Biblical Fasting

“When exercised with a pure heart and a right motive, fasting may provide us with a key to unlock doors where other keys have failed; a window opening up new horizons in the unseen world; spiritual weapons of God’s providing, ‘mighty…to the pulling down of strongholds.’” —Arthur Wallis
Old and New Testament Practice

Fasting from food for spiritual benefit was taught and observed by both Old and New Testament saints. Men and women of spiritual renown throughout history have fasted. This list includes Moses the lawgiver, David the king, Elijah the prophet, Esther the queen, Daniel the seer, Anna the prophetess, Jesus the Son of God, and Paul the apostle. Fasting is an avenue of clearing the mind and spirit in humility before God, and it opens the door to a deeper spiritual connection with the Lord. There is no true spiritual benefit to fasting when it is a mere physical observance. Historically, fasting for many people became nothing more than an outward act of piety. Ascetic practices alone have never drawn mankind into a closer relationship with God. In all areas of spiritual devotion, outward manifestations and observances are only as strong as the inward spirit which seeks to please the Lord in humility and holiness. John Wesley said, “Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason, and others have utterly disregarded it.” There is a biblical practice of fasting that is of great benefit to God’s children still today.Read more

Fasting and Prayer

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. —Daniel 9:3

If more men and women of God would set their face to the Lord and seek Him in fasting and prayer, I am convinced that we would see more spirituality, more anointing, and more power with God. The subject this quarter is on the subject of fasting. It has been an abused and misunderstood subject and is becoming a lost practice among many professing saints.Read more

4 Types of Fasts

Supernatural Fast

A fast divinely enabled by God.

Moses fasted for two periods of 40 days. Deuteronomy 9:9, 18

Elijah did not eat for 40 days. 1 Kings 19:8Read more

Bible Study – Fasting

Scripture Reading: Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD. —Joel 1:14

Summary: Fasting is a long-held practice of God’s people in both the Old and New Testament and is a needful part of a Christian’s life today. It is an outward act of self-denial that can help focus the mind, body, and spirit on the things of God. It is a channel of power with God for deliverance, guidance, anointing, and spiritual growth.

Definition: While Christians should practice self-denial in many areas, the word “fasting” in the Bible means specifically to abstain from food.Read more

Questions and Answers on Fasting

How frequently should one fast?

The New Testament does not give guidelines for how frequently one should fast. The Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12 fasted twice a week. By the time of Christ, the Pharisees had turned fasts into legal bondage. The best advice is found in Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” We need to be led by the Spirit in how often we fast. There is a danger that a spiritual observance done regularly can become a form or ritual without true spirituality. Fasting, whether regular or occasional, is a personal decision between an individual and God. Some people have broken their health because they fasted too frequently and too long. This is not temperate and is not caring for the body as the temple of God.Read more

Bible Translation Interpolation

Interpolation is the insertion of something of a different nature into something else. Some Bible versions mention fasting in Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29, and 1 Corinthians 7:5. However, these references to fasting are believed to be later additions that were not part of the original Bible manuscripts.

Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29 refer to the disciples not being able to cast out a spirit, and Jesus said, “This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer.” According to the Adam Clarke Commentary and other scholars, Matthew 17:21 is not in the “Vatican MS, one of the most ancient and most authentic perhaps in the whole world.” It is omitted by more reliable texts. While some manuscripts contain the word “fasting” in the Mark account, the Vatican Manuscript omits “fasting”, the Amplified Bible uses italics for “and fasting,” and many other translations reject its veracity. The evidence is inconclusive in this verse. It is interesting that all of the Bibles in the different languages used for translation in this publication use the word fasting in the Matthew account. Swahili does not use the word fasting in the Mark account.Read more

Lent

Lent, in the nominal Christian world, is a special time of prayer, fasting, penance, sacrifice, and good works in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection.

Lent, observed by many for forty days, is not a Biblical doctrine. Some promote Lent fasting as commemorating the fast of Christ in the wilderness, but this does not align with the practice of the primitive church. There is more evidence that the early church fasted for the approximate forty hours in which Jesus lay in the grave—but even this is debatable from early writings in the church. Some taught that the fasting should be one day, some two, etc. The historical development of Lent is uncertain, although its practice was solidified following the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The forty hours became forty days of fasting and even then, the definition of fasting became liberalized and included abstaining from things other than just food.

God’s people are not bound to the foolishness nor bondage of man’s religion; rather, saints of God are to live a continual life of devotion to God. ■

Beseeching God

And Moses besought the LORD his God…. —Exodus 32:11

When Moses obtained the law from God on Mount Sinai and descended the mountain, he discovered that the people had turned away from God and were worshipping a golden calf. God’s anger was stirred, and He told Moses He was going to destroy the people. Moses besought the Lord and entreated Him to have mercy and turn away from His wrath.Read more

The Great Physician

(The following account is a narrative of the event recorded in Mark 5:24-34, KJV).

People thronged about Jesus as He walked down the dusty road. The disciples surrounded Him and tried to create a barrier from the crowd that pressed into them closer and closer. The sound of laughter could be heard as children scampered about, running between the people. The voices of the men and women conversing and discussing the things they had seen blended into a dull roar. A lame man, unable to keep up, shuffled along behind the crowd. A mother, holding a fevered child, came rushing down the road trying to reach the Master. Read more

The Privilege of Trusting God

[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2:6-7

The graces of the Lord Jesus Christ are still flowing down to us in this present age. What a blessing to be personal recipients of love and kindness from the Saviour. The topic this quarter is divine healing. This subject, in its practical application, has proven controversial for many throughout history. This periodical is designed to promote biblical teaching, irrespective of generational teachings and understandings. Even in the Church of God, there has been an ebb and flow of different applications and standards from minister to minister and from generation to generation. This is why it is imperative for us to preach the Word and recognize the Spirit will give it life and lead us in the way God would have us to live.Read more