Types of Fasts

There are six different types of fasts in the Bible.
1. Normal - abstaining from food. Example: Jesus “ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them was hungry” (Luke 4:2).
2. Absolute - abstaining from food and water; normally no more than 3 days.
Examples: For three days Paul was blind, and did not eat or drink anything” (Acts 9:9), Moses (Deut. 9:9), Israel (Ezra 10:6), Israel (Esther 4:16).

3. Partial - restricting diet of certain foods or a meal a day.
Examples: Daniel “so the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead” (Daniel 1:16), (Daniel 10:3).
4. Regular - fast days that commemorate an event or weekly fasts on a regular day.
Examples: Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:27; Ps. 35:13; Is. 58:5), a fast day (Jer. 36:6); four separate festivals (Zech 8:19); twice a week (Luke 18:11-12).
5. Public - fasts called to times of special need and emergency. Almost all regular fasts were public fasts, but all public fasts are not necessarily regular ones.
Examples: King Jehoshaphat when Judah was invaded (2 Chron. 20:1-4), Ezra returning the exiles (Ezra 8:21-23) Ninevah, as a result of Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:5,10).
6. Involuntary -no desire for food because of anxiety, sorrow, or mental distress (Dan. 6:18), and where a person finds themselves in a situation where no food is available (Matt. 15:32; 2 Cor. 6:5, 11:27)
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