A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 1: Biblical Foundations: Human Body, Fitness and Care 10 Biblical Theological Foundations of Physical Fitness and Body Care Though the Bible is not primarily about physical fitness and the care of the human body, that does not mean that the Bible does not address how Christians should think about these issues. How does this biblical theology of human embodiment described above affect the way that Christians should think about using their bodies? Even if it is not the main point of Paul’s argument, we can also ask what is the value in physical discipline and exertion that Paul describes incidentally (1 Tim. 4:8)? What biblical categories or concepts should be primary when the Christian thinks about physical fitness and wellness? Worship. Often people equate worship with singing, and this certainly is one form of worship (Rev. 5:9-10). However, the concept of worship is more encompassing than that. Paul tells us that we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and that this is our reasonable worship” (Rom. 12:1). As such, worship, which can be defined as ascribing worth and praise to God, is done as we offer our entire lives to him as a living sacrifice. This means all of life should be viewed in some measure as worship before God. This then includes something like exercise, which, the apostle Paul states, is of some value (1 Tim. 4:8). Your time in exercise can and should be done as an expression of worship to God. It is a chance to humble yourself and recognize that any level of fitness or athletic ability you possess is because God granted that to you (1 Cor. 4:7). Thus, worship can be accomplished in exercise by humbly thanking God for the gift of physical exertion. Also, stewarding all that God has given is an act of worship. Therefore, steward your body well, putting it through physical exertion as a means of worshipping God and for the sake of being able to use your body to worship him in a variety of ways for years to come, if he so wills. Stewardship. The claim that a Christian should be a good steward of his body is an extension of the claim that everything belongs to God. The Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14–30) is a vivid description of God entrusting to people certain things and requiring that they make good use of them for his glory. Because God rightly owns everything, we will give an account for how we steward or faithfully use everything that is entrusted to us. This call for faithful stewardship includes how we use our bodies for his glory: for holiness not impurity, for worship not idolatry, and for gospel ministry not idleness or indifference. Effectiveness in ministry. God created the human body to be active, and it is a modern convenience that many people do not need to be active to earn a living. In the New Testament, Paul’s ministry is an example of the physical exertion of travel, manual labor, and tireless preaching in order to minister to others (1 Cor. 15:10; Col. 1:29). There are numerous practical benefits resulting from physical exercise