Is Lent Biblical?

Is Lent Biblical?

What do you think? Is Lent biblical?

Let’s see what we can find out! Job repented in dust and ashes (Job 42: 6) but there is more to Lent than just imitating that. Jesus himself spent 40 days in desert fasting:

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. (Matt 4.1-2, MSG)

The number 40 is very special in the Bible. You remember that Noah spent 40 days and nights in the Ark listening to rain falling down. Moses was away for 40 days and nights to receive the 10 commandments. The Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years on their way to the Promised Land. All these numbers of 40. What’s the significance?

It symbolizes the preparation time for something new. In each of these cases something new was about to be born. The same way an expectant mother carries the developing baby for 40 weeks . The pregnant state is not always pleasant, it requires endurance and lots of waiting but it is a necessary part of birthing something new. That’s why also we observe 40 days of Lent in order to be changed, corrected, renewed.

I would say Lent is very biblical. What do you think?

If Lent really is a season of preparation we need to ask:
What needs to go in order to something new to be born in our lives?
What needs to be added in order to be prepared for something new?

This kind of reflection requires some solitude. In order to hear God’s gentle voice we need to linger in his presence and listen. Our lives are sometimes so chaotic that it is a blessing to have a season of Lent to urge us to quiet down and reflect on the most important things in life.


Gracious God,
Thank you for being an awesome God!
Thank you for calling us to serve you!
Show us what needs to go and
what needs to be added in our lives.
Prepare our hearts and minds for you.
May your will be done in our lives,
nothing else, nothing more, nothing less.
In Jesus’ name,

Q4U: What do you think God is up to in your life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you search for God’s will in your life!

Photo courtesy of Ron Loveday

4 thoughts on “Is Lent Biblical?

  1. Dear Mari-Anna,
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful article. I came to it from twitter. I hope you don’t mind another view on this, given in a good spirit. While it is, of course, good to fast and to exercise self-control in a number of ways, my view is that there is really no command to have Lent and no reasons that what Jesus did in the inauguration of His ministry in His wilderness testing should be what we in the churches are expected to do. Here’s why.

    His work in the wilderness was a special experience needed for Christ to redeem us. That is, Jesus was being tested by Satan to get Him to forsake His comittment to acting as man (though He was and is God). “If you are the Son of God….” Satan repeats. Jesus responded as the perfect man in a way a man could act. The answers He gives, all from Deuternomy, indicate that Jesus in his 40 days succeeded in what the Israelites failed to do in their 40 years of wildnerness testing. At any rate, His wilderness fasting was for a special purpose that is not our purpose.

    Well, all this is to say that, at best, we are free to fast 40 days, but God never anticipated it or commanded it or set it as a precedent of the church. An illustration of this might be the experience of the Mount of transfiguration. We could say, because Jesus went up a high mountain and had a lofty experience, we need to have a regular day every year when we all go up a high mountain to seek a spiritual experience. Of course, we are free to do that, but there is nothing biblical about it.

    Please understand my heart on this. I don’t mean to be difficult. I’ve just not found such practices to be biblical from my perspective. But, if you are doing it, I do sincerely hope that you get much out of your devotion to God during this period. Thanks for letting me express my thoughts on your site.

    1. Dear Jim,
      Thank you for your comment. You are very welcome! I was hoping to start a discussion on this matter. I know there are different opinions on this and that’s great. You are right Lent is not a sacrament but it’s not a bad thing either. I take it you haven’t read my previous posts on the subject matter. I think Lent is biblical but it’s not a requirement. We are indeed saved by grace. And that’s worth to celebrate every day. Thanks be to God! Great to connect with you! Blessings to you and your ministry.

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