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Itching Ears or Sound Doctrine?

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NKJV)

God knew the enemy would come in and try to deceive all who would seek God.   This temptation is not just for new believers and those who are unaware of what the Word teaches, but for those who are seasoned believers as well.  The more one knows the Word of God, the more he or she is able to withstand false teachings.  So, whether we are teaching formally within the church body, or we are simply sharing our faith in Christ, we are all well advised and commanded to be ready.

We are warned, there will come a time when those who attend church will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4). 

Q:         What does it mean to have itching ears?

The term “have Itching” is translated from the Greek word knetho, knay´-tho, which means to “scratch” what is itching. And in this text, it is referring to the ear of the one who is hearing the message.  It is speaking of a person who wants their ears tickled, or pleased by only hearing what they want to hear – those things pleasing and the things making them feel good about themselves and secure in what they are doing.

We see this happening more and more in these last days within various churches, as Pastors are becoming like politicians in that they choose to seek to find out what the people want to hear, and then oblige them by speaking on these things – things sweet to the ear; non-confronting things - for fear it would bring accountability to the hearer, and cause those in attendance to be offended and leave.

God has called for the full counsel of His Word to be taught and learned and this cannot be accomplished when a Pastor decides to minimize the significance of God’s Word, or they decide to not preach the Word, but choose to fill most of their time teaching by simply telling stories and personal opinions.  

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalms 119:89 (NKJV)

Q:         Why would a person, who claims to be Christian, not want to hear God’s Word being preached, and choose instead to listen to a funny Pastor, or one who tells good stories?

I believe when we stop seeking God and His Will it is because we don’t want to find Him, or His will.  It causes difficulties for the choices we truly want to make and for the lifestyle we truly want to live.  Once we know His will, we will be required to acknowledge our sinful nature, our sinful choices, and we will be accountable to submit to Him and required to change our way of thinking, and acting.  It is the very reason most unbelievers deny God’s existence.

I am not against being funny, or incorporating good stories as illustrations or analogies – in fact I do it all the time, because people can relate to them in their life.  What I am against is when a message is devoid of the very reason for speaking at all – God’s Word.  Let’s be careful not to be lulled into looking for a place to worship based on it being cool and culturally right on.  Let’s find a place that teaches us the full counsel of God and let’s seek the Lord to show us what He wanted us to know when He wrote these things.  I believe we will find great truths and application for our lives that will set us free from the bondage of the enemies lies, and we will find ourselves set apart from an unbelieving world.

STUDY QUESTION: What is being encouraged in 2 Timothy 4:1-4 and for what reason?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you genuinely seeking to know God and His will for your life?  Do you find yourself being tested or convicted when you read or hear Scripture being read?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Let’s choose to submit to God and His Word regardless of what we may feel, or have been taught.

LET’S PRAY: Father, thank You for Your Word to guide us and to lead us in all understanding.  Thank You for the transformation You have made in our lives by our being exposed and submitting to it.  Help us to understand Your Word as we read it and help us to see every area where we need to change.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000