1 Timothy 4:8 Meaning of Physical Training

1 Timothy 4:8
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

Explanation and Commentary of 1 Timothy 4:8

For those who enjoy physical training, this verse is an endorsement of the activity, but the value of such is not as great as the value of training in godliness. Physical training is helpful in the fallen world during the Church Age. The physical body can be a great hindrance if it is failing in one of its important systems, and the biblical principle of stewardship requires that we manage what God has given us, beginning at the most basic level, our very selves. However, those who are crippled by some ailment or disease are joyful at the reality that everyone who goes to the New Heavens and the New Earth to be with Christ for eternity will have a new, glorified, physical, spiritual body (1 Cor 15). Aside from the spiritual rewards gained from our stewardship of the body in this life, there will be no direct impact of our physical training on the next life.

“But godliness has value for all things.” Paul has previously said for Timothy to train in godliness. This kind of training will directly impact the quality of our eternal existence beginning immediately. The question is, how does one train for godliness? The Bible teaches us to abide in Christ (Jn 15:4). This actually takes practice as long as we’re in our flesh in a fallen world. Practice is training. Training requires the intention and habit of training. We can also train in the exhibiting of spiritual fruit. We must first abide, or our fruit will be self-generated and fake. But then, as we abide, it would serve us well to spend some time practicing patience, gentleness, kindness, love, etc. (Gal 3:22-23).

The other way to train is to practice and grow in the spiritual disciplines: prayer, Scripture reading and meditation, solitude, silence, worship, and activities of that nature. Men and women of God should train physically but should subordinate such training to our training in righteousness and godliness, the goal being to cultivate our relationship with God, and his Son, and his Holy Spirit.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Timothy 4:8

#1 “For…”
After Paul tells Timothy to avoid myths and wives’ tales, he says, “Rather, train yourself to be godly” (1 Tim 4:7).

#2 “…physical training is of some value,”
Christianity is not a disembodied religion, though some have attempted to see it as one. We will have some kind of body for eternity. In this life, the body and spirit are very well connected so that the health of one has an impact on the other. Eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting proper sleep will help a lot to prepare one for godliness, and even will be a means of character training as it develops self-discipline.

#3 “but godliness has value for all things,”
To be godly is to be like God. We train for this by looking to God and practicing his presence and his ways. We seek his kingdom and his righteousness (Mt 6:33).

#4 “holding promise for both the present life,”
Our life in this world before the second coming of Christ will be greatly impacted by our level of godliness.

#5 “and the life to come.”
The rich rewards (Ja 1:12) of the next life are a direct result of the way we lived life in this age. Whatever training we undertake in godliness will not be regretted at the judgment.

Bible Study on 1 Timothy 4:8

Expert Overview of 1 Timothy

Biblical Translations of 1 Timothy 4:8

NIV
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

NLT
Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.

ESV
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.

KJV
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.

NKJV
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

1 Timothy 4:8 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.