“… 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside unto myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3b+4/NIV).
Paul is encouraging his co-worker Timothy to do a good job as a preacher. He says
Timothy ought to make good use of the time. He should “correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”(Verse 2b/NIV).
Paul says there would be a time when many people would not like to hear the truth any more. The word ‘truth’ here refers to Christian doctrine yet it also has a bearing on practical life.
- There is the truth about our own individual lives, the truth about our strengths and our weaknesses.
- There is the truth about our attitudes towards God and other people.
- There is the truth about God’s standards and our failure to live as God has originally designed us to.
- There is the truth about God’s justice and his holiness.
There is danger at hand, whenever people are trying to suit Christian doctrine to private interests. This means they do not primarily care about the truth. They misuse Christian teaching to propagate their own ideas.
Even in teaching Christian love selfish motives can creep in. It is possible to talk about love only in terms of how others should treat yourself.
The kind of love Paul is writing about rejoices in the truth. Thus, a loving person will set aside selfish desires. He or she will not try to twist the truth.