What's the Bible say about exercise?


1 Corinthians 9:27

ESV - 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 16 2019 Mini Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the Bible affirms that, for Christians, their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, which God has bought with a price -- the sacrifice of His own Son (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Thus, Christians are responsible for maintaining, disciplining, and channeling their bodies (which is part of the whole process of overcoming "the flesh", and which includes not only fleshly appetites -- such as hunger and sexual desire -- but also the use we make of the bodily strength and physical abilities that God has given us) so that we are equipped to be of maximum use and service to Him and to other humans (especially in evangelizing and serving as role models for the unconverted).

Paul affirms this mindset in the verse cited in the question by speaking of the way in which he physically disciplined his body and made it his servant rather than his master.

The Bible also condemns laziness in several passages -- most notably in Proverbs in verses such as Proverbs 6:6-9, Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 21:25-26, Proverbs 24:30-34, and Proverbs 26:13-16 -- indicating by implication that it is better, or more God-pleasing, to be active (although not referring to exercise by name). 

Aside from this general orientation, a possible reason that occurs to me as to why the Bible might not speak more extensively or specifically about exercise would have been that it would have been unnecessary in that time and culture. Unlike the sedentary routine that people may practice today (at home, on their jobs, or both) the daily lives of ordinary people at that time would have been filled with physical exertion (including walking to get from place to place) to a degree that exercise was considered a "given", and that special Biblical mention of a need for even more of it would have been superfluous.

May 29 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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