1 Timothy 4:8
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
for bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but piety is profitable for everything, having promise of life, of the present one, and of that to come.

World English Bible
For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come.

Young's Literal Translation
for the bodily exercise is unto little profit, and the piety is to all things profitable, a promise having of the life that now is, and of that which is coming;

1 Timothy 4:8 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For bodily exercise profiteth little - Margin, "for a little time." The Greek will admit of either interpretation, and what is here affirmed is true in either sense. The bodily exercise to which the apostle refers is of little advantage compared with that piety which he recommended Timothy to cultivate, and whatever advantage could be derived from it, would be but of short duration. "Bodily exercise" here refers, doubtless, to the mortifications of the body by abstinence and penance which the ancient devotees, and particularly the Essenes, made so important as a part of their religion. The apostle does not mean to say that bodily exercise is in itself improper, or that no advantage can be derived from it in the preservation of health, but he refers to it solely as a means of religion; as supposed to promote holiness of heart and of life. By these bodily austerities it was supposed that the corrupt passions would be subdued, the wanderings of an unholy fancy lettered down, and the soul brought into conformity to God. In opposition to this supposition, the apostle has here stated a great principle which experience has shown to be universally correct, that such austerities do little to promote holiness, but much to promote superstition. There must be a deeper work on the soul than any which can be accomplished by the mere mortification of the body; see the notes on Colossians 2:23, and compare 1 Corinthians 9:25-27.

But godliness - Piety or religion.

Is profitable unto all things - In every respect. There is not an interest of man, in reference to this life, or to the life to come, which it would not promote. It is favorable to health of body, by promoting temperance, industry, and frugality; to clearness and vigor of intellect, by giving just views of truth, and of the relative value of objects; to peace of conscience, by leading to the faithful performance of duty; to prosperity in business, by making a man sober, honest, prudent, and industrious; to a good name, by leading a man to pursue such a course of life as shall deserve it; and to comfort in trial, calmness in death, and immortal peace beyond the grave. Religion injures no one. It does not destroy health; it does not enfeeble the intellect; it does not disturb the conscience; it does not pander to raging and consuming passions; it does not diminish the honor of a good name; it furnishes no subject of bitter reflection on a bed of death.

It makes no one the poorer; it prompts to no crime; it engenders no disease. If a man should do that which would most certainly make him happy, he would be decidedly and conscientiously religious; and though piety promises no earthly possessions directly as its reward, and secures no immunity from sickness, bereavement, and death, yet there is nothing which so certainly secures a steady growth of prosperity in a community as the virtues which it engenders and sustains, and there is nothing else that will certainly meet the ills to which man is subject. I have no doubt that it is the real conviction of every man, that if he ever becomes certainly "happy," he will be a Christian; and I presume that it is the honest belief of every one that the true and consistent Christian is the most happy of people. And yet, with this conviction, people seek everything else rather than religion, and in the pursuit of baubles, which they know cannot confer happiness, they defer religion - the only certain source of happiness at any time - to the last period of life, or reject it altogether.

Having promise of the life that now is - That is, it furnishes the promise of whatever is really necessary for us in this life. The promises of the Scriptures on this subject are abundant, and there is probably not a lack of our nature for which there might not be found a specific promise in the Bible; compare Psalm 23:1; Psalm 84:11; Philippians 4:19. Religion promises us needful food and raiment, Matthew 6:25-33; Isaiah 33:16; comfort in affliction, Deuteronomy 33:27; Job 5:19; Psalm 46:1-11; Hebrews 13:5; support in old age and death, Isaiah 46:4; Psalm 23:4; compare Isaiah 43:2; and a good reputation, an honored name when we are dead; Psalm 37:1-6. There is nothing which man really "needs" in this life, which is not promised by religion; and if the inquiry were made, it would be surprising to many, even with our imperfect religion, how literally these promises are fulfilled. David, near the close of a long life, was able to bear this remarkable testimony on this subject: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread;" Psalm 37:25. And now, of the beggars that come to our doors, to how few of them can we give a cup of cold water, feeling that we are giving it to a disciple! How rare is it that a true Christian becomes a beggar! Of the inmates of our alms-houses, how very few give any evidence that they have religion! They have been brought there by vice, not by religion. True piety sends none to the alms-house; it would have saved the great mass of those who are there from ever needing the charity of their fellow-men.

And of that which is to come - Eternal life. And it is the only thing that "promises" such a life. Infidelity makes no "promise" of future happiness. Its business is to take away all the comforts which religion gives, and to leave people to go to a dark eternity with no promise or hope of eternal joy. Vice "promises" pleasures in the present life, but only to disappoint its votaries here; it makes no promise of happiness in the future world. There is nothing that furnishes any certain "promises" of happiness hereafter, in this world or the next, but religion. God makes no promise of such happiness to beauty, birth, or blood; to the possession of honors or wealth; to great attainments in science and learning, or to the graces of external accomplishment. All these, whatever flattering hopes of happiness they may hold out here, have no assurance of future eternal bliss. It is not by such things that God graduates the rewards of heaven, and it is only "piety" or "true religion" that furnishes any assurance of happiness in the world to come.

1 Timothy 4:8 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Epistle ii. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch.
To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch. Gregory to Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch. I have received the letters of your most sweet Blessedness, which flowed with tears for words. For I saw in them a cloud flying aloft as clouds do; but, though it carried with it a darkness of sorrow, I could not easily discover at its commencement whence it came or whither it was going, since by reason of the darkness I speak of I did not fully understand its origin. Yet it becomes you, most holy ones, ever to recall
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

How Intent the Ruler Ought to be on Meditations in the Sacred Law.
But all this is duly executed by a ruler, if, inspired by the spirit of heavenly fear and love, he meditate daily on the precepts of Sacred Writ, that the words of Divine admonition may restore in him the power of solicitude and of provident circumspection with regard to the celestial life, which familiar intercourse with men continually destroys; and that one who is drawn to oldness of life by secular society may by the aspiration of compunction be ever renewed to love of the spiritual country.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Clergyman and the Prayer Book.
Dear pages of ancestral prayer, Illumined all with Scripture gold, In you we seem the faith to share Of saints and seers of old. Whene'er in worship's blissful hour The Pastor lends your heart a voice, Let his own spirit feel your power, And answer, and rejoice. In the present chapter I deal a little with the spirit and work of the Clergyman in his ministration of the ordered Services of the Church, reserving the work of the Pulpit for later treatment. THE PRAYER BOOK NOT PERFECT BUT INESTIMABLE.
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

Seed Scattered and Taking Root
'And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Cross References
Job 36:11
"If they hear and serve Him, They will end their days in prosperity And their years in pleasures.

Psalm 37:9
For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

Psalm 37:11
But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

Proverbs 22:4
The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches, honor and life.

Matthew 6:33
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 12:32
"Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

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