The Art of War

APPLICATION WRITTEN BY

This is an age-old, short text that speaks of the strategies of warfare from an outstanding Chinese General, Sun Tzu. Long applied to secular business and leadership, it is also astounding when applied to spiritual warfare and conquering the world for good. This is a difficult read which is best read in Discipleship Three or beyond. It requires the skill of indirectly connecting Biblical truths.

Key Topics or Truths

This book is a manual for conducting war. But Sun Tzu’s tactics are applicable to:

  • Showing compassion to your enemies
  • Understanding our adversary, the devil
  • The need to have a plan for dealing with spiritual warfare and temptation
  • Running a business
  • Economics
  • Team Building

This Book is Good For...

Who can benefit from comparing earthly strategies to Biblical truth and leveraging what they learn to correct or enhance their strategies in this life.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

My two-fold use of The Art of War is applying Sun Tzu’s practice to spiritual warfare and teaching disciples to make indirect Biblical truth connections to what they observe around them.

Satan wages war against us. The book of Job is a classic example but there are hundreds of examples throughout the Bible. Jesus was tempted by Satan. Demons interfered with the Angel Michael as recorded in Daniel chapter 10. The list goes on. Many disciples fail and fall to temptation because the do not understand their enemy, their position in Christ, or the power that God has over Satan. Sun Tzu’s tactics for warfare are easily applied to challenge disciples to make Biblical connections to identify their enemy, learn his strategies, and develop a Biblically-based plan to defeat him. Using The Art of War to launch a spiritual discussion about spiritual warfare is not only creative, it is also disruptive and opens the conversation to connecting God’s truths to other earthly experiences.

I only us this book in Discipleship Three. Trying to document all of our Biblical connections would exceed the purpose of this application. If you have not read Art of War or studied the enemy and his tactics and need help, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

I love this book because it disrupts disciples showing them how we can see God’s successful principles discovered by secular men and women. It allows me to show disciples how to “see God” in the world “around them.” Connecting each of Sun Tzu’s warfare strategies to the Bible teaches and reinforces critical thinking skills.

Real Life Story

Mary (not her real name) hated, absolutely hated this book at the beginning. She was not an adept reader and struggled to find anything worthwhile. We kept encouraging her to read it while listening to the Holy Spirit and asking God, “Does any of this apply to my walk of faith?” As she listened to other disciples connecting Sun Tzu’s tactics to spiritual warfare and business through Biblical truth, she began to see how a seemingly unrelated text could spur Biblical connections. Mary became better at making connections even though the Art of War did not apply directly to her life. Her testimony at the end was, “I hated this book but it showed me how to hang in there. And it showed me the power of finding valuable truths in the world around me, checking them against the Bible, and making useful applications to my life.” Mary’s greatest benefit was improving her critical thinking skills.

Know Issues or Controversies

There are no known controversies.

The greatest challenge with this text is showing disciples how what they experience or learn in this world can apply to their spiritual lives. Disciples often ask in the beginning, “What does this have to do with following God?”

There are several translations of this ancient, Chinese text. Be careful to have the group use the same publishing or things will get confusing quickly.

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Sun Tzu
Book Details
Reading Time
Five Weeks
Related Reads

This book pairs well with Piercing the Darkness in Discipleship Three.

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