A way of living that manifests the character of God. The term “godliness” appears most frequently in the warning of Paul, specifically the Pastoral Epistles. Paul encouraged Timothy to pursue “godliness” In an active manner (1 Tim 6:11). By so doing, he challenged him to develop a true respect for God and then, in turn, to live his life based on that respect. He emphasized the value of godliness by contrasting it to physical training (1Tim 4:8). Whereas physical training has benefit for this life, Paul noted that godliness would benefit the believer in this life and in the life to come. This characteristic was also recognized as being of “great gain” in the life of a Christian (1 Tim 6:6). Peter likewise encouraged his readers to add to their lives “godliness” as a way of living (2 Pet 1:6-7).
In addition, Paul used the term to refer to God’s actions through Jesus that provided the basis for the Christian’s godliness. According to 1 Tim 3:16, this “mystery of godliness is great” (HCSB). Paul also referred to some who had a “form of godliness” but denied its power. These were ones who appeared to be people of piety, but their understanding and worship of God had little, if any, effect upon them lives (1 Tim 6:5).