What Does 'bodily exercise profiteth little' Mean?

By David J. Stewart | January 2012

1st Timothy 4:8, “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.”

       Most Bible students misinterpret this Scripture, thinking it is speaking of physical exercise. That has nothing to do with this passage of Scripture. To understand this Bible verse you need to compare it to the context of the surrounding Verses...

1st Timothy 4:1-3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

The word “exercise” is the Greek word gumnasia and means “training.” It's the word from which we get our English word “gymnasium.” The word “bodily” is the Greek word somatikos and means “corporeal or physical.” The word “corporeal” is defined as “having material or physical form or substance.” Thus, the Bible is speaking here about the training which involves things which have material or physical form or substance. Instead of exercising by lifting weights at a the gym, the Bible rather speaking about the religious your exercising religious training with cups and pots. 

The Bible is speaking about doctrines in this Chapter of 1st Timothy. This is the subject... DOCTRINES. Doctrines are critically important to the Christian. Satan has infiltrated most churches with false teachings, which 1st Timothy 4:1 calls “doctrines of devils.” Literally, these are the “teachings of demons.” Notice what Colossians 2:20-22 says...

Colossians 2:20-22, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?”

The “bodily exercise” which profiteth little are religious rituals, manmade traditions, ceremonies and formalism (the touch not, taste not, handle not doctrines of men). 1st Timothy 4:7 commands...

1st Timothy 4:7, “But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”

The word “profane” means “heathenism, wicked.” The word “fables” means “a tale, fiction, myth.” The word “refuse” means to “deprecate (to express strong disapproval of, deplore), decline, shun.” The Bible tells Christians to strongly express their disapproval of lies and false teachings. We are to refuse any myth, fiction or tale that goes against the holy Scriptures.

In particular, 1st Timothy 4:1-3 exposes the demonic teachings of celibacy and abstaining from meats. The Bible practically gives us the address of the Vatican in Rome. Roman Catholicism's unbiblical tradition which forbids eating meat on Fridays is a doctrine of demons.

Here is a direct quote from Catholic cannon law, which is quoted on dozens of Catholic websites...

Canon 1251

Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

SOURCE: Outside of Lent, do we have to do anything special on Fridays? | Catholic Answers

Canon Law still requires that Catholics not eat meat on Fridays! This is a fable, fiction, a doctrine of demons.

Another teaching of demons is celibacy for Catholic priests. The Vatican also prohibits Catholic priests from getting married (which is why homosexuality is such a big problem amongst priests). The Bible clearly calls these false teachings “doctrines of devils” in 1st Timothy 4:1. Even the Catholic Douay version of the Bible contains the same Scriptures. No wonder Catholics are discouraged by their priests from reading the Bible.

Canon 277

Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.

SOURCE: Code of Canon Law - Intra Text

Whereas most churchgoers are relaxed and indifferent concerning differences in denominational doctrines, God is intensely against manmade traditions that contradict the Scriptures... even calling them doctrine OF DEMONS. Literally, you are sitting in Satan's Sunday school class, learning the doctrines of devils (which is idolatry).

In 1st Timothy 4:7, “bodily exercise” clearly does not refer to physical exercise, because the context of the entire passage is about doctrinal integrity. We are talking about doctrines inspired by demonic spirits verses Biblical teachings. Demons are spirits which can influence the spirit of a man. This is the danger of worldly music, books, magazines, plays, movies, et cetera. Anything that conveys ideas, teachings, opinions or principles has a spiritual nature to it. The Bible tells us to try (test) the spirits in 1st John 4:1. We test the spirit of something by shining the Light of God's Word upon it. The best way to expose darkness is to shine the Light of the Bible.

God is warning us about false prophets in the Last Days. They are departed from the faith. They've never been saved to begin with. They've heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but have rejected it, pursuing religion instead, having their conscience seared with a hot iron. 1st Timothy 4:1-3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

There are many demonic teachings being taught in our churches today. I recently learned that 84,262 International Churches of Christ teach the devilish doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration (that is, the teaching that water baptism washes sins away and is required in order to get to Heaven). The Bible strongly condemns Baptismal Regeneration.

Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, Lutherans, Catholics, and Church of Christ are just a few of the hundreds of mainstream religious denominations which REQUIRE (add) water baptism to be saved in Jesus Christ. Thankfully, we can KNOW from the Bible that water baptism is NOT necessary to get to Heaven. No one in the Old Testament was water baptized. There's only ONE gospel (Acts 10:43; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Apostle John (as God's pen) wrote the Epistles of 1st John I, II and III. In 1st John 5:13 John says he wrote his Epistle so that believers could KNOW that they're saved. 1st John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Amen! John doesn't mention water baptism even once in all three Epistles. Surely, if water baptism were mandatory for salvation, then John would have said to make sure you've been baptized; BUT HE DID NOT!

Also, please take note that John did NOT mention the demonic doctrine of Speaking In Tongues either. The damnable Charismatic (Pentecostal) religion has been teaching for the past two centuries that Speaking-in-Tongues is proof (a sign) of salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, if Speaking in some unknown jibber-jabber were required for salvation, then John would have mentioned it.

The “bodily exercise” which profiteth little are the physical rituals, manmade traditions, ceremonies and formalism (the touch not, taste not, handle not doctrines of men). Jesus warned the religious Jews that they had made the Word of God useless by their manmade traditions (the washing of pots and cups). These are the “bodily exercises” that are not profitable; but godliness is profitable unto ALL THINGS (1st Timothy 4:8). Jesus made clear that obedience to the Word of God is what profits a man...

Mark 7:7-9 and 13, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

1st Chronicles 16:31, "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth."

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ―John Wesley

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Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

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