The strict discipline of one's body has been a precept of many religions, and clearly Christians who expected an early return of the Lord to earth prepared for it with prayer, fasting, and abstention from sexual relations. There is strong approval of renunciation of marriage in certain of the epistles (e.g. 1 Cor. 7: 7) and the gospels (e.g. Matt. 19: 12) and Rev. (14: 4). This was a minority opinion, but it became widely held that asceticism was a prerequisite for entering eternal life. It was certainly also a proof of serious discipleship and in Luke 9: 23 the word ‘daily’ has been significantly added to Mark 8: 34, so making a practicable kind of asceticism acceptable in the continuing life of the Church which was not shortly to be terminated by the Parousia.