Word of the Week: Godliness


One Sunday on their way home from worship services, little Suzie turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.”

“Oh, why is that?” the mother asked.

“Well,” replied Suzie, “He said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?”

“Yes, Suzie, that’s right.”

“But he also said that God lives in us. Is that true, Mommy?”

“Yes, dear, that’s true,” replied her mother.

“Well,” said little Suzie, “if God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”

Suzie’s right. And the Bible calls that godliness. It has to do with reverence. Piety. Holiness. And God-likeness.

Currently, we’re reading Paul’s letters to Timothy. And I was struck by the number of times he speaks of godliness. Nine times in six chapters. And four times in 1 Timothy 6.

Here’s a synopsis.

Paul urged Christians to pray for those in authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (I Tim. 2:2).

Ladies are commanded to wear clothing that is “proper for women professing godliness” (1 Tim. 2:10).

He refers to God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ as “the mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16).

Timothy is instructed to “exercise yourself toward godliness.” And to realize that “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.” (1Tim. 4:7-8)

Teachers must advocate “sound instruction” with doctrine that “accords with godliness” (I Tim. 6:3).

Avoid corrupt, arrogant people who stir up strife, possess an unhealthy interest in controversy, and flaunt their supposed “godliness as a means for financial gain” (1 Tim. 6:4-5).

The wealthy should learn to combine “godliness with contentment” and realize it’s a means of “great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).

People of God and preachers of the gospel must flee from greed and pursue righteousness and godliness, along with faith, love, patience and gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11).

Hopefully, these brief observations will spur you to deeper thinking regarding godliness.

1. William Barclay says that the original word for godliness “is the nearest Greek word for religion; and when we begin to define it, we see the intensely practical character of the Christian religion. When a man becomes a Christian, he acknowledges a double duty, to God and to his fellow men.”

2. “Godliness,” writes Warren Wiersbe, “has to do with practical piety.” He says that it involves both character and conduct. Godliness, thus, is reflected not only in what we do, but in who we actually are.

3. While Bible study is important, it’s possible to possess a great deal of knowledge about God, yet fail to be godly. Our learning should issue itself in a new way of living. Our beliefs must be translated into better behavior.

4. Our pursuit of godliness requires a renunciation of ungodliness. Just as light is opposed to darkness and good is incompatible with evil, so is godliness adverse to ungodliness.

5. It requires work to grow in godliness. Just like physical fitness doesn’t happen accidentally. It takes training. Commitment. Diligence. Focus. And a continuous, energetic effort to mature spiritually.

Phillips Brooks observed that godliness is “the great purpose of life – the shaping of character by truth.” More important than golf scores, bowling trophies, or home run records, devotion to godliness should supersede all physical endeavors as we labor for an eternal reward.

6. Godliness is an inward quality that manifests itself outwardly. In all areas of our life. In our relationships. In our work. In our teaching. In our ministry. Even in the way we dress.

7. Godliness is more important than possessions. Popularity. Position. Pleasure. Or personal, prideful pursuits that satisfy our selfish ambitions.

Is it fair to ask, how big is your God? Is He living in you? Is He showing through?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Godliness, Word of the Week

5 responses to “Word of the Week: Godliness

  1. Thanks for sharing your insight! If God should judge iniquities then who shall stand. Blessed is the man whose hope the LORD is!



    Brother Ken, My name is Bryan Bickford. I have attended the church in Plano IL, basically my whole life. I was able to learn from Larry Hafely, Phil Roberts, Rick Billingsley, Dan Peters, Lloyd Atherton, & Oliver Walker & my dad who worked with Oliver as elders here for years. I still am very close with those who are still with us. I have served here as a deacon (no longer), an elder (no longer), & as the preacher for the last 12 some years.

    The reason I am sending you this message which by the way is way too late, is I so much appreciate you and your writing. I should have taken the time years ago to thank you. I love the way you make applications that are appropriate & easily understood with the principles taught in God’s Word. As obvious as that is needed it is not practiced enough in our teaching. So thank you for always being consistent in that.

    I have used so many of your articles as the building blocks of sermons preached. I tell others I am a gatherer. I take your writing, someone else, edit it, put it together, which then lights my fire with my thoughts that I may not have considered before & then put it all together. I always give you credit, but as silly as this may sound, I am not sure if I am pronouncing your name correctly. So is it pronounced as believer, except Weliever?

    So I have given you my life’s history so I can correctly say your name. Sounds like a preacher taking the long way. Hah. Any my brother, you have helped me in so many ways, or put this way God has used you many times in answering prayers. May you have good health, stay safe & well & continue serving our Almighty God!

    In Him, Bryan



    • Hi Bryan

      Thank you so very much for your kind words. I really appreciate your encouragement And thoughtfulness in writing

      I’m glad you’ve been able to find the post helpful not only in reprinting for your members but also for some sermon ideas

      Although I have never been there I’m familiar with the church at Plano and it’s good reputation through some of the men you have mentioned.

      The pronunciation of my last name is close to believer. But if you put the emphasis on WELL that will probably come out more correctly. I tried to do a Facebook pronunciation but couldn’t get it to come out quite right!

      Hope things are well with you. And your work continues to prosper

      Again thanks so much for taking the time to write

      God bless


  3. Pingback: Word of the Week: Godliness | A disciple's study

  4. Pingback: Weekly Recap: July 5-10 | ThePreachersWord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.