What does 2 Timothy 4:3 mean?
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,
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.
NASB: For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires,
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.
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.
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;
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Second Timothy 4:1–8 contains Paul's last ministry instructions to Timothy. Paul knows that he will not survive his current imprisonment. So, he clearly and boldly charges Timothy—commands him—to hold to the faith he has seen and lived. He can do this knowing that Paul has faithfully served God, expecting the heavenly rewards given to all of God's followers. The poignant tone of this passage is made even more bittersweet by the long friendship these two men have shared.
Chapter Summary:
Paul summarizes his instructions to Timothy, through a practical application of his prior teachings. Timothy is "charged" by Paul to defend his faith, against all error and false teaching, at all times. Timothy will face resistance. Paul also openly admits that his life is nearly over, so Timothy will need to soldier on without him. After this, Paul gives some personal updates about his situation, giving Timothy a few instructions and advice about particular people. Paul makes a final appeal for Timothy to visit him, then closes his letter—as he will close his life—focused on the grace of God.
Chapter Context:
Paul summarizes his instructions to Timothy, through a practical application of his prior teachings. Timothy is "charged" by Paul to defend his faith, against all error and false teaching, at all times. Timothy will face resistance. Paul also openly admits that his life is nearly over, so Timothy will need to soldier on without him. After this, Paul gives some personal updates about his situation, giving Timothy a few instructions and advice about particular people. Paul makes a final appeal for Timothy to visit him, then closes his letter—as he will close his life—focused on the grace of God.
Book Summary:
Second Timothy is the last New Testament letter written by Paul. Paul writes these words while awaiting execution by Rome. At this time, around AD 67, Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him. Paul is facing the worst of all hardships: his own impending death. So, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in his faith, with a reliance on the written Word of God. This letter echoes many of the themes Paul uses in his other letters.
Accessed 2/25/2024 9:42:09 AM
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