Thursday - The Benefit of Spiritual Disciplines

Lesson Scriptures: 1 Timothy 4:1-10

Key Lesson Theme: “The Benefit of Spiritual Disciplines”

Today's Lesson: Thursday, January 21

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1 Timothy 4:7b-10

7b Rather, train yourself in godliness.

8 For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

9 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.

10 For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.


The idea was for Timothy to discipline himself to do things with a focus on godliness, meaning to grow in his relationship with God so as to become more like Him. Paul’s admonition at this point was not to say Timothy was not doing this; it was to urge him to continue to do so. Training in spiritual matters was important to Paul. He would remind Timothy again in a subsequent letter of the need to train in the things of God (2 Tim. 2:15).

Paul looked to athletic training as an example. In the KJV, the phrase, bodily exercise profited little, reads as if such physical discipline has no value. Actually, Paul was affirming the value of physical exercise as preparation for a physical endeavor. “Physical training is of some value” (NIV). But spiritual discipline that leads to godliness has even more. Physical training only applies to this life; the body will eventually wear out and physical life will end. Not so with the things of God and the life of the Spirit. “Godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (ESV). So, if a person dedicates himself to physical training for this life, how much more should be discipline himself for that which is eternal?

Why would both Paul and Timothy endure such labor and suffer reproach? Their service to Christ involved hard work, strenuous effort in the face of resistance, and danger from those who opposed them. But they continued because of their trust in the living God. The word for trust is often rendered “hope,” as it is in NIV, ESV, CSB. Both meanings are applicable in this setting.

He is the Savior of all men. All men denotes all people. This is not a justification for universalism, the claim that everyone will be saved. He has made salvation available through Jesus Christ on the cross; He is truly the Savior of those that believe.

What are some lasting truths from 1 Timothy 4:7b-10?

>Followers of Jesus are to commit themselves to practices that strengthen their relationship with Him and prepare them for faithful living.

>Followers of Jesus are to engage in faithful work for Him, not to earn favor with Him but because of the great hope they have in Him as Savior.

>Jesus came to save the world, but He only becomes Savior to those who believe.

Until tomorrow Saints...

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