The way to practice the Christian life and church life is to exercise ourselves unto godliness. First Timothy 4:7 and 8 say, “The profane and old-womanish myths refuse, and exercise yourself unto godliness. For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the present life and of that which is to come.” The Greek word for exercise here is the root of the word gymnastics. Paul wrote this Epistle during the era of the Greek Olympics, which included gymnastics, bodily exercise which is good for physical health. Here the apostle Paul used this word to say that we need another kind of “gymnastics,” one that is related not to the physical body but to godliness. Bodily exercise is profitable only for a little, but the second kind of exercise is profitable both for today and forever, for the present life and for that which is to come. Therefore, we need to pay more attention to this kind of exercise.
What is the second kind of exercise in 1 Timothy 4? It is not the exercise of our mentality, for we have already received this from our schooling. From our youth we received learning for the exercise of our mind, through elementary, junior high, senior high, college, and even graduate school. Besides bodily and mental exercise, what other kind of exercise do we need? It must be that the second kind of exercise mentioned by the apostle Paul is the exercise of our human spirit.
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