FOR THE TIME WILL COME

“For the time will come…”

“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”
IITim: 4:3

(Greek Exegesis)

“…shall heap to themselves teachers…”

Shall they heap to themselves teachers (ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύ σουσιν διδασκάλους) A vigorous and graphic statement. Ἑπισωρεύειν to heap up, N.T. Comp. σεσωρευμένα laden, 3:6. The word is ironical; shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found. “The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. 17).

Having itching ears (κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν) Or, being tickled in their hearing. Κνήθειν to tickle, N.T. lxx. Κνηθόμενοι itching. Hesychius explains, “hearing for mere gratification.” Clement of Alexandria describes certain teachers as “scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly desire to be scratched” (Strom. v.). Seneca says: “Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theater, for pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the plays” (Vincent’s Word Studies)

The word narcosis is the result or state of temporary being that arises from this pursuit of mere gratification. As it speaks in the scriptures of a famine of the “hearing” of the Word of God, and because of this “…they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” Amos 8:11 – 12. There is a lust for knowledge that is not for the purpose of becoming but simply for the pursuit of accumulating more knowledge. It is a day of great obscurity as the wheat and the tares grow together until the day of harvest when the sheep are separated from the goats. This separation is not based on the accumulation of knowledge but is determined by the nature of the individual (IIPet. 1:4). It is through the process of obedience and the pursuit of His person that what we hear becomes what we are. When teaching no longer creates a cry within the hearts of its recipients to become, it is simply another means of entertainment for a people who “heap to themselves teachers”.

I felt impressed to send out this short article that I wrote in 2007 and though it is not meant as something easy to read it is simply a Greek word study on 2Timothy 4:3.

B. Troxel
March 18, 2007

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