6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
11 These things command and teach.
instruct (v.6) = lit. “place under,” remind
brethren (v.6) = lit. “from the same womb”
these things (v.6) — those things just taught in verses 1-5
good (v.6 — 2x) = intrinsically good, good in and of itself
minister (v.6) = servant — the same Greek word translated “deacon” in 1 Timothy 3:8
nourished (v.6) = constantly nourishing yourself
words of faith (v.6) = lit. “words of the faith” — doctrine — not just words that express faith
doctrine (v.6) = lit. “the doctrine,” teaching, instruction
carefully followed (v.6) — followed with diligent practice, attended closely
reject (v.7) = refuse, have nothing to do with, shun
profane (v.7) = having no connection or relation to God, secular
fables (v.7) = myths, falsehoods, stories (See 1 Timothy 1:4)
exercise (v.7) — constant exercise, spiritual training
toward (v.7) = with a view to
godliness (v.7) = reverence, respect
profits a little (v.8) — lit. “profits for a little” — in contrast to godliness, which is profitable for all things. — So, bodily exercise is profitable for this life only, but godliness is profitable for this life and that to come.
The words, “bodily exercise,” are found in a parallel passage from Seneca. This renders it almost certain that the primary reference is to gymnastic exercises. The context in which it is found in our Timothy passage refers this bodily exercise to an absurd and profane theosophy of which discipline of the body was the chief or only practical expression. The contrast then is not so much between bodily exercise commonly so called, and piety, as between piety (which includes a discipline of the body) and this asceticism spoken of in the context, that absurd and profane theosophy of which the just-mentioned authority speaks. Paul is not referring here to gymnastic exercises as such, and therefore what he says about their value, cannot be inferred from his remarks here. He is referring to ascetic practices which took the form of physical exercise. — Wuest, pages 70-71
[This] is an answer to those who would discipline their followers by forbidding them to marry or commanding them to abstain from food. These restrictions, they say, bring health to the soul, but … it is not by mortification of the body that we grow spiritually, but by the study of the Word, and true godliness. — Stam, page 101
Verse 9 refers back to what was just written.
for (v.10) = unto this — unto the end of achieving godliness
labor (v.10) = toil involving weariness — to the point of exhaustion
and (v.10) — indicates increase — “we labor, yea strive”
suffer reproach (v.10) — some manuscripts have the Greek word that means this, but others have another word that means “strive,” from which we get our word for “agony.” — contending as in public games (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27) — persevering against opposition
we trust (v.10) = lit. “we have hoped” — the tense indicates a continuing action — faith in the certainty of the fulfillment of God’s promises which is so secure that we realize it as a present truth
Savior of all (v.10) — One could find in this statement the idea that God is the Preserver of the entire human race in the sense of His providential care. But the context, which brings in the idea of faith, seems to indicate that the idea of salvation from sin and the impartation of eternal life is the function here of God as Savior. He is Savior of all men in the sense that our Lord is “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). He is the actual Savior of those who believe, and the potential Savior of the unbeliever in the sense that He has provided a salvation at the Cross for the sinner, and stands ready to save that sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus. — Wuest, page 72