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.
1 Corinthians 7:5 speaks of husbands and wives separating for a time of fasting and prayer. Fasting is omitted from the oldest manuscripts and not included by many translators in this passage. The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Bible Commentary states that the word “fasting” was “an interpolation, evidently of ascetics.” Of note, the Spanish and Swahili versions omit the word fasting and it is included in the English and German versions. ■