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Nestled right in the midst of those incredible 326 English words, translated from the 225 Greek words, into the 16 verses of this chapter: we have the demonstration of genuine spiritual life-coaching, poured out from the heart of Timothy’s father-in-the-faith, Paul.
Look at the basic divisions of this chapter:
Timothy: Expose Evil Doctrines & Teachers (4:1-6a)
Timothy: Nourish your own Soul spiritually (4:6b)
Timothy: Reject all forms of profane & empty living (4:7a)
Timothy: Pursue personal Godliness (4:7b-10)
Timothy: Command and Teach others to Exercise themselves in Godliness (4:11)
Timothy: Live an Exemplary Life (4:12)
Timothy: Attend to Your personal Mastery of God’s Word (4:13)
Timothy: Use the Giftedness God Gave to You (4:14)
Timothy: Devote Yourself to Christ (4:15)
Timothy: Never Stop Regularly Examining Your own Lifestyle (4:16)
But each of these lessons Paul taught to Timothy surround a sense that they were ongoing, not just single-use. In fact, as we look more closely, the Spirit of God inspired Paul to use a word from the arena of sports as a very graphic illustration. Paul packages these spiritual truths in the form of athletic “exercises”, or “disciplines”, or “training sessions”: as the various translations of the Bible render the Greek work in v. 7. Look again with me at 1 Timothy 4:7b in your Bible. Each of you should have one of these before you:
“and exercise yourself toward godliness.” (NKJV)
“ Rather train yourself for godliness;” (ESV)
“ On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;” (NASB)
“rather, train yourself to be godly.” (NIV)
What is so important to note here is that “train yourself to be godly” in its context primarily refers to training ourselves in and by the Scriptures for the purpose of godliness. Our diet is to be the Scriptures, and we are to exercise ourselves in them. We will become godly only through the godliest Book ever written—God’s own Word.
Our diet is to be “every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God”, and we are to exercise ourselves in God’s Word. We can see the key idea of this passage through one of the words that God chose to use to describe what He expects from us.