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The actual Greek word used by Paul in this verse (1 Timothy 4:7) was "mythous", from which the English words "myth" and "mythology" originate, and which perhaps conveys more clearly to an English speaker the type of teaching to which Paul was referring. (In the actual Greek text of this verse, Paul further characterizes these fables as "profane" ("bebelous") and "silly" ("graodeis"). It is this complete phrasing that the King James Version of the Bible renders as "profane and old wives' tales".) In my opinion, Paul meant it to apply to any teachings or practices that were not rooted in the historically-based events associated with the Gospel (that is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as His words) and the establishment of the Christian church, and to the way in which those events had changed, or were different from, existing teachings or practices -- whether they originated from Judaism, or from the non-Jewish cultures in which the early Christian churches were founded (and in which the teachings would have been based purely on human invention or customs, and had no association at all with the God of the Old and New Testaments). Paul refers to some of these teachings or practices in the larger passage from which this verse comes by speaking of commands not to marry, or to abstain from meat or other foods, which some opponents of the Gospel were presenting as essential components for salvation.
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