2 Timothy 4:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Timothy 4:3, NIV: "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

2 Timothy 4:3, ESV: "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,"

2 Timothy 4:3, KJV: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"

2 Timothy 4:3, NASB: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,"

2 Timothy 4:3, NLT: "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear."

2 Timothy 4:3, CSB: "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear."

What does 2 Timothy 4:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The time when people would not listen to sound teaching and instead amass false teachers was not far away, according to this reference. . Paul was concerned that after his death, false teachers would arise in Ephesus and turn believers from the true faith into error and myths. Paul specifically addresses four concerns in this verse and the next that would lead people away from God's truth.

The first two concerns are in this verse. First, people would grow tired of the true gospel and reject it. Instead, they would turn in other directions, looking to replace sound or healthy teaching. This is to be expected when the gospel message begins with a humbling, difficult thought: we are imperfect and in need of saving.

Second, instead of following godly teachers, people would choose to follow teachers who told them what they liked to hear, rather than what was true. The idea of "itching ears" may be that of twitching or moving ears that sought something different from the traditional, true gospel message.

The next verse will add two more descriptions of those who turn away: they will avoid truth, and they will follow myths.