Thursday, April 26, 2007

Paul notes in this fabulous section in 1 Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:7-9 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.

I know I will be repeating myself from posts that I have done in the past, but I want to focus on just a few aspects of this text this morning as we continue to crawl through 1 Timothy.

Notice the phrase "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (v.7). Notice the very first two words, "discipline yourself." "Discipline" comes from the Greek word gumnazo from which we have derived our English word "gymnasium." This word gumnazo was used very often in ancient Greek secular writings. It is an athletic term. Specifically it refers to one who is practicing naked time and time again in intense and rigorous training for an athletic competition.

The same word (and concept) is used in Hebrews 12 when "auctor" [this is the beloved title I have given to the writer of Hebrews because I have no idea who it is. All I know is that it is not the Apostle Paul] writes:

Hebrews 12:11 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained (gegumnasiois) by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Back to 1 Timothy 7. Notice the verb "Discipline yourself!" is in the singular. YOU must take the active form of disciplining yourself. Second of all, it is a present imperative. YOU must constantly, habitually, as a life-long practice be training yourself for Godliness.

In a 6th c. AD context, the word is used "to devote oneself to one's calling." Furthermore, here, specifically in this text, the idea demands concentration on what is inward instead of externally dualistic asceticism (TDNT, 1:775).

Well, what is the purpose of this rigorous and intense training? Verse eight gives the answer: "since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." We must discipline ourselves for godliness because only godliness holds the promise for the present life as well as the one to come. Do you want to be prepared for the life to come? Then be diligently "going to the gym baby!" Train your mind. Saturate your mind with the Word. Live constantly knowing that the eye of your Creator is watching your every move. Work at it! Work at it! Work at it!


Anonymous said...

hey geoff
who needs the gym when you've got intense soccer matches and deadly dodgeball games in the gym?

thanks again for the call! c u sunday!

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