What is the proper view a Christian should have about bodily exercise? Does it have any value at all? Is it completely useless or extremely important since our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16)? Paul gives the answer, as he instructs Timothy:
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 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. (1 Tim 4:7,8)
Exercise for the physical body has some value, but it is far less than the value of godliness. When a person strengthens himself through bodily exercise, it can only have temporal benefits, which can be very short lived. On the other hand, training ourselves to be godly has much longer lasting benefits. Living godly will extend beyond this present life into eternity and all along the way help people with their greatest need – salvation and eternal life! Hence, bodily exercise is de-emphasized.
To be a godly example in the midst of wickedness will be a major advantage for all who have such a wonderful example. Many who go to church do not qualify for this! It takes a person who is committed to doing things God’s way to be such a spiritual blessing to others, as he also helps himself. It is very dark spiritually, and far too many people see their broken life as a hopeless, painful and useless ordeal as they toy with the demonic temptation of suicide. People need a solid reason to live and some will see that in someone who is living godly. Paul and his companions were holy, righteous and blameless (1 Thess. 2:10) and that example caused others to imitate them!
You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. (1 Th 1:5,6)
Paul also mentioned godliness is to be pursued:
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1 Tim 6:11)
On Paul’s priority list, bodily exercise was low while godliness was repeatedly magnified. How do you compare with that?