Back to Basics

Hyveth Williams

is a professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

Fasting for a Reason

As I travel, teach, and preach, I am often asked, “What does it mean to fast? What is the purpose of fasting, and how does one go about it?”

In more than 50 references to fasting in the Old and New Testaments, with the exception of the Day of Atonement, there is no specific command to fast. In the New Testament, however, it was assumed that fasting would be part of the believer’s normal devotional life.

About fasting, Jesus said: “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” (Matt. 6:16).He also said: “How …

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