2 Timothy 4:3-4, “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. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”
When my older son was 5-years-old he complained one day that his ear hurt. I thought ear drops would do the trick, so I asked him if his ear hurt inside. “No, it hurts here,” he said, pointing to the skin behind his right ear. “Put some of that stuff in the blue tube on it, he said.” That stuff was an ointment for cuts, and he must have remembered how cool and comforting it felt when we used it previously, so that’s what he self-prescribed for this new hurt. However, putting the cream behind his ear didn’t solve the problem. We had to take him to the doctor, who prescribed the right medicine. The apostle Paul warned Timothy that he would encounter people with “Ear Problems” or as he put it “itching ears”, who would seek the wrong cure. Like a 5-year-old who doesn’t want to bother with ear drops, these people woudn’t endure sound doctrine,” but would soothe their ears with teaching that suits “their own desires.” By way of illustration, if they’re offended by Christ’s declaration, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), they will look for a pastor who says there are many ways to God. Then there are other people who reject the biblical teaching that those who engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage are “fornicators and adulterers” who “God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). So, they also look for a teacher who says that the sexual standards in the Bible are not binding in today’s world.
I condemn what these people do, but I’m afraid that at times I too have “itching ears.” I love to hear strong affirmations of biblical standards and sound doctrine; however, I don’t like to be confronted with Scripture about prideful, self-righteous attitudes or lack of love for others. Without a doubt, if you’re honest with yourself, you have also had this problem at one time or another in your Christian walk. So, what does this mean for us today? Well it certainly suggests that we must be very careful where we get our spiritual help. As the apostle Paul suggested, there is preaching and teaching that will make us feel good on the inside but isn’t biblicaly correct. My brethren, the only sure cure for itching ears is sound doctrine taught by Spirit-filled pastors and teachers of godly character. Then we need to ask the Lord to change our hearts so that we will listen to what His Word says and then obey it. We need to be like the Bereans who searched the Scriptures to see if what was being taught was biblicaly true (Acts 17:11).That my friend is the only antidote for our “ear problems”.
(1) Is the Bible taught faithfully at your church?
(2) Do you read and study your Bible to know if what you are being taught is true?
(3) We need to be more like the Bereans and examine all preaching and teaching in the light of God’s Eternal Word.