1 Timothy 4:7-10 (Striving For Godliness)

1Ti 4:7-8                 What does 1Ti 4:8 teach us about the nature of the “worldly fables” he mentions in 1Ti 4:7?  See also 1Ti 4:3, Col 2:20-23.  What does Paul mean that they are “fit only for old women” (KJV and NIV = “old wives’ tales”; literally “profane and old-womanish myths”)?  Is it like Paul to speak disparagingly of older women?  See 1Ti 5:2-3, 2 Tim 1:5, Rom 16:1.  In light of the Scripture that filled and ruled the apostle’s heart, is it more likely that he used the term “old-womanish” to communicate that the myths to which some in Ephesus were giving there attention were “silly” or “foolish” (as some modern versions translate), or that they are fit only for those who like old women are not able to provide for themselves and must depend upon others for their daily bread?  See 1Ti 5:9, Acts 6:1.  See also 2 Tim 3:6.  Have we the spiritual strength to discern the truth for ourselves and resist the many carnal speculations that prevail today, or are we “old women” in our ability to provide for ourselves so that we must depend upon others for whatever spiritual sustenance we might receive?  See also Mat 25:9.

Instead of engaging himself in the strange doctrines and profane speculations to which some were paying attention, for what purpose was Timothy to exert his energies?  Recall that “godliness” means to be devout, holy, pious, reverent, and refers to a pure attitude of the heart that fears God and sincerely desires to be like Him in all His moral attributes; how does this godliness to which Paul exhorts Timothy differ in character from the “bodily discipline” advocated by the false teachers?  See 1Ti 1:5-7 and again Col 2:20-23.  How is true godliness superior to the commandments and teachings of men that speak only to outward appearance?  See 1Ti 4:8.

1Ti 4:9-10               How does Paul emphasize the importance of godliness in these verses?  Notice that this third of Paul’s trustworthy statements is one of two that he commends as being “deserving of full acceptance”, on a par with that in 1Ti 1:15 which was the substance of the gospel itself.

Note: “discipline” in 1Ti 4:7 (KJV = exercise, NIV = train) translates the Greek word gumnazo from which we get our word “gymnasium”; in 1Ti 4:10 “labor” means to toil, such as a hard working farmer (2 Tim 2:6) and “strive” comes from the Greek word agonizomai, from which we get our English word “agonize”; for what would the false teachers have people discipline themselves and labor and strive?  Is the pursuit of true godliness any less strenuous?  How does the discipline and striving for true godliness differ from that for a form of godliness?  See Heb 5:14 and note that the former is spiritual while the latter is carnal and fleshly.

Why does Paul say in 1Ti 4:10 that we are to labor and strive for godliness?  See also 1Ti 5:5.  What is the implication for those who would fix their hope of salvation upon the living God?  Upon what were the false teachers fixing their hope, and for what did it cause them to labor and strive?  See Mark 7:6-8, Col 2:20-23, Tit 1:14-15.  Upon what might those who are rich in this world fix their hope, and for what would it cause them to labor and strive?  See 1Ti 6:17.  What is the relationship between true godliness and true salvation, and a form of godliness and a false security that one is saved when he is not?

When Paul says that God is the Savior of all men, does that mean that all men will be saved?  What words in 1Ti 4:10 indicate that Paul was not advocating universalism (the belief that all men will be saved)?  See also Jn 8:24.  How do his words here contradict the belief of some that Christ died only for the elect and is not the Savior of all men?  See also 1Ti 2:4.

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