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(1 Timothy 4:8)

8 for bodily training is just slightly beneficial, but godliness is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

I'm would like to get a better understanding as to what is meant by "bodily training is just slightly beneficial"

Even the secular world emphasizes the benefits of physical exercise, please take a look at the following Harvard Health Publishing website's article:

( Reference: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax )

".... Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the "runner's high" and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts...."

Were these kinds of physical effects some of the benefits that the author of the letter of 1 Timothy had in mind when he said "bodily training is just slightly beneficial" ?

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  • Hi user1338998 (feel free to register and add a more friendly name!) - thanks for contributing to the site. Here on BH.SE we're all about the text, and so I've removed most of the contemporary information you were injecting into the question. In hermeneutics, good questions always begin with the text, and that's the right place to set down your anchor for asking about what it means. Adding information about periods and ideas external to the text increases the likelihood of eisegesis.
    – Steve can help
    Oct 4, 2021 at 13:56
  • Excellent points. Good job in the editing. It saves me from reading all the unimportant info. Thanks.
    – user35953
    Oct 4, 2021 at 14:21

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See the contrast in 1 Timothy 4:8:

for bodily training      is just slightly beneficial, 
but godliness            is beneficial for all things

Paul's point here is comparative contrast, NIV:

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Both physical training and godliness are important. However, godliness training is more important particularly for the life to come.

Were these kinds of physical effects some of the benefits that the author of the letter of 1 Timothy had in mind when he said "bodily training is just slightly beneficial" ?

I don't think Paul had in mind adrenaline and cortisol when he wrote this verse. He was more thinking about general physical health and strength.

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    Possibly the point being made was that exercise was, to a point, a good thing but not something to become obsessed about to where it takes precedence over all else in life. Does that mean it's okay to be a couch potato? Maybe, at least to some extent.
    – moron
    Oct 7, 2021 at 4:21

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