For Bible Study Nerds

Jesus’ instruction about fasting assumes that it is a normal part of a life devoted to God…but why fast? Why did (and do) people go without food and/or water as a religious observance?

Here are a few reasons from Scripture:

• Once a year, as a commemorative action on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This annual observance was a solemn moment when a high priest offered a symbolic sacrifice for the collective sins of the entire nation of Israel. (See Leviticus 16:29 and Jeremiah 36:6.)

• During calls for national repentance. (See Nehemiah 9:1.)

• In times of public or personal crisis. (See Judges 20:26 and 2 Samuel 12:15-18).

• Four times a year as a commemorative action to remind of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (See Zechariah 7:2-5, 8:19.)

• As an expression of mourning. (See Matthew 9:14-15)

• As a mysterious weapon in spiritual warfare. (See Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29.)

• As a means of humbling oneself before God. (See Isaiah 58:3-5.)

• As an expression of worship. (See Acts 13:2.)

• As a ritual of commissioning others into leadership within the church. (See Acts 13:2-3 and 14:23


Works Cited:

[RBD, 111, 373; MAC, 1384]



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About: Mike Nappa

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