Rethinking the Nature of Fasting

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Alex Suarez

Puritan Board Freshman
I was reading Calvin's understanding on the nature of fasting, and it caused me to rethink my own thinking of fasting. I was always under the impression that biblical fasting generally involved abstinence from food completely for a given time period.

Any thoughts? Resources on this particular matter?


"18. But that there maybe no error in the name, let us define what fasting is; for we do not understand by it simply a restrained and sparing use of food, but something else. The life of the pious should be tempered with frugality and sobriety, so as to exhibit, as much as may be, a kind of fasting during the whole course of life. But there is another temporary fast, when we retrench somewhat from our accustomed mode of living, either for one day or a certain period, and prescribe to ourselves a stricter and severer restraint in the use of that ordinary food. This consists in three things—viz. the time, the quality of food, and the sparing use of it. By the time I mean, that while fasting we are to perform those actions for the sake of which the fast is instituted. For example, when a man fasts because of solemn prayer, he should engage in it without having taken food. The quality consists in putting all luxury aside, and, being contented with common and meaner food, so as not to excite our palate by dainties. In regard to quantity, we must eat more lightly and sparingly, only for necessity and not for pleasure." - Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
 
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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I was always under the impression that biblical fasting generally involved abstinence from food completely for a given time period.

There are all kinds of fasts.

We recently had a discussion on fasting:
See - Survey on Fasting on the Puritan Board. Here’ the location: http://goo.gl/3DF1ia

There is an outline of Author Wallis’s take on fasting in post #12 from his book called God's Chosen Fast.
 
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