Of Pox and Pecs
Good morning from Chickenpox Central. To concerned parents, the sores on our children assume “Biblical” proportions — they are numbered like “the stars of heaven” or like “the sand that is on the seashore. (Genesis 22:17)” And speaking of health, let’s look at our next question.
Q: Has exercising gone too far? Do Christians ignore 1 Timothy 4:8, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things”? If we don’t get much from exercise, how can we continue to invest so much in it?
A: Let’s first consult a more modern translation than the King James Version you quote. Paul doesn’t exclude exercise. The ESV says, “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. [Vv. 7b–8]”
We don’t despise exercise. Paul even used athletics to illustrate the life of faith (i.e. the runner and the boxer). Still, the major focus of the Christian should be on godliness, which is being forgiven by God for Christ’s sake and living a life that responds in thanksgiving. As Scripture says, the Christian’s body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit within (1 Corinthians 6:19)”; regular maintenance both benefits us and pleases God. Only make sure of a proper balance.
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.
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Newspaper column #7:1