What does the Bible say about Lent? Nothing – absolutely nothing. Lent is purely an invention of man. It’s never mentioned in the Bible. So why not practice Lent? Surely there is nothing wrong with it and perhaps it can even be beneficial – so why not?
While there is no specific mention of Lent in the Bible, there is a fundamental Bible principle which can help us evaluate it. Jesus said of the Pharisees, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) Paul also warned against religious practices which, “Are after the doctrines and commandments of men.” (Colossians 2:20-23) Lent being a religious practice of man, not God, is therefore vain. In this same passage Paul further condemned things which: “Have a shew indeed of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body.” (Colossians 2:23) Lent certainly fits into this category: it has a certain show of wisdom else why would men practice it; it is “will worship,” that is, self-chosen rather than God authorized; furthermore it does suggest a certain humility in the ascetic practice of giving up something for God – perhaps even the neglecting of the body. The problem is it is not a part of God’s plan.
Christians should give their attention to things God has authorized rather than inventing their own religious practices.