Based on a biblical model of taking forty days to develop new patterns for ministry, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life is divided into forty chapters, one for each day of a spiritual pilgrimage toward better understanding God’s purpose in the reader’s life.
To signal how this volume contrasts with many works that are focused on making people feel good and be successful, Warren begins with a clear statement that the purpose of life is much larger than personal fulfillment, peace of mind, or happiness. The meaning and purpose of life come not from focusing on the self but from knowing and working with the author of life, namely God.
The book is intended to be read as a daily inspiration, with each of the 40 short chapters read on consecutive days. Each chapter contains a personal application section at the end with a “point to ponder,” a verse to remember, and a question to consider over the course of that day. Rick Warren described his book as an “anti-self-help book.”
The first sentence of the book reads, “It’s not about you,” and the remainder of the chapter goes on to explain how the quest for personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning can only be found in understanding and doing what God placed you on Earth to do. The book’s 40 chapters are divided into six major sections, with the following titles:
- What on Earth Am I Here For?
- Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Christian Worship)
- Purpose #2: You Were Formed for God’s Family (Christian Church)
- Purpose #3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)
- Purpose #4: You Were Shaped for Serving God (Christian Ministry)
- Purpose #5: You Were Made for a Mission (Christian mission)
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