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John Wesley's 22 questions of self examination

John Wesley statue in London.
John Wesley statue in London.

John Wesley (1703-1791) is generally considered the founder of the Methodist movement--a branch of protestant Christianity with expressions worldwide, including the United Methodist Church. In 1738 he had an intense religious experience at a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. Following this experience, he began preaching throughout the country and forming "classes" and "bands". In these classes and bands, members met regularly for learning and personal accountability. The following questions were used by Wesley for self-examination--and are sure to be a bit convicting and motivating even for us today.

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

Interested in more Methodist history? Check out this enlightening (and entertaining) video from the Wesleys Take the Web series, featuring John and his song-writing brother, Charles.