THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING
1 Tim 4:6-9 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
Prior to the lesson text, and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul taught young Timothy many spiritual truths regarding the kingdom of Christ - His body, the church of Christ here on earth. Some of these truths related to righteous conduct of the church, while others condemned the teaching of false doctrines. Timothy was especially urged by Paul to refute the hypocritical doctrines regarding celibacy and the abstinence of meats, as religious practices within the body of Christ. Regarding these false doctrines Timothy was to continually remind the brethren of the church of Christ at Ephesus, to learn, condemn, and avoid. He was to warn them not to compromise, or corrupt, the pure doctrine of God with false teachings. In order to do so, Paul said that Timothy must be diligent in his service, prove himself faithful to God, and be a good minister of Jesus Christ.
Having attained God's words of faith and of good doctrine, Timothy was to closely follow its tenets, and steadfastly teach the pure gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ, to all members of Christ's body in Ephesus. He was to preach God's word, and only God's word, profess His true doctrine, and denounce the false doctrine of devils. Gospel preachers and teachers should take note, that even though Timothy had reached a good degree of knowledge, which enabled him to minister to a congregation of God's people, he still needed to continue to grow, and become a stronger Christian - to grow in scriptural knowledge, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the will of God, and become a better servant of Jesus Christ. Paul, in this admonition to Timothy, serves as encouraging words to all ministers of the gospel of Christ: study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
Timothy was further admonished by Paul to refuse profane and old wives' fables. The word "profane," as used here, carries with it the meaning of secular, contemptuous, and irreverent. Timothy was told to flee from, ignore, and have nothing to do with such vain, and meaningless, Jewish traditions and heathen fables, as a form of worship to God. These have no lasting value - they are spiritually profitless. Instead, Paul told Timothy to be a profitable servant of Christ. Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. Timothy was to learn for himself, and teach others, to spend their time profitably in loyal devotion to the soul-saving will of God, rather than the unprofitable will of mankind, which leads only to eternal condemnation.
Paul reminded Timothy, and us today, that bodily exercise profiteth little. Sure physical exercise is beneficial. It trains our bodies; it gives us strength and stamina; it allows us to increase our physical usefulness; when done properly, it may even allow us to live a few years longer here on earth. But let us put the profit found in physical exercise in its proper prospective. What profit is a few additional years on earth if one's soul is lost for eternity? The real value is not found in bodily exercise; it is found in godly, spiritual exercise. Exercising godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
In godliness there is more profit than the transient physical benefits of bodily exercise. Godliness permeates the soul of men and women; it is inwardly beneficial by giving us peace and contentment, but it is also outwardly beneficial. Godliness gives us an intense love of God, which manifests itself in a caring love for filling the spiritual and physical needs our friends, neighbors, and fellow Christians. It is this active godliness, which, when demonstrated in our lives, that is observed by our compassionate God, and from it, gains His approval. It is profitable unto all things. It allows us to have a good, peaceful, contented life on earth. But more importantly, it gives us a hope of eternal life, which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. Why? Because in godliness we find God's promise of eternal salvation.