A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 1: Biblical Foundations: Human Body, Fitness and Care 2 Introduction The primary concern of the Bible is not the same as the primary concern of this textbook. The Bible does not set out primarily to answer the role of physical well-being in the human life. Rather, God’s salvation through Jesus Christ has implications for all of our lives, including issues about fitness, health, and appearance. And because God rightly rules everything, including our bodies, questions about how we use or operate anything must be grounded in the Bible. Unfortunately, many Christians derive their understandings about the human body, physical fitness, and beauty from cultural projections, and these projections often directly contradict the Bible. We begin this chapter by stating and countering common cultural views of the human body and fitness. This section should begin the process of thinking critically about how we understand these issues and challenge us not to be conformed to ungodly views that we might even subconsciously adopt. While the list of misconceptions is nearly endless and constantly changing, the Christian understanding of the body has been fixed since creation and made explicit in Scripture. We begin with an understanding of the human body as foundational for understanding the use of the body, in things such as diet and fitness. Christian thoughts on topics like physical fitness are derived from a proper understanding of the body as the Bible as a whole describes it. With the foundation of a biblical view of the human body, we are in a position to discuss what are the Christian implications for topics like diet, exercise, and appearance. Common Misconceptions about the Body and Physical Fitness Turning on the TV or scrolling through social media instantly presents the Christian with an expression of how the body ought to be understood. The constant streaming of media also entails a constant reinforcement of viewpoints, many of which involve a view of the human body. The Christian must ask if these viewpoints are biblical, compatible with Christianity, or fundamentally opposed to it. The faithful Christian must be engaged in thinking critically about cultural projections and being shaped by the Bible rather than the culture. This brief list is a step in the right direction toward thinking critically about cultural viewpoints of the body and physical fitness. What are common cultural and personal misconceptions about physical fitness and exertion?