Twilight: Itching Ears
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
2 Timothy 4:3–5
Men will not put up with sound doctrine.... They will gather ... teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3).
When Paul exhorted Timothy to work hard as a preacher and evangelist, he did not say, "If you do that, you will get an ever larger congregation and a bigger building." Instead, he said, "For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine." He went on to explain this attitude, implying that it prevailed already in Timothy's day.
Why is it that people will not endure sound teaching handed down by the apostles? Because this doctrine goes against the grain of human wisdom and against our natural ambitions. Therefore people reject sound doctrine and gather teachers who say what they like to hear.
The trouble is their ears, says Paul. They want to hear words that satisfy their craving for what is sensational and exciting. Ordinary, sound apostolic teaching does not turn them on. Therefore they jump from teacher to teacher, turning "away from the truth and turn[ing] aside to myths" (v. 4). They are open to any preacher who will scratch them where they itch, someone who meets their needs as they know them.
What must Timothy do in such a desperate situation? He must keep his head and keep going.
Let's all continue to carry out our duties of gospel ministry.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version
Be sure to read the "Preface" and the "Acknowledgments" by the author.