The Meaning of 1 Timothy 4:7 Explained

1 Timothy 4:7

KJV: But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

YLT: and the profane and old women's fables reject thou, and exercise thyself unto piety,

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

ASV: but refuse profane and old wives fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness:

What does 1 Timothy 4:7 Mean?

Context Summary

1 Timothy 4:1-8 - Reject False And Foolish Teaching
We have here the Apostle's forecast of the last times, i.e., the condition in which men will find themselves as the age draws to a close. Notwithstanding all that Christ has done, the prevalence of evil will be enormous, not because of any failure in God but because the Church has failed to be the organ through which His saving help could reach mankind. The symptoms are set forth with great clearness, such as demon spirits dwelling and working in men, error taught under the specious guise of excessive religious devotion, consciences seared, natural instincts thwarted and outraged. On the contrary, let us believe that the whole body, and all gifts that are natural and innocent, are to be cherished and used under three sanctions:
1.They must be accepted and enjoyed with thanksgiving to the Creator and Father.
2.They must be sanctioned by the Word of God.
3.Their use and enjoyment must, not interfere with our prayer-life.
The minister of Christ must be daily nourished by the words of Christian truth. If he is not fed on Christ's body and blood, his teaching will soon deteriorate, John 6:1-71. He must also exercise himself in godliness with as much care as the gymnast, who is continually exercising his joints and muscles so as to keep supple and alert. This is also God's purpose in the spiritual trials and discipline which He sends. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Timothy 4

1  He foretells that in the latter times there shall be a departure from the faith
6  And to the end that Timothy might not fail in doing his duty, he furnishes him with various precepts

Greek Commentary for 1 Timothy 4:7

Refuse [παραιτου]
Present middle imperative second person singular of παραιτεω — paraiteō old verb, to ask of one and then to beg off from one as in Luke 14:18.; Acts 25:11; 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:23. [source]
Profane [βεβηλους]
See note on 2 Timothy 1:9. Old wives‘ fables (γραωδεις μυτους — graōdeis muthous). On μυτος — muthos see note on 2 Timothy 1:4. Γραωδεις — Graōdeis late word (Strabo, Galen) from γραυς — graus old woman, and ειδος — eidos (look, appearance). Such as old women tell to children like the Gnostic aeons. Exercise thyself Present active imperative of γυμναζω — gumnazō originally to exercise naked Old and common verb, but in N.T. only here and Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 12:11. [source]
Old wives‘ fables [γραωδεις μυτους]
On μυτος — muthos see note on 2 Timothy 1:4. Γραωδεις — Graōdeis late word (Strabo, Galen) from γραυς — graus old woman, and ειδος — eidos (look, appearance). Such as old women tell to children like the Gnostic aeons. [source]
Exercise thyself [γυμναζε σεαυτον]
Present active imperative of γυμναζω — gumnazō originally to exercise naked Old and common verb, but in N.T. only here and Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 12:11. [source]
Shun [παραιτοῦ]
Comp. 1 Timothy 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:10. oP. The primary meaning is to ask as a favor (Mark 15:6; Hebrews 12:19). Mostly in this sense in lxx, as 1 Samuel 20:6, 1 Samuel 20:28. To deprecate; to prevent the consequences of an act by protesting against and disavowing it, as Luke href="/desk/?q=lu+14:18&sr=1">Luke 14:18, Luke 14:19; 4Macc. 11:2. To decline, refuse, avoid, as here, Acts 25:11; Hebrews 12:25. [source]
N.T.oolxx. From γραῦς an old woman , and εἶδος form Fables [μύθους]
See on 1 Timothy 1:4, and comp. 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16. [source]
Profane []
See on 1 Timothy 1:9, and comp. 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16; Hebrews 12:16. [source]
Old wives' [γραωδεις]
N.T.oolxx. From γραῦς anold woman, and εἶδος formFables ( μύθους )See on 1 Timothy 1:4, and comp. 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16. [source]
Exercise [γύμναζε]
oP. Only here in Pastorals. Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 12:11; 2 Peter 2:14. From γυμνός nakedIn Class. Of training naked in gymnastic exercises; also, metaphorically, of training for or practicing an art or profession. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Timothy 4:7

1 Corinthians 9:24 In a race [ἐν σταδίῳ]
Or, better, in a race-course. From ἵστημι toplace or establish. Hence a stated distance; a standard of length. In all other New-Testament passages it is used of a measure of length, and is rendered furlong, representing 606.75 English feet. From the fact that the race-courses were usually of exactly this length, the word was applied to the race-course itself. The position chosen for the stadium was usually on the side of a hill, which would furnish a natural slope for seats; a corresponding elevation on the opposite side, being formed by a mound of earth, and the seats being supported upon arches. The stadium was oblong in shape, and semicircular at one end; though, after the Roman conquest of Greece, both ends were often made semicircular. A straight wall shut in the area at one end, and here were the entrances and the starting-place for the runners. At the other end was the goal, which, like the starting-point, was marked by a square pillar. Half-way between these was a third pillar. On the first pillar was inscribed excel; on the second, hasten; on the third, turn, since the racers turned round the column to go back to the starting-point. The isthmus of Corinth was the scene of the Isthmian games, one of the four great national festivals of the Greeks. The celebration was a season of great rejoicing and feasting. The contests included horse, foot, and chariot-racing; wrestling, boxing, musical and poetical trials, and later, fights of animals. The victor's prize was a garland of pine leaves, and his victory was generally celebrated in triumphal odes called epinikia of which specimens remain among the poems of Pindar. At the period of Paul's epistles the games were still celebrated, and the apostle himself may very probably have been present. At the same time, he would have been familiar with similar scenes in Tarsus, in all the great cities of Asia Minor, especially Ephesus, and even in Jerusalem. Metaphors and allusions founded upon such spectacles abound in Paul's writings. Racers, 1 Corinthians 9:24; boxers, 1 Corinthians 9:26, 1 Corinthians 9:27; gladiators fighting with beasts, 1 Corinthians 15:32; the judge awarding the prize, 2 Timothy 4:8; the goal and the prize, 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philemon 3:14; the chaplet, 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:8, the training for the contest, 1 Timothy 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:8; the rules governing it, 2 Timothy 2:5; the chariot-race, Philemon 3:14. These images never occur in the gospels. See on of life, Revelation 2:10. [source]
1 Timothy 4:8 Bodily exercise [ἡ σωματικὴ γυμνασία]
With γυμνασία comp. γύμναζε , 1 Timothy 4:7. N.T.o Σωματικός bodilyonly here and Luke 3:22. olxx. The adverb σωματικῶς bodily-wise Colossians 2:9. The words are to be taken in their literal sense as referring to physical training in the palaestra - boxing, racing, etc. Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Some, however, find in them an allusion to current ascetic practices; against which is the statement that such exercise is profitable, though only for a little. [source]
1 Timothy 1:9 Unholy - profane [ἀνοσίοις - βεβήλοις]
Ἁνοσιος unholyPastoSee on holiness, Luke 1:75. Βέβηλος profanecomp. 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16; Hebrews 12:16. The verb βεβηλοῦν toprofane, Matthew 12:5; Acts 24:6, and often in lxx. Derived from βηλός threshold(comp. βαίνειν togo ). Hence the primary sense is that may be trodden. Comp. Lat. Profanus before the temple, on the ground outside. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Esau is called βέβηλος in Hebrews 12:16, as one who did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need. [source]
1 Timothy 1:4 Fables [μύθοις]
Μῦθος , in its widest sense, means word, speech, conversation or its subject. Hence the talk of men, rumour, report, a saying, a story, true or false; later, a fiction as distinguished from λόγος ahistoric tale. In Attic prose, commonly a legend of prehistoric Greek times. Thus Plato, Repub. 330 D, οἱ λεγόμενοι μῦθοι περὶ τῶν ἐν Ἅΐδου whatare called myths concerning those in Hades. Only once in lxx, 2Peter href="/desk/?q=2pe+1:16&sr=1">2 Peter 1:16. As to its exact reference here, it is impossible to speak with certainty. Expositors are hopelessly disagreed, some referring it to Jewish, others to Gnostic fancies. It is explained as meaning traditional supplements to the law, allegorical interpretations, Jewish stories of miracles, Rabbinical fabrications, whether in history or doctrine, false doctrines generally, etc. It is to be observed that μῦθοι are called Jewish in Titus 1:14. In 1 Timothy 4:7, they are described as profane and characteristic of old wives. In 2 Timothy 4:4, the word is used absolutely, as here. [source]
1 Timothy 4:7 Refuse [παραιτου]
Present middle imperative second person singular of παραιτεω — paraiteō old verb, to ask of one and then to beg off from one as in Luke 14:18.; Acts 25:11; 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:23. [source]
1 Timothy 5:11 But younger widows refuse [νεωτερας δε χηρας παραιτου]
Present middle imperative as in 1 Timothy 4:7. “Beg off from.” They lack experience as above and they have other ambitions. [source]
1 Timothy 1:10 The sound doctrine [τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ]
A phrase peculiar to the Pastorals. Ὑγιαίνειν tobe in good health, Luke 5:31; Luke 7:10; 3 John 1:2. oP. Quite frequent in lxx, and invariably in the literal sense. Often in salutations or dismissals. See 9:19; 2Samuel href="/desk/?q=2sa+14:8&sr=1">2 Samuel 14:8; Exodus 4:18. In the Pastorals, the verb, which occurs eight times, is six times associated with διδασκαλία teachingor λόγοι wordsand twice with ἐν τῇ πίστει or τῇ πίστει inthe faith. The sound teaching (comp. διδαχή teaching 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9) which is thus commended is Paul's, who teaches in Christ's name and by his authority (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:2, 2 Timothy 2:8). In all the three letters it is called ἀλη.θεια or ἡ ἀλήθεια thetruth, the knowledge ( ἐπίγνωσις ) of which is bound up with salvation. See 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Timothy 3:7; Titus 1:1. As truth it is sound or healthful. It is the object of faith. To be sound in the faith is, practically, to follow ( παρακολουθεῖν ) sound teaching or the truth. The subjective characteristic of Christians is εὐσέβεια or θεοσέβεια godlinessor piety (1 Timothy 2:2, 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:6, 1 Timothy 6:11); and the teaching and knowledge of the truth are represented as κατ ' εὐσέβειαν accordingto godliness (1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:1). Comp. εὐσεβεῖν toshow piety, 1 Timothy 5:4. εὐσεβῶς ζῇν to live godly, 2 Timothy 3:12; Titus 2:12; and βίον διάγειν ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ tolead a life in all godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2. The contents of this sound teaching which is according to godliness are not theoretical or dogmatic truth, but Christian ethics, with faith and love. See 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:2. Ἁλήθεια truthis used of moral things, rather than in the high religious sense of Paul. Comp., for instance, Romans 3:7; Romans 9:1; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 2:5; Ephesians 4:21, Ephesians 4:24; and 2 Timothy 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:26; 2 Timothy 3:7(comp. 2 Timothy 3:1-9); 2 Timothy 4:3, 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:12(comp. Titus 1:11, Titus 1:15); Titus 2:4(comp. Titus 2:1, Titus 2:3); Titus 3:1. Whoever grasps the truth has faith (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:3f.). That the ethical character of faith is emphasized, appears from the numerous expressions regarding the false teachers, as 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:21. There is a tendency to objectify faith, regarding it as something believed rather than as the act of believing. See 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:21; Titus 1:4. In comparing the ideal of righteousness (1 Timothy 1:9) with that of Paul, note that it is not denied that Christ is the source of true righteousness; but according to Paul, the man who is not under the law is the man who lives by faith in Christ. Paul emphasizes this. It is faith in Christ which sets one free from the law. Here, the man for whom the law is not made (1 Timothy 1:9) is the man who is ethically conformed to the norm of sound teaching. The two conceptions do not exclude each other: the sound teaching is according to the gospel (1 Timothy 1:11), but the point of emphasis is shifted.| [source]
1 Timothy 1:4 To fables [μυτοις]
Dative case of old word for speech, narrative, story, fiction, falsehood. In N.T. only 2 Peter 1:16; 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:14; 2 Timothy 4:4. Genealogies (γενεαλογιαις — genealogiais). Dative of old word, in lxx, in N.T. only here and Titus 3:9. Endless Old verbal compound (from α — a privative and περαινω — perainō to go through), in lxx, only here in N.T. Excellent examples there for old words used only in the Pastorals because of the subject matter, describing the Gnostic emphasis on aeons. Questionings (εκζητησεις — ekzētēseis). “Seekings out.” Late and rare compound from εκζητεω — ekzēteō (itself Koiné{[28928]}š word, Romans 3:11 from lxx and in papyri). Here only in N.T. Simplex ζητησις — zētēsis in Acts 15:2; 1 Timothy 6:4; Titus 3:9; 2 Timothy 2:23. A dispensation Pauline word (1 Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:9; 1 Timothy 1:4), Luke 16:2-4 only other N.T. examples. In faith (εν πιστει — en pistei). Pauline use of πιστις — pistis f0). [source]
2 Timothy 3:15 To make thee wise [σε σοφίσαι]
Only hero and 2 Peter 1:16. See note there on cunningly devised. To give thee understanding of that which lies behind the letter; to enable thee to detect in the Old Testaments. books various hidden allusions to Christ; to draw from the Old Testaments the mystery of messianic salvation, and to interpret the Old Testaments with Christ as the key. This gives significance to the following words through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ was the key of Scripture, and through faith in him Scripture became a power unto salvation. The false teachers also had their learning but used it in expounding Jewish fables, genealogies, etc. Hence, their expositions, instead of making wise unto salvation, were vain babblings; profane and old wives' fables (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:16). Const. through faith, etc., with make wise, not with salvation. [source]
2 Timothy 3:12 Godly [εὐσεβῶς]
Only here and Titus 2:12. Comp. κατ ' εὐσέβειαν accordingto godliness, 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:1; and ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ inall godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2. See also 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:11, and on godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2. [source]
2 Timothy 2:23 Avoid [παραιτοῦ]
See on 1 Timothy 4:7. Better, refuse or decline. [source]
2 Timothy 2:23 Refuse [παραιτου]
See note on 1 Timothy 4:7. They gender strifes (γεννωσιν μαχας — gennōsin machas). Present active indicative of old and common verb γενναω — gennaō (Romans 9:11). “They beget battles.” See note on 2 Timothy 2:14. [source]
Titus 3:10 Refuse [παραιτου]
Present middle imperative of παραιτεω — paraiteō to ask from, to beg off from. See same form in 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11. Possibly an allusion here to Christ‘s directions in Matthew 18:15-17. [source]
Hebrews 5:14 Exercised [γεγυμνασμένα]
See on 2 Peter 2:14, and see on 1 Timothy 4:7. [source]
Hebrews 12:25 See - refuse [βλέπετε - παραιτήσησθε]
For βλέπετε seesee on Hebrews 3:12. For παραιτήσησθε refusesee on 1 Timothy 4:7. [source]
Hebrews 12:19 Entreated [παρῃτήσαντο]
See on 1 Timothy 4:7. [source]
Hebrews 12:11 Unto them which are exercised thereby [τοῖς δἰ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις]
Who have been subjected to the severe discipline of suffering, and have patiently undergone it. For the verb see on 1 Timothy 4:7. Rend. “it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.” This preserves the Greek order, and puts righteousness in its proper, emphatic position. [source]
Hebrews 12:11 Not joyous, but grievous [ου χαρασ αλλα λυπης]
Predicate ablative (springing from) or predicate genitive (marked by). Either makes sense, but note predicate ablative in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (καρπον ειρηνικον — kai tou theou kai mē ex hēmōn). Peaceable fruit (ειρηνη — karpon eirēnikon). Old adjective from δι αυτης γεγυμνασμενοις — eirēnē (peace), in N.T. only here and James 3:17. Peaceable after the chastening is over. Exercised thereby (γυμναζω — di' autēs gegumnasmenois). Perfect passive participle (dative case) of gumnazō state of completion, picturing the discipline as a gymnasium like Hebrews 5:14; 1 Timothy 4:7. [source]
Hebrews 12:11 For the present [προς το παρον]
A classical phrase (Thucydides), προς — pros with the accusative neuter singular articular participle of παρειμι — pareimi to be beside. Not joyous, but grievous Predicate ablative (springing from) or predicate genitive (marked by). Either makes sense, but note predicate ablative in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (καρπον ειρηνικον — kai tou theou kai mē ex hēmōn). Peaceable fruit (ειρηνη — karpon eirēnikon). Old adjective from δι αυτης γεγυμνασμενοις — eirēnē (peace), in N.T. only here and James 3:17. Peaceable after the chastening is over. Exercised thereby (γυμναζω — di' autēs gegumnasmenois). Perfect passive participle (dative case) of gumnazō state of completion, picturing the discipline as a gymnasium like Hebrews 5:14; 1 Timothy 4:7. [source]
Hebrews 12:19 Unto blackness [γνοπωι]
Dative case of γνοπος — gnophos (late form for earlier δνοπος — dnophos and kin to νεπος — nephos cloud), here only in N.T. Quoted here from Exodus 10:22. Darkness Old word, in Homer for the gloom of the world below. In the Symmachus Version of Exodus 10:22, also in Judges 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4, 2 Peter 2:15. Tempest Old word from τυω — thuō (to boil, to rage), a hurricane, here only in N.T. From Exodus 10:22. The sound of a trumpet From Exodus 19:16. Εχος — Echos is an old word (our εχο — echo) as in Luke 21:25; Acts 2:2. The voice of words From Exodus 19:19; Deuteronomy 4:12. Which voice Relative referring to πωνη — phōnē (voice) just before, genitive case with ακουσαντες — akousantes (heard, aorist active participle). Intreated First aorist middle (indirect) indicative of παραιτεομαι — paraiteomai old verb, to ask from alongside (Mark 15:6), then to beg away from oneself, to depreciate as here, to decline (Acts 25:11), to excuse (Luke 14:18), to avoid (1 Timothy 4:7). That no word should be spoken unto them First aorist passive infinitive of προστιτημι — prostithēmi old word to add, here with accusative of general reference (λογον — logon), “that no word be added unto them.” Some MSS. have here a redundant negative μη — mē with the infinitive because of the negative idea in παρηιτησαντο — parēitēsanto as in Galatians 5:7. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Timothy 4:7 mean?

- But profane and silly fables refuse Train rather yourself to godliness
Τοὺς δὲ βεβήλους καὶ γραώδεις μύθους παραιτοῦ γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν πρὸς εὐσέβειαν

Τοὺς  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
βεβήλους  profane 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: βέβηλος  
Sense: accessible, lawful to be trodden.
γραώδεις  silly 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: γραώδης  
Sense: old womanish, old wives, an old woman.
μύθους  fables 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: μῦθος  
Sense: a speech, word, saying.
παραιτοῦ  refuse 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Middle or Passive, 2nd Person Singular
Root: παραιτέομαι  
Sense: to ask along side, beg to have near one.
γύμναζε  Train 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: γυμνάζω  
Sense: to exercise naked (in a palaestra or school of athletics).
δὲ  rather 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
σεαυτὸν  yourself 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative Masculine 2nd Person Singular
Root: σεαυτοῦ  
Sense: thyself, thee.
εὐσέβειαν  godliness 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: εὐσέβεια  
Sense: reverence, respect.