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1 Timothy 4:8

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.
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.
NASB for bodily training is just slightly beneficial, but godliness is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
CSB For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for 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.'
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.

What does 1 Timothy 4:8 mean?

In the prior verse, Paul instructed Timothy to ignore silly myths and instead focus on training himself for godliness. Both of these specifically involve proper teaching, and learning, leading to action. Here, Paul compares physical training for an athlete with spiritual training for godliness. He states that physical conditioning is of some importance, but is less important than a godly life.

The reason godliness is more important than physical fitness is due to its eternal value. Physical fitness is a good thing. At the very least, it means taking care of the body God gave us. But physical fitness only benefits us while we have this physical body. On the other hand, spiritual growth impacts eternity. Paul often speaks of the "next life" as the true focus of the believer. Colossians 3:2 reminds us to "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."

Many believe the words, "Don't be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good," are in the Bible. They are not, though it is true that we cannot ignore the earthly realities around us. However, a person with a godly perspective on the good things God has given us (1 Timothy 4:4) can be completely "heavenly minded" and still of much "earthly good." Paul sees the promise of heaven as a reason to live a godly, effective life today.
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