1 Tim. 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. Not only is the young preacher to preach the right things and to bring them to remembrance of the brethren, but he is to refuse or turn away from fables. Strong says that the root word translated "fables" is from MOOEO, which means "to initiate in the mysteries." In other words, these are the traditions of men. Most philosophies of the world have at one point or another some mysteries in them. Those who deny the book of God and the supernatural things it says will on the other hand accept many supernatural things in the realm of the demonic. Many believe in ghosts and goblins, lost cities, extrasensory perception, etc. So, to accept tradition means to reject God's book; to accept God's book means to reject tradition.
Paul puts these fables into two categories: profane and old wives' fables. The profane are those things that are common among men and are identified with ungodly things. Many fables or stories are told in the realm of the profane. We have many profane philosophies and religions. Remember what Paul says in Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
These old wives' fables are silly stories that are built upon the profane traditions. To save my life I cannot determine whether these are old wives or old fables, but it matters little. For all time people have at times put more trust in the sayings of people than in the word of God. Many are the young preachers who listen to the quips and quotes of older preachers and pick them up as pure Gospel; but, when they are analyzed, many times they are found to hold little if any truth. They sound good, but they are empty words. Also, many stories were told about the pagan gods which they worshiped, and these were told by the women on a continual basis. Their lives depended upon these stories much as soap operas dictate the lives of many women today. These are the old wives' fables.
This young preacher is being instructed to "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), and that he will do. But first he must remember to refuse those things that are not patterned after the pure word of God. God's word is not here to build upon; it is here to preach as it is to men as they are. Let us all as God's preachers preach the word and have the mind of Christ. Thus we shall build up the Kingdom of God to his glory and honor.
But then there is one more point that Paul makes in this short clause. He tells young Timothy to exercise himself unto godliness. Not only is the young preacher not to preach the traditions of men, but he is also not to exercise them. He is not to be found in the halls of drunken men, the tables of gambling men, the crowds of entertainment, or the houses of ill repute. He must keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). He will find himself in his study with God's word, in the house of God for worship, and the homes of the sick and needy to help, and in the closet for prayer. This is pure religion, and that is what God wants his young preachers to have.