I’m now blogging about chapter twenty-three of my book. I love 1 Timothy 4.8 mainly because it’s so often misused by so many people. Many know that I lift weights, play soccer and practice martial arts religiously. It’s been part of my lifestyle for years. A little known fact is that I actually competed at a high level of lifting in my late 30s and even held a sub master lifting record in California for a time. During that time, people were especially concerned that such activities would distract me from my ministry, even though I probably pulled more hours than my well-meaning detractors had. What then is the problem?
The problem is a translation problem. The word for “physical training” is where we get our English word “gymnasium” from but such an anachronistic understanding hurts rather than help our causes. If we look into the meaning of that word, it includes many things other than working out. It also includes dieting and so on. So, there’s your clue. You need to look within context to see what Timothy had to face.
The Bible has been used for all sorts of things even including the neglect of exercise or living a healthy lifestyle. So, for goodness’ sake, please go exercise and eat healthy. You don’t have to look like me (pictured above, photo by Laree Draper of DaveDraper.com ) but you also don’t have to misquote scripture to justify your bad lifestyle choices. A final observation is this. Everyone who has ever quoted this verse to me either looks sickly skinny or has a few spare tires around the waistline. Coincidence? I think not. Misapplication of scriptures can have dire consequences (I’m only half joking).
As I always say, the texts are not at fault. The interpreter is!