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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5794 asceticism
5794 asceticism

5794 asceticism

Rigorous self-denial of bodily pleasures and needs. This can be motivated either by a praiseworthy desire to dedicate oneself completely to God, or by an erroneous belief that the physical body is evil.

Types of ascetic practice

The ascetic practice of fasting Est 4:15-16 See also Jdg 20:26; 2Sa 1:11-12; Jer 36:5-6; Lk 2:37

The ascetic practice of wearing sackcloth and ashes Da 9:3 See also 1Ki 21:27; Ne 9:1; Est 4:3

The ascetic practice of celibacy 1Co 7:1 See also Ex 19:15; 1Sa 21:4; 1Co 7:8,36-38; Rev 14:4

People who practised asceticism

The Nazirites and asceticism Nu 6:1-8; Jdg 13:4-5; Jdg 16:17

John the Baptist and asceticism Mt 3:4 pp Mk 1:6; Mt 11:18 pp Lk 7:33

John’s disciples, the Pharisees and asceticism Mt 9:14 pp Mk 2:18 pp Lk 5:33; Lk 18:12

The Jews and the ascetic practice of regular fasting Lev 23:26-32; Zec 7:1-5

Jesus Christ refuses to enforce ascetic practices

Mk 2:18-19 pp Mt 9:14-17 pp Lk 5:34-35

Ascetic practice symbolises separation from the world and dedication to God

Asceticism as a sign of repentance Jnh 3:6-9 See also 1Sa 7:6; Ezr 10:6; Joel 1:13-14

Asceticism accompanying prayer Ezr 8:23 See also 2Sa 12:16; Ne 1:4; Ac 14:23; 1Co 7:5

Ascetic dedication to God’s service 1Co 9:27 See also Da 1:8; Mt 19:12; 1Co 7:32-35

False asceticism opposed

Rejection of fasting without true repentance Isa 58:3-7; Joel 2:12-14

Condemnation of ostentatious asceticism Mt 6:16-18

Asceticism not necessary for right worship and conduct Col 2:20-23; 1Ti 4:1-5 Asceticism that is based on a negative view of the material world is rejected.

See also

8750false teachings