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Scriptures about Fasting 1. Spirit of, explained. Isaiah 58:6-7 (HCSB) 6 Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh [and blood]? 2. Not to be made a subject of display. Matthew 6:16-18 (HCSB) 16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face, 18 so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 3. Should be to God. Zechariah 7:5 (HCSB) “Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh [months] for these 70 years, did you really fast for Me? Matthew 6:18 (HCSB) so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 4. For the chastening of the soul. Psalms 69:10 (HCSB) I mourned and fasted, but it brought me insults. 5. For the humbling of the soul. Psalms 35:13 (HCSB) Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer was genuine. 6. Observed on occasions of a. Judgments of God. Joel 1:14 (HCSB) Announce a sacred fast; proclaim an assembly! Gather the elders and all the residents of the land at the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. Joel 2:12 (HCSB) Even now— [this is] the Lord’s declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. b. Public calamities. 2 Samuel 1:12 (HCSB) They mourned, wept, and fasted until the evening for those who died by the sword—for Saul, his son Jonathan, the Lord’s people, and the house of Israel. c. Afflictions of the Church. Luke 5:33-35 (HCSB) 33 Then they said to Him, “John’s disciples fast often and say prayers, and those of the Pharisees do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” 34 Jesus said to them, “You can’t make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them, can you? 35 But the days will come when the groom will be taken away from them—then they will fast in those days.” d. Afflictions of others. 1


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Psalms 35:13 (HCSB) Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer was genuine. Daniel 6:18 (HCSB) Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep. Private afflictions. 2 Samuel 12:16 (HCSB) David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went [home], and spent the night lying on the ground. Approaching danger. Esther 4:16 (HCSB) “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” Ordination of ministers. Acts 13:3 (HCSB) Then, after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off. Acts 14:23 (HCSB) When they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

7. Accompanied by a. Prayer. Ezra 8:23 (HCSB) So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request. Daniel 9:3 (HCSB) So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. b. Confession of sin. 1 Samuel 7:6 (HCSB) When they gathered at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out in the Lord’s presence. They fasted that day, and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel [began to lead] the Israelites at Mizpah as [their] judge. Nehemiah 9:1-2 (HCSB) 1 On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, [wearing] sackcloth, [and had put] dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. c. Mourning. Joel 2:12 (HCSB) Even now— [this is] the Lord’s declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. d. Humiliation. Deuteronomy 9:18 (HCSB) Then I fell down like the first time in the presence of the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights; I did not eat bread or drink water because of all the sin you committed, doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and provoking Him to anger. Nehemiah 9:1 (HCSB) On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, [wearing] sackcloth, [and had put] dust on their heads. 8. Promises connected with. Isaiah 58:8-12 (HCSB) 8 Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear 2


guard. 9 At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say: Here I am. If you get rid of the yoke from those around you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking, 10 and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday. 11 The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry. 12 Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will restore the foundations laid long ago; you will be called the repairer of broken walls, the restorer of streets where people live. Matthew 6:18 (HCSB) so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 9. Of hypocrites a. Described. Isaiah 58:4-5 (HCSB) 4 You fast [with] contention and strife to strike viciously with [your] fist. You cannot fast as [you do] today, [hoping] to make your voice heard on high. 5 Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord? b. Ostentatious. Matthew 6:16 (HCSB) “Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! c. Boasted of, before God. Luke 18:12 (HCSB) I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ d. Rejected. Isaiah 58:3 (HCSB) “Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!” “Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers. Jeremiah 14:12 (HCSB) If they fast, I will not hear their cry of despair. If they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. Rather, I will finish them off by sword, famine, and plague.” 10. Extraordinary Exemplified a. Our Lord. Matthew 4:2 (HCSB) After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. b. Moses. Exodus 34:28 (HCSB) Moses was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. He wrote down on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 9:9,18 (HCSB) When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant the Lord made with you, I stayed on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights. I did not eat bread or drink water. 18Then I fell down like the first time in the presence of the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights; I did not eat bread or drink water because of all the sin you committed, doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and provoking Him to anger. c. Elijah.

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1 Kings 19:8 (HCSB) So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 11. National Exemplified a. Israel. Judges 20:26 (HCSB) The whole Israelite army went to Bethel where they wept and sat before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. Ezra 8:21 (HCSB) I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions. Esther 4:3 (HCSB) There was great mourning among the Jewish people in every province where the king’s command and edict came. They fasted, wept, and lamented, and many lay on sackcloth and ashes. Esther 4:16 (HCSB) “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” Jeremiah 36:9 (HCSB) In the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people of Jerusalem and all those coming in from Judah’s cities into Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the Lord. b. Men of Jabesh-gilead. 1 Samuel 31:13 (HCSB) Afterwards, they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days. c. Ninevites. Jonah 3:5-8 (HCSB) 5 The men of Nineveh believed in God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least. 6 When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he issued a decree in Nineveh: By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. 8 Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence he is doing. 12. Of Saints Exemplified a. David. 2 Samuel 12:16 (HCSB) David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went [home], and spent the night lying on the ground. Psalms 109:24 (HCSB) My knees are weak from fasting, and my body is emaciated. b. Nehemiah. Nehemiah 1:4 (HCSB) When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. c. Esther. Esther 4:16 (HCSB) “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” 4


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Daniel. Daniel 9:3 (HCSB) So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Disciples of John. Matthew 9:14 (HCSB) Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” Anna. Luke 2:37 (HCSB) and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fastings and prayers. Cornelius. Acts 10:30 (HCSB) Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this hour, at three in the afternoon, I was praying in my house. Just then a man in a dazzling robe stood before me Christians. Acts 13:2 (HCSB) As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to.” Apostles. 2 Corinthians 6:5 (HCSB) by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, Paul. 2 Corinthians 11:27 (HCSB) labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.

13. Of the wicked-Exemplified a. Elders of Jezreel. 1 Kings 21:12 (HCSB) They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. b. Ahab. 1 Kings 21:27 (HCSB) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put sackcloth over his body, and fasted. He lay down in sackcloth and walked around subdued. c. Pharisees. Mark 2:18 (HCSB) Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” Luke 18:12 (HCSB) I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 1

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Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc. 5


Scriptures on Fasting