual's internal change but also their active engagement with the community and the world. He stresses that renewal is both a personal and a collective journey.
  • Navigating Failures and Setbacks: Dallas talks about how Christians often handle spiritual failures and setbacks through continuous rededication, which may not lead to real change. He suggests a more transformative approach involving a deeper engagement with Scripture and spiritual practices. That is, rather than using a “try, try again” approach switch to a “try, fail, figure out what went wrong, adjust, and then try again” approach.