A Sound Mind in a Sound Body

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: I Timothy 4:6-16


I.         Back in the time of the early church, a Roman poet, Juvenal, stated “You should pray for a sound mind in a sound body.”

            A.        The thought is clear. To have one without the other is far from an enjoyable life.

            B.        But what is meant by “sound?”

II.        Physical Health

            A.        “Sound” is usually used to translate the Greek word hugiaino, which means “to be in good health, wholesome”

                        1.         A related word, hugies, carried the idea of that which is healthy, whole, or unbroken.

                        2.         Literally it means to be in good health, free of injury or disease

                        3.         You can see it in Luke 7:10 where the servant was found “whole” or “well” or “in good health”

                        4.         Or in the case of the prodigal son’s return - Luke 15:27

            B.        It should be our concern that life goes well with our brethren - III John 1-2

                        1.         John expressed a wish for financial, physical, and spiritual health for Gaius.

            C.        Interestingly, when the Septuagint was translated, the translators selected hugiaino to translate the Hebrew word shalom.

                        1.         Normally we translated shalom as “peace” but it also carries the idea of wish for the well-being of the one greeted, as seen in the angel’s words to Daniel - Daniel 10:19

            D.        In Greek, when hugiaino was used to begin or end a letter, it was used to convey a wish for the well-being of the one receiving the letter.

                        1.         We still keep the same idea when we tell some one “good-bye.”

                        2.         It is a wish for a good, safe, healthy future (bye).

III.       Spiritual Health

            A.        The idea of soundness is not limited to physical health.

                        1.         Physical health has only a small benefit - I Timothy 4:6-10

                        2.         God is concerned with the spiritual health of His people because that is what is lasting

            B.        Sound words

                        1.         It is important to keep the pattern or form of sound words - II Timothy 1:13-14

                        2.         The teachings of the gospel are wholesome words - I Timothy 6:3

                        3.         The teachings of the gospel brings a person spiritual health. (The “nourished” in I Timothy 4:6)

                        4.         The world is lost in the disease of sin, but the words delivered to us in the Bible can bring about a cure and restore us to health

                        5.         We have purified our souls by the word of God - I Peter 1:22-25

            C.        Sound doctrine

                        1.         “Doctrine” refers to the teachings or instructions.

                        2.         The sound message must be soundly taught, as instructed of elders - Titus 1:9-11

                        3.         In the conveyance of the message, it must not be broken or corrupted in any way, as instructed of preachers - II Timothy 4:2-5

                        4.         Sinful living is contrary to sound teaching - I Timothy 1:8-11

                                    a.         You cannot live in sin and be sound in your teaching. The two do not mix.

                                    b.         Thus the warning - II John 9-11

                                                (1)       Notice the warning that greeting is sharing

                                                (2)       The common greeting is a wishing of good health or soundness

                                                (3)       To welcome an unsound teacher as sound is to corrupt your own life

            D.        Sound faith

                        1.         A sound message delivered in a sound fashion does little good if it is not soundly accepted.

                        2.         It must be carefully followed - I Timothy 4:6

                        3.         Sometimes it takes sharp rebukes - Titus 1:13

                        4.         But this is because it is important! The greatest teachings in the world are useless if message is not lived - Titus 2:7-8

IV.      Mental health

            A.        The phrase “sound mind” is the translation of another Greek word, sophroneo. It means to be self-controlled, sensible, and serious

            B.        One of the things given to us is a sound mind - II Timothy 1:7

            C.        Teaching sound doctrine means teaching people to be sound minded.

                        1.         Titus 2:1-6 “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;” (Titus 2:1-6 NAS95)

                        2.         Salvation teaches us to live soberly - Titus 2:11-12

                        3.         All Christians are to think soberly - Romans 12:3

            D.        Healthy thoughts lead to healthy actions

            E.        Or think of it this way, you cannot follow the sound message if your reasoning is unsound

V.        Detecting soundness

            A.        We speak of sound congregations, but what makes a congregation sound? How can you tell that a congregation is sound?

                        1.         When you buy a melon, they tell you to thump it and listen to see if it is good inside.

                        2.         We need to put people to the test - I John 4:1

            B.        Do they have the unadulterated message?

                        1.         Mormons and Muslims believe they have extra-biblical books. In fact they teach that our New Testaments have been corrupted

                        2.         Jehovah Witnesses use a modified translation to support their teachings

                        3.         Catholics believe that traditions of the ages are equal and sometimes superior to the words of the Bible

                        4.         II Timothy 2:14-16

            C.        Do they teach accurately?

                        1.         Methodist, Episcopals, and many other denominations are in constant flux debating what they are going to teach; debating and voting on what they will accept - Titus 3:9-11

                        2.         Many twist the message - II Peter 3:15-16

            D.        Do they live it?

                        1.         Rejected by Christ - Matthew 7:21-23

            E.        Do they think soberly?

                        1.         Many give way to emotional appeals.

                                    a.         It feels good

                                    b.         It does good

                        2.         But there is no soundness to their reasoning

                        3.         Such people may start out with truth, but they have nothing to keep them within the truth - Ephesians 4:14-15

            F.        I’m always amazed how often people will accept error. They know something is wrong, but “it can’t be all that bad.”

                        1.         “It’s just a cold”

                        2.         Perhaps, but it is unhealthy

            G.        Let us be sound, healthy people in a sound body -- the body of Christ

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