Leave a 75th Birthday Greeting to Honor Dr. Michael Youssef for His Ministry Leading The Way!

Fasting in the Bible: Scriptures on Fasting's Meaning and Importance

Fasting in the Bible: Scriptures on Fasting's Meaning and Importance

The practice of fasting is essentially giving up food (or another worldly habit) for a period of time in order to better focus your thoughts and attention on God.

Fasting is usually joined by prayer in the Bible accounts of those who fast. In the Old Testament, fasting was common in grieving or repenting of sin. In the New Testament, fasting is recommended as a way to grow closer to God, much like we do in prayer. Similar to God’s instructions on prayer, fasting is to be a personal discipline. Here we have gathered biblical examples of fasting to illustrate its importance and utility in drawing near to God.

Fasting is primarily a spiritual practice to be closer in union with God, a recognition of our dependence on Him. Read the many Bible verses about fasting in this collection of scripture quotes.

fasting in the bible, jesus fasting

Examples of Fasting in the Bible

Moses in the Book of Exodus

“So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” ~ Exodus 34:28

Daniel in the Book of Daniel

“I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.” ~ Daniel 10:3 ESV

David in the Book of 2 Samuel

“And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” ~ 2 Samuel 1:12 ESV

John the Baptist in the Book of Matthew

“Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” Matthew 3:4 ESV

Jesus Christ in the Book of Luke

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.” ~ Luke 4:1-4 ESV

The Early Church in the Book of Acts

“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” ~ Acts 13:1-3 ESV

fasting in the bible, fasting scriptures

How to Fast According to Scripture

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:16-18

“Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisee fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” ~ Matthew 9:14-17

Meg Bucher gives a summary for fasting saying, "Fasting is a form of worship, an acknowledgment that we need God more than food. Fasting is not the same as a diet; nor is losing weight the goal of a fast. Gratitude for the food God provides gives worship to God! In all we do, the aim is to keep God on the throne of our hearts, the center of our lives, and the top of our minds."

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

fasting in the bible, fasting scriptures

Bible Verses on the Importance of Fasting

Return to the Lord

"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster." ~ Joel 2:12-13

"When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach." ~ Psalm 69:10

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" ~ Isaiah 58:6

"Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." ~ 1 Corinthians 7:5

"But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~ Matthew 4:4

"So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty." ~ Ezra 8:23

Photo by Hebert Santos from Pexels

bible verses on fasting, fasting scriptures

Bible Verses about Fasting: Live by Faith

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ~ Romans 1:17

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17

For we walk by faith, not by sight. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. ~ 1 John 5:4

Photo by Saulo Zayas from Pexels

Related podcast:

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

Related video:

These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.

Video stock video and music probided by SoundStripe


Christianity / Life / Bible / Fasting in the Bible: Scriptures on Fasting's Meaning and Importance