“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”1 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV
Bodily training is of some value. This may be weird (it probably is), but when I read that, I find myself wondering, “Just how much is bodily training worth? What’s the number?” Like I said, weird, I get that, but just indulge me for a minute. In 2019, the global health and fitness club industry was worth over $96 billion, and that doesn’t even include what people spent on exercise equipment and clothing and the like. That’s just the gyms and facilities people join and visit to exercise and train their bodies.
When Paul told Timothy that bodily training is of some value, he was saying something that most people know and something the numbers bear out. And those numbers are only the beginning. The value of exercise isn’t limited to revenue and profits but is also multiplied many times in ways that are harder to measure–in things like health and quality of life. My point is that Paul isn’t downplaying the significance of training our bodies. He doesn’t say that exercise is pointless. He says it is good and worthwhile, but there is something even more valuable and more worthwhile. There’s a kind of training that is beneficial not just for today but also for the days to come, not just for this life but also for the life to come.
$96 billion is a lot of money, but next to godliness, it isn’t even a drop in the bucket. What are you training for today? The truth is that we spend our lives training in a lot of ways. We train our bodies and our minds (as we should), but are we training just for this life or also for the life to come? How do we train ourselves for godliness? By “being trained in the words of the faith” (v. 6) and having “nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” (v. 7). We won’t recognize silly myths for what they are unless we’re immersed in what is true. So, let’s train ourselves for godliness. Let’s immerse ourselves in the word of God–reading it, hearing it, sharing it–that we would love the Lord and serve Him in ways that lead others to do the same.