On fasting – another blast at a sacred cow.

Where in the NT does it say that fasting is to boost your prayer life or actually that fasting is for anything.

All of this is a massive sacred cow that is yet to be properly destroyed.

In Mat 9.15 Jesus says that you cannot fast without mourning and you cannot mourn when he is with you. He will never leave us. Do the maths.

If you have an addiction to something, it may be necessary to abstain from it to break the addiction. For example chocolate or gluttony. If you wish to abstain from food to break a habit of over-eating, then that’s fine because Paul says that we do don’t allow anything to be our master.

But check Col 2:16-23. It demolishes fasting.

Col 2:21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”

and the kicker:

Col 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Note rules like fasting have an APPEARANCE of WISDOM.



So teaching that we fast to overcome our flesh is against the NT! AND – there is not a single NT scripture that says it is.

In the Sermon on the mount – addressed to unbelievers – Jesus says what they should do when they fast – at a time when his disciples were not allowed to fast.

Twice in Acts it is recorded that fasting is done – but that’s a narrative, not a teaching. Maybe they got it wrong by fasting – other mistakes were made by them and the bible is never shy of recording mistakes.

CONCLUSION – If you can find me a single scripture that instructs a New Creation son of God to fast and explains how and why, I will start to think about it. If stop I hope we stop trying to give life to this dead tradition of men by inventing reasons to fast that are not in the bible.


4 Responses to “On fasting – another blast at a sacred cow.”

  1. Gala Says:

    What do you think about the verse 20 in this passage from Mark 2:18-20: “18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were observing a fast; and [some people] came and asked Jesus, Why are John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fasting, but Your disciples are not doing so?
    19 Jesus answered them, Can the wedding guests fast (abstain from food and drink) while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
    20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and they will fast in that day.”

    • jeremypenwarden Says:

      What days did verse 20 refer to? I take them to mean the 3 days that Jesus was taken away from them at the crucifixion. But once Jesus rose from the dead, he was no longer taken away. In those days refers to the days that are mentioned immediately before, and those are the days when Jesus is taken. So it can only refer to the days prior to the resurrection.

      Then maybe one could say that He was again taken away when he ascended, and was away from them until the day of Pentecost. However, Jesus had breathed on them on John 20:21-22 and they had received the Spirit. So although the Spirit was not poured out from within them until Pentecost, He was still with them.

      So it seems to me that those are the days Jesus means. Now He is with us and will never leave nor forsake us Mat 28.

      What do you think?

  2. Gala Says:

    sorry, just now saw your reply 🙂 thanks for your opinion, it makes good sense. still i wish it was all expressed more clear in the NT itself about fasting, as it could be interpreted this way or that way 😦

  3. jeremypenwarden Says:

    Thanks for saying it makes good sense. However, anything can be taken different ways. People think the bible says all sorts of stuff it doesn’t. Those who want to fast will find excuses to do so and ignore things that speak against it or twist their meaning.

    My point is simple. The NT does not teach about fasting as something for christians to do, so it is clear.

    Also, Col 2:16-23, particularly 20 and 23 are clearly saying that fasting is not something to do. This is the only passage I’ve found from Acts to Revelation that is teaching applicable to fasting.

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