1 Timothy 4:7
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

New Living Translation
Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.

English Standard Version
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

Berean Study Bible
But reject irreverent and silly myths. Instead, train yourself for godliness.

Berean Literal Bible
But refuse profane and silly fables. Rather, train yourself to godliness.

New American Standard Bible
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

King James Bible
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness,

International Standard Version
Do not have anything to do with godless myths and fables of old women. Instead, train yourself to be godly.

NET Bible
But reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness.

New Heart English Bible
But refuse profane and old wives' tales. Exercise yourself toward godliness.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But abstain from insipid fables of old women and train yourself in righteousness;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't have anything to do with godless myths that old women like to tell. Rather, train yourself to live a godly life.

New American Standard 1977
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

Jubilee Bible 2000
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

King James 2000 Bible
But refuse profane and old wives' tales, and exercise yourself rather unto godliness.

American King James Version
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself rather to godliness.

American Standard Version
but refuse profane and old wives fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness:

Douay-Rheims Bible
But avoid foolish and old wives' fables: and exercise thyself unto godliness.

Darby Bible Translation
But profane and old wives' fables avoid, but exercise thyself unto piety;

English Revised Version
but refuse profane and old wives' fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness:

Webster's Bible Translation
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather to godliness.

Weymouth New Testament
But worldly stories, fit only for credulous old women, have nothing to do with.

World English Bible
But refuse profane and old wives' fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness.

Young's Literal Translation
and the profane and old women's fables reject thou, and exercise thyself unto piety,
Study Bible
A Good Minister of Jesus Christ
6By pointing out these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and sound instruction you have followed. 7But reject irreverent and silly myths. Instead, train yourself for godliness. 8For physical exercise is of limited value, but godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for the present life and for the one to come.…
Cross References
1 Timothy 1:4
or devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculation rather than the stewardship of God's work, which is by faith.

1 Timothy 1:9
We realize that law is not enacted for the righteous, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for killers of father or mother, for murderers,

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical exercise is of limited value, but godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for the present life and for the one to come.

1 Timothy 6:3
If anyone teaches another doctrine and disagrees with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with godly teaching,

1 Timothy 6:5
and constant friction between men of depraved mind who are devoid of the truth. These men regard godliness as a means of gain.

2 Timothy 3:5
having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!

Hebrews 5:14
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained their sensibilities to distinguish good from evil.
Treasury of Scripture

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself rather to godliness.

refuse.

1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister …

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane …

2 Timothy 2:16,23 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more …

2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be …

Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn …

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and …

exercise.

1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister …

1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was …

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, …

Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void …

2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should …

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age…

2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; …

(7) But refuse profane and old wives' fables.--Here Timothy--who has been previously (see 1Timothy 4:1-6) warned against a false asceticism, against putting an unnatural interpretation on the words of Christ, against sympathising with a teaching which would unfit men and women for practical every-day life--is now urged to guard himself against the temptation to give himself up to the favourite and apparently enticing study of the sayings of the famous Jewish Rabbis, in which every book, almost every word--in many cases the letters of the Hebrew Scriptures--were subjected to a keen but profitless investigation. In such study the spirit of the holy writers was too often lost, and only a dry and barren formalism--commands respecting the tithing of mint, and anise, and cummin--remained, while the weightier matters of the law--judgment, justice, and truth--were carefully sifted out. Round the grand old Jewish history all kind of mythical legends grew up, till for a Jewish student of the Rabbinical schools the separation of the true from the false became in many cases impossible--through all this elaborate and careful but almost profitless study. The minister of Christ was to avoid these strange and unusual interpretations, this vast fantastic collection of legends, partly true and partly false. He was to regard them as merely profane and old wives' fables, as being perfectly useless and even harmful in their bearing on practical every-day life.

And exercise thyself rather unto godliness.--Instead of these weary profitless efforts--the painful, useless asceticism on the one hand, and the endless and barren Rabbinic studies of the Law on the other--Timothy, as a good minister of Jesus Christ, was to bestow all his pains and labour to promote an active, healthy, practical piety among the congregation of believers, as we have seen in 1Timothy 4:6, in the words, "ever training thyself." To lead such a life required ceaseless pains and efforts, for true godliness is ever a progressive state. Surely exercising himself unto godliness would be a task hard enough to satisfy the most ardent, the most enthusiastic soul! The "godliness," or "piety," here alluded to, as the end toward which Timothy was to direct all his efforts, was that practical piety which influences for good, which leavens with a holy leaven all classes of society, all life, of the slave as well as of the patrician.

Verse 7. - Unto godliness for rather unto godliness, A.V. The R.V., by putting a full stop after "fables," disturbs the natural flow of the thought. The two imperatives παραιτοῦ and γύμναζε connect and contrast the thoughts in the two clauses of the verse, as the A.V. indicates by the insertion of "rather." Profane (βεβήλους; 1 Timothy 1:9, note) Old wives' (γράωδεις); only here in the New Testament; not used in LXX.; rare in classical Greek. Exercise thyself unto godliness (γύμναζε σευτόν). The verb γυμνάζειν occurs in the New Testament only in this place, twice in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:14; 12:11), and once in 2 Peter (2 Peter 2:14). In the LXX. it occurs only once (2 Macc. 10:15), but is common in classical Greek. The metaphor is drawn from training for gymnastic exercises. As regards the whole passage, it seems that there were current among the Jews at this time many "fables" (1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16), childish legends and doctrines, some of them directed especially to enforcing certain rules about eating and drinking, and other "bodily exercises," which St. Paul utterly discountenances, and contrasts with that "good doctrine" which he directs Timothy continually to teach. This would account, naturally, for the introduction of the phrase, γύμναζε σεαυτόν. But refuse profane and old wives' fables,.... Either Jewish ones, the traditions of the elders; or those of the Gnostics, concerning God, angels, and the creation of the world; or those doctrines of demons, and which forbad marriage, and commanded abstinence from meats before mentioned; which are called profane, because impious and ungodly, and old wives' fables, because foolish and impertinent; and which were to be rejected with abhorrence and contempt, in comparison of the words of faith and good doctrine.

And exercise thyself rather unto godliness; either to the doctrines which are according to godliness, and tend to godly edification, which the above fables did not, study these, meditate on them, digest them, and deliver them to others; or to a godly life and conversation, exercise thyself, to have a conscience void of offence to God and men; or to internal religion, inward godliness, the exercise of the graces of faith, hope, love, fear, reverence, humility, &c. or rather to the spiritual worship of God, according to his will, not in a formal, cold, and customary way, but with the heart, in truth and sincerity, in faith, and with fervency and purity. 7. refuse—reject, avoid, have nothing to do with (2Ti 2:23; Tit 3:10).

old wives' fables—anile myths (1Ti 1:4, 9; Tit 1:14). They are "profane," because leading away from "godliness" or "piety" (1Ti 1:4-7; 6:20; 2Ti 2:16; Tit 1:1, 2).

exercise thyself—literally, "exercise thyself" as one undergoing training in a gymnasium. Let thy self-discipline be not in ascetical exercises as the false teachers (1Ti 4:3, 8; compare 2Ti 2:22, 23; Heb 5:14; 12:11), but with a view to godliness or "piety" (1Ti 6:11, 12).4:6-10 Outward acts of self-denial profit little. What will it avail us to mortify the body, if we do not mortify sin? No diligence in mere outward things could be of much use. The gain of godliness lies much in the promise; and the promises to godly people relate partly to the life that now is, but especially to the life which is to come: though we lose for Christ, we shall not lose by him. If Christ be thus the Saviour of all men, then much more will he be the Rewarder of those who seek and serve him; he will provide well for those whom he has made new creatures.
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