The next two verses (3-4) are two verses of Scripture that ring in my ears daily. To me they are the ‘right here and right now’! What Paul told Timothy is coming, Timothy may have known as already here. This given the fact that he was in Ephesus to combat false teachings. To try and turn the tide.
VV.3-4 outline Paul giving Timothy 3 of the reasons why he must Fight the Good Fight.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. 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 turn aside to myths.
- Paul states 3 reasons why Timothy must fight.
- Firstly, people will not put up with sound doctrine.
- The Greek for ‘put up with’ is ἀνέξονται (aneksomai) meaning ‘endure’, they will not endure sound doctrine, it will be ‘to hard’ for them.
- Secondly, people will gather around them teachers that say what they want to hear
- The Greek here for ‘gather’ means ‘to accumulate’ or ‘to heap up’. They will pile false teachers around themselves, they will surround themselves with them. Imagery of a flood comes to my mind. In a flood people pile up sandbags around themselves to keep themselves safe. Except this time the false teachers are the ‘sandbags’! Sandbags meant to keep the convicting truth away and washing away their ‘feel good’ religion.
- Lastly, people will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths
- The Greek here for ‘myths’ could also be translated as ‘fables’, they will turn to fictional stories, no better than a child’s bedtime story. Imagine worshiping mother goose because it is more fun! But mother goose cannot forgive us our sins.
Why is the Christian warrior fighting? Because people will not Keep the Faith
So what does this mean for Timothy, for the Christian warrior?
As Paul’s delegate in Ephesus, Timothy is to Keep the Faith.
- He is to continue teaching sound doctrine.
- He is to be a teacher of the truth.
- He is not to become a ‘sandbag’.
- He is to Keep the Faith
Paul knows that fighting for the truth and keeping the faith is not always an easy task. Paul knows that the road is long, the road is hard, the road is filled with obstacles and holes that will try to prevent Timothy from winning this fight. And he tells Timothy so. To be continued…