FOR THE TIME
WILL COME WHEN: estai (3SFMI) gar kairos hote:
(2Ti 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 1Ti 4:1, 4:2 4:3)
A DIRECTED URGENCY
For (gar) -
Whenever you encounter a
term of explanation stop
and ask what is being explained, a simple discipline that will (1) slow
you down so you don't "speed read" the precious Word of God (2) assure
that your mind is actively engaged with the Word (and the Author of the
Word) and (3) facilitate
on the Word, the blessings of which are simply
incalculable! (See some of the blessings - Ps 1:1-note,
In the present context, the
term of explanation explains the reason for
Paul's "super" solemn charge (2Ti 4:1-note) and
his urgent almost "staccato" commands (2Ti 4:2-note)
especially in light of Paul's imminent departure (2Ti 4:6-note).
The time will
come - This verse is clearly a prophetic warning which amplifies
Paul's previous prophecy in 2Timothy 3:1-note
("last days" = "difficult" days, cp 1Ti 4:1,2), calls for Timothy (and
all preachers of the Word) to hear and immediately heed Paul's commands
calculated to correct the course of the Church away from sound doctrine
and into unsound "doctrine" which cannot produce spiritual birth or
spiritual health for those who are born again.
[word study]) is not merely a
succession of minutes as in the word
referring to clock or calendar time),
but instead refers to a
season, a decisive epoch, an era or a fixed, definitive period of time
when events are brought to a crisis. Kairos refers to
those strategic times in the calendar of God during which events come to
a culmination and ripen to usher in a new age. Therefore kairos
can refer to a period of opportunity and when the period
of time passes so does the opportunity.
Kairos is the root word for "in season...out of
season" (2Ti 4:2-note) and "(difficult) times"
Using Trench's definition
of kairos Paul's prophecy is of a coming "critical, epoch-making
period foreordained of God when all that has been slowly, and often
without observation, ripening" the fruit being ears deafened and hearts
insensitive to the proclamation of sound doctrine.
So there will come a "season" or
specific period of time which is characterized by those inside
(not outside) the professing "church" who will not tolerate wholesome,
life giving teaching.
Throughout church history there have been
when people did not want to hear God's Word. Just
turn on your television and you'll see "the
is being fulfilled before your very eyes but be ready to be appalled and saddened
by the prosperity (false) preachers!
Jeremiah saw a similar season
An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: The prophets
prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My
people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (Jer 5:30; 31)
Since there is no good English equivalent to
essence of it's meaning can be somewhat difficult to grasp. Study the
following verses and see if you can discern the "window of
opportunity" aspect in each verse to help give you a "feel" for the
meaning of kairos (Mt
13:30, 21:34, Mk11:13,13:33, Lk 4:13,19:44, Lk 21:24, Ac 1:7, 17:26, 2Co
6:2, Ga 6:9-note, Eph 2:12-note, 2Th 2:6, Rev 1:3-note). (Click
for Vine's discussion of kairos)
These men and women are "professing" believers who are like "professing
Israel" whom Isaiah described as
a rebellious people, false sons,
sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the LORD" and who
say "Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel. (Isa
THEY WILL NOT
ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE: ouk
anexontai: (3PFMI) tes hugiainouses (PAPFSG) didaskalias: (1Ki
22:8;18 2Chr 16:9;10 24:20;21 22 25:15;16 Isa 28:12; 33:9;10 11 Jer
6:16;17 18:18; Am 7:10-17; Lk 20:19; Jn 8:45; Gal 4:16 contrast Heb
13:22, cf God's warning to Isaiah Isa 6:8 6:9 6:10, Septuagint of Job
translations: will not put up
with (NIV); will not listen to accurate teachings (GWT); they
will not endure our wholesome doctrine in that they will hold themselves
firmly against it (Wuest); will no longer listen to right
teaching (NLT); will not tolerate wholesome instruction (Berkley), men
will not tolerate wholesome teaching (Phillips)
They - In
who might they be
referring to or describing (Always practice pausing to
interrogate the text with the 5W/H questions)?
While there is a chapter division (such divisions are arbitrary and not
inspired and can sometimes cause us to segregate similar teaching even
in adjacent chapters!) separating this description from the description
in 2Ti 3:1, 2ff-note,
the same or certainly a similar group in the church is
encompassed by the pronoun "they" in this present passage. They
would also include the false teachers Paul described in the previous
section as those who are
holding to a form
of godliness (eusebeia),
although they have denied (arneomai
= their permanent state of denial = not believing, born again
"spiritual" men!) its
; cp Titus 1:16-note).
In a similar prophecy Paul wrote that
the Spirit explicitly says
that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention
to deceitful spirits and
of demons" (1Ti 4:1)
Comment: Doctrines of demons
clearly include the "unsound" doctrine and ear tickling myths
that the people favor so that they may gratify the
describes them as...
All who cannot endure this (ouk
anexontai), manifest thereby an inward disinclination, which results
from the secret collision of their own sentiment with the substance and
claims of sound doctrine. The natural sequence of this antipathy is
stated immediately after: But after … Shall they heap. (Lange,
J. P., Schaff, P., van Oosterzee, J. J., Washburn, E. A., & Harwood, E..
A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Timothy. Page 112.)
Christian history is replete with
examples of “the deliberate refusal” of men and women “to hear” the Word
of the Lord expounded. But this must not deter us. The imperative
“Preach the word!” must be obeyed. (Recommended
reading - Anointed
Expository Preaching - Broadman & Holman Publishers [hardcover]
Logos Software or
= in, up + echomai, the
of echo = to have, to hold) means literally to hold
one’s self up, erect, upright and by extension firm against a person or thing. Thus
anechomai means to put up with, to bear with (equanimity or evenness of
mind especially under stress), to tolerate, to forbear, to be patient
The figurative idea is to endure discomfort or to hold out in spite of persecution,
threats, injury, indifference, or complaints and not to retaliate (esp 1Cor 4:12). It conveys the sense of putting up with others, exercising
self-restraint (for believers only possible empowered by the Spirit) and
Eadie writes that
anechomai indicates giving patience to someone till the
provocation is past. To undergo something onerous or troublesome without
Anechomai was used of listening patiently while others are
allowed to speak. That is exactly what these "last days" individuals
will NOT (the Greek word ouk in this verse describes
absolute negation) do to those who try to preach and teach the word of
sound doctrine. The result is that because they sow abhorrence of
healthy doctrine, they reap the unwelcome result - spiritually unhealthy
lives (which will be manifest in their personal relationships such as
between husband and wife, parent and child, etc).
The writer of
Hebrews uses anechomai to encourage listening ears and
receptive hearts in spite of "hard" preaching...
Hebrews 13:22 (note)
But I urge you, brethren, bear (listen patiently
= command to
make this their habitual practice) with this word of exhortation, for I
have written to you briefly.
The writer Hebrews knew he had written some difficult to accept sound
doctrine (some of the most difficult warning passages in the NT)
and so he closed his letter with this positive exhortation regarding
exhortations. The KJV is interesting in translating it as "Suffer
the word of exhortation"!
refers to holding up under adversity, and can be translated tolerate.
It means to hold up or back from falling. In secular Greek use, the related noun form (anoche) was used of
a holding back or stopping of hostilities (truce).
is the equivalent of our modern phrase "putting up with" so the
NIV nicely paraphrases it that "they will not put up with".
It is not the herald (of the gospel) that is at fault, but
the hearing of the fickle men who make up the audience!
Anechomai -15x in the NT
- Mt 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41; Acts 18:14; 1 Cor 4:12; 2
Cor 11:1, 4, 19f; Eph 4:2; Col 3:13; 2 Thess 1:4; 2 Tim 4:3; Heb 13:22.
NAS translates: bear, 3; bearing, 2; endure, 3; put, 4; showing
tolerance, 1; tolerate, 2.
Matthew 17:17 And Jesus
answered and said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long
shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with
(anechomai) you? Bring him here to
Comment: Here we see Jesus use
anechomai rebuke His disciples and their weak faith.
Mark 9:19 And He answered them
and said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How
long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!"
Luke 9:41 And Jesus answered
and said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be
with you, and put up with you? Bring your son here."
Acts 18:14 But when Paul was
about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter
of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to
put up with you;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we
toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we
are persecuted, we endure;
2 Corinthians 11:1 I wish that
you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you
are bearing with me. 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another
Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which
you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not
accepted, you bear this beautifully. (Comment: Here
Paul uses anechomai ironically. In other words Paul is saying that "you gladly
endure these false teachers, why do you not endure me?" Paul
is not endorsing their acceptance of heresy, but chiding them for their
gullibility and lack of discernment.)
2 Corinthians 11:19 For you,
being so wise, bear with the foolish gladly. 20 For you
anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of
you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face.
Ephesians 4:2 (note)
(context = Eph 4:1-note)
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to
one another in love (Amplified has "making allowances because you
love one another"),
Comment: Paul exhorts
the saints at Ephesus to make allowance (tolerate, bear, endure)
for the faults and failures of others, or differing personalities,
abilities, and temperaments. Forbearance is not a question
of maintaining a façade of courtesy while inwardly seething with
resentment but is a Spirit empowered positive love to those who
irritate, disturb, or embarrass.
How are you bearing up with the
idiosyncrasies of your brethren at church, your spouse, your children,
your co-workers, your fellow students, etc? You can't,
beloved but He can and He
lives in you to transform your temperament and attitude toward those who
irritate you. Did what I just wrote irritate you?
bearing with (present
tense = this
is to be our continual practice [only possible enabled by God's
Spirit!]) one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a
complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should
Comment: Bearing with one
another is a behavior that is to characterize those who "have been
chosen of God, holy and beloved". This begs the applicational question
-- Who is there in the body
of Christ you are not "putting up" with?
MacDonald adds that in
Col 3:13 anechomai describes:
the patience we should have with the failings and odd ways of our
brethren. In living with others, it is inevitable that we will find out
their failures. It often takes the grace of God for us to put up with
the idiosyncrasies of others, as it must for them to put up with ours.
But we must bear with one another.
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore,
we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your
perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and
afflictions which you endure.
2 Timothy 4:3 (note)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires;
- 11x in
- Gen. 45:1; 1Ki. 12:24; Job 6:11, 26; Isa. 1:13; 42:14; 46:4; 63:15;
64:12; Amos 4:7; Hag. 1:10.
God says to
Bring your worthless
offerings no longer. Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and
Sabbath, the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure (Lxx =
anechomai) iniquity and the solemn assembly. (Isa 1:13-note)
Comment: How we all need to
hear and heed God's warning regarding external (fleshly) religion which
too often serves as a cloak to
cover our sin and is a trap even into which even true believers can fall!
And as Paul wrote in first Timothy the conscience may become so
seared (kauteriazo from kauterion = red-hot iron = "cauterized") that a person can practice "religion" while
still living in sin (1Ti 4:2).
MacArthur notes that
Professing Christians, nominal believers in the church follow their
own desires and flock to preachers who offer them God’s blessings
apart from His forgiveness, and His salvation apart from their
repentance. They have an itch to be entertained by teachings that
will produce pleasant sensations and leave them with good feelings about
themselves. Their goal is that men preach “according to their own
desires.” Under those conditions, people will dictate what men
preach, rather than God dictating it by His Word." He goes on to add
that "Within the large framework of professing Christendom a small
remnant of true believers eagerly hear sound teaching. But some
of the lost in the professing church support such things as homosexual
and feminist causes. There is even a so-called Bible that has removed
masculine references to God to avoid offending feminist beliefs. The
lost, whether outside or inside the professing church, refuse to hear
God's teaching about controversial issues such as the woman's role,
homosexuality, or abortion. They won't
tolerate strong biblical teaching because it confronts and
refutes their errors and calls for their obedience. By adopting the ways
of the world, much of the professing church has become corrupt and
perverse. Apart from a dramatic change, the pressure will continue to
intensify against those who speak the truth.
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press
This problem is not new
as we see in Proverbs
They would not accept My counsel. They
spurned all My reproof." (Pr 1:30 - The context Pr 1:29
states the root problem is failure to choose the fear of Jehovah, a
failure which would bring forth rotten fruit in keeping with
unrighteousness - Pr 1:31, 32! cp Gal 6:7-note,
(See William Arnot's related discussion -
Proverbs 1:24-28 Sowing Disobedience,
prophet Jeremiah knew the painful reality of those claimed to be
God's people and yet who would not tolerate God's sound doctrine
(~ "the ancient paths")...
says the LORD, "Stand
(red = command) by the ways and
ask for the ancient
(Hebrew = everlasting!) paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your
souls. (Note the process and the promise. Process = stand, see, ask,
walk or obey. Promise = find rest. Are you restless beloved? If
so, one area of your life you might want to examine is whether you are
refusing to put up with sound doctrine found in the ancient paths! Cp Mt 11:28, 11:29, 11:30) But they said, 'We will not walk in
it.' And I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the
trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen." (Jer 6:16,
6:17 - See sermon by Alan Carr =
Jeremiah 6:16 Ask For the Old Paths)
Call For Revival Jeremiah 616)
THE DOCTRINE WHICH ALONE
PROMOTES SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Sound doctrine - This
description is concentrated in the Pastoral Epistles and is God's
prescription for spiritually healthy saints. What is the clear message
for anyone who is a pastor or a teacher of the Word of Truth (even if we
are opposed, which will likely occur)?
1 Timothy 1:10 (Law is made for the
following groups) and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and
liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound
1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone advocates a
different doctrine and does not agree with sound words
(logos), those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine
conforming to godliness,
2 Timothy 1:13-note
= continually) the standard of
sound words (logos) which you have heard from me, in the
faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
(Elders are to be continually =
holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching,
so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine (didaskalia)
and to refute those who contradict.
But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound
Sound doctrine is teaching which continually
(because the verb hugiano is
present tense indicating continuous action)
protects and preserves the spiritual life of the one who partakes
which alone is the sustenance which makes the whole man healthy, and equipped for every good work (2Ti
3:16, 3:17-note). The definite article, "the",
in Greek modifies sound doctrine which identifies this doctrine
as not just any teaching but as the specific body of teaching, in
context the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel.
You will experience real "holistic health" if you eat the right
''soul food"! Why would these individuals not desire a healthy word
("seed") which yields such a desirable fruit. It is because they do not
want their sin to be exposed. Sound
doctrine is a stinging
rebuke (censure) to ungodly living and thus is unacceptable and
intolerable to those who desire to persist in their sin rather than
please the Savior. In short, those who live contrary to sound doctrine
resent and resist such doctrine. Compare Paul's description in this
verse with the reaction of unbelievers to "the
light" in Jn 3:18, 19, 20, 21. (See related descriptions in Lam 2:14, Is
58:1, Ezek 22:26, 44:23)
from hugies = healthy) is used literally of physical and
mental health (both being sound) and then figuratively as used by Paul
to refer to doctrinal teaching which is "healthy" and good "soul food"
because it is free from error and adulterants. There is a modern
movement toward "organic foods" as they are surmised to be healthier
than non-organic. How we pray that the Spirit would spur the modern
church to exhibit a similar movement back toward sound, healthy,
"organic" doctrine of the "pure milk of His Word" knowing that it is
only by this diet that the body of Christ will grow in maturity in
respect to salvation (cp 1Pe 2:2-note)
Our derivative words in
English include hygiene or hygienic which define the
conditions or practices conducive to good health...ponder that fact in the
context of Paul's use in this verse.
[word study]) is the content of that
which is taught not so much the method of teaching. Inherent in the
definition of didaskalia is the effect in shaping the will
of the one who receives the instruction.
Hiebert adds that they will not put up
with doctrine that is
healthful, useful, practical teaching" which gives "health and soundness
to the spiritual man. They will find the truth so intolerable because
its demands are contrary to their own desires. The Word is the
touchstone that reveals the their true character. (Hiebert)
Is this principle not true in your life? When we are
making provision for sin (Ro13:14-note)
or willfully sinning the last thing we want is for our unholy thinking
and behavior to be exposed by the light of God's Holy Word.
So why don't they endure
They do not want to hear the truth that
(if we are honest) none of us
really "enjoys" hearing. We
do not enjoy hearing that we are sinful, depraved, dirty, unclean,
selfish, immoral, unjust, unworthy, ever failing and always coming up
short (cp Paul's description of our moral condition before Christ came
into our life - Titus 3:3-note).
How do you feel right now having just read that sentence?! No one
enjoys hearing that we can do nothing whatsoever to become acceptable to
God. And as anyone who has ever shared the gospel knows all too well,
most people do not like hearing that Jesus Christ is the only Savior
the only Mediator (1Ti 2:5, He 8:6-note,
He 12:24-note), the only way a person can be saved
(see Jn 14:6 where "no one" meaning absolutely no one!
which equates with "one way", a truth that the lost world literally
despises) and made acceptable to God (cp 1Pe 2:5-note)
These things are painful to unregenerate ears and hearts and so
naturally professing unbelievers (cp Titus 1:16) refuse to tolerate
the sin exposing, liberating good news of the Gospel (Ro 1:16-note.
See the "Romans Road" which is a bit "rough" on the ears
and ego at the outset! = Ro 3:9-note,
And it is so ironic that these helpless (Ro 5:6-note)
God haters (Ro 1:30-note,
cp Ro 5:10-note,
cry "foul", claiming that the message of the Gospel of the grace of God
(Acts 20:24) is narrow minded and they persist in their
intolerance of the beliefs of others!
WANTING TO HAVE THEIR EARS TICKLED: alla kata tas idias epithumias
heautois knethomenoi (PPPMPN)
ten akoen: (Acts 17:19, 17:20, 17:21, 17:22, 23, 1Cor 2:1, 2:4
Gal 4:16 Ezek 33:31, 32, 33)
translations - itching
in the hearing (YLT);
to say what their itching ears want to hear
who will tell them whatever they want to hear (NLT);
who say the things they want to hear. (ICB);
they have ears which have to be continually titillated with novelties
(Barclay) They will want something to tickle their own fancies
For there will come
a time when men will refuse to listen to sound teaching, but, because
they have ears which have to be continually titillated with novelties,
they will bury themselves under a mound of teachers, whose teaching
suits their own lusts after forbidden things. They will avert their ears
from the truth, and they will turn to extravagant tales. As for you, be
steady in all things; accept the suffering which will come upon you; do
the work of an evangelist; leave no act of your service unfulfilled.
from knao = to scrape) in the
active voice means to tickle but in the
passive voice (as in this verse) means to be tickled
which describes an itching as if someone where tickling you.
In this verse knetho is an idiom that means "to itch with respect
to hearing" (English expression "itching ears")
Lucian has a
secular use writing "he does not even have enough time to scratch
Knetho is in the
present tense which indicates that was happening continually. They
continually sought to be "titillated" (to be
excited pleasurably or aroused by stimulation). The were continually
looking for new information an itch that the false teachers were only to
glad to scratch with their empty, deceptive, unsound words!
And so we see they have a desire
to hear not what they need to hear but what they
want to hear. They are more interested in something
different, something sensational, rather than something sobering
(truth)! Does this ring any "modern bells"?
These false "believers" are looking for
curiosities and interesting and juicy bits of information which temporarily relieves their itching
ears. They hear for mere gratification
and because the flesh is never satisfied
they run from one teacher to another, unsettled and restless, like the
weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses (epithumia
- lusts, sinful cravings & desires), always learning and never able to
come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Ti 3:6, 7-note)
Wuest explains that knetho...
describes that person who desires to hear for mere
gratification, like the Greeks at Athens who spent their time in
nothing else but either to tell or to hear, not some new thing,
but some newer thing (Acts17:21).
The comparative form of the adjective is used here, not the
positive. Ernest Gordon, commenting on this verse says: “Hardly
has the latest novelty been toyed with, than it is cast aside as
stale and frayed, and a newer is sought. One has here the volatile
spirit of the Greek city, so in contrast with the gravity and
poise of the Christian spirit, engaged with eternal things.” Such
is the spirit of Modernism with its teachings of the divinity of
mankind, and the relativity of truth, its rejection of the
doctrine of total depravity, the sacrificial atonement, the
resurrection, and the need of the new birth, catering to the
desires of a fallen race. It gratifies man’s pride. It soothes his
troubled conscience. The desire for the gratification of one’s
cravings is insatiable, and is increased or aggravated by having
that desire satisfied. Hence the heaping ("accumulate for") to
themselves of teachers.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
Clement of Alexandria describes
certain teachers as
scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly
desire to be scratched.
As the pagan Roman
Stoic philosopher and tutor to Nero Seneca (3BC-65AD) wrote:
Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theatre, for
pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the
was correct when he said
He who despises sound teaching leaves sound teachers; they seek
instructors like themselves.
Someone has said
the modern pulpit is a sounding board that is merely
saying back to the
people what they want to hear.
They prefer religious entertainment and sermons that will tickle their
ears instead of truths from Scripture that will pierce their hearts like Peter's sermon
Pentecost! (Acts 2:37)
- The apostle Paul warned Timothy that he would encounter people with an
ailment he called "itching ears" (2Ti 4:3). Those who have this
condition reject "sound doctrine" and look for teaching that suits
"their own desires."
For example, if they're offended by Christ's declaration, "No one comes
to the Father except through Me" (Jn. 14:6), they flock to a pastor who
says there are many ways to God.
Or some people reject the biblical teaching that those who engage in
sexual relationships outside of marriage are "fornicators and
adulterers" whom "God will judge" (He 13:4-note).
So they look for a teacher who says that the sexual standards in the
Bible are not binding in today's world.
I deplore what these people do, but I'm afraid that I too have "itching
ears." I love to hear strong affirmations of biblical standards and
sound doctrine. But I don't like to be confronted with Scripture about
prideful, self-righteous attitudes or lack of love for others.
Undoubtedly, all of us have this malady. We need to ask the Lord to
search our hearts and forgive us. He can change us so that we will
listen to what His Word says and obey it. That's the only antidote for
"itching ears." — Herbert Vander Lugt
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Master, speak, and
make me ready,
When Thy voice is truly heard,
With obedience glad and steady,
Still to follow every word. --Havergal
Obeying the truth is the remedy for itching ears.
Yeah, But . . . - Grading
university papers is full of surprises. Sometimes, one of my students
will successfully handle a subject and display good writing style, and I
feel as if my instruction was worthwhile.
Other surprises aren’t so pleasant. Like the paper in which a student
wrote, “The Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not ____.’?” He filled in the blank
with the activity he was writing about—even though Scripture does not
contain such a verse. I thought his biggest problem was not knowing
Scripture, until he concluded, “Although the Bible says this is wrong, I
don’t see why, so I think it’s okay.”
It’s dangerous and the worst kind of arrogance to think we know more
about an issue than God does. Scripture predicted this kind of thinking.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 4: “They will not endure sound doctrine, but
according to their own desires . . . they will heap up for themselves
teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth” (vv.3-4).
This points to people who set aside the inspired Word of God (3:16) in
order to accept teaching they think is “okay.”
When the Bible clearly spells out a principle, we honor
God by obeying Him. For believers, there’s no room for “Yeah, but . . .”
responses to Scripture. --Dave Branon
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
God who formed
worlds by the power of His Word
Speaks through the Scriptures His truth to be heard;
And if we read with the will to obey,
He by His Spirit will show us His way. —D. De Haan
The Bible: Read
it, believe it, obey it!
ACCUMULATE FOR THEMSELVES TEACHERS: episoreusousin (3PFAI) didaskalous:
(2Ti 3:6 1Ki 18:22; 2Chr 18:4;18:5 Jer 5:31; 23:16;17, 27:9; 29:8; Mic
2:11; Lk 6:26; Jn 3:19, 3:20, 3:21; 2Pet 2:1,2:2 2:3 )
translations - they shall heap up teachers (YLT); they will bury
themselves under a mound of teachers (Barclay); gather around them a
great number of teachers (NIV); they will collect teachers who will
pander to their own desires (Phillips); they will gather to themselves
one teacher after another to a considerable number (Amp), “To load
themselves with” (Luther)
accumulate - A prophecy which has become all too true in 21st
century American churches. They pile up preachers of (false) sermonettes for
(professing) "Christianettes"! These false teachers like to tell jokes, talk about self
using "religious" terms (2Ti 3:2-note),
and emphasize the emotional and
(cf 2Ti 3:5-note,
As Hosea wrote "like people, like priest" or as the
International Children's Bible accurately paraphrases it
The priests are as wrong as the people. (Hos 4:9)
from epi = upon + soreuo
= heap, pile = heap one thing on another like coals on one's head - Ro
12:20-note) means to accumulate in piles
and figuratively means to increase greatly or significantly increase the
number of something.
Episoreuo pictures the
apostates (this English word is derived from the Greek verb used in the
next verse for "turn away") as piling up teachers one upon another as if the sheer number of
false teachers will
make them right. These teachers give the people what they want,
but tragically not what they
desperately need for life and godliness (found only through a
true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. -
Marvin Vincent remarks that
episoreuo is a...
graphic statement. Episoreuo = to heap up... 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.
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.
master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise
men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. xvii)." (Bolding Added)
(Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament Vol. 4, Page
Van Oosterzee writes
Although the idea of a load, which
they thus burden themselves with, is not expressed precisely, yet the
contemptible and objectionable trait of their whole striving and working
is here plainly enough signified. (Lange,
J. P., Schaff, P., van Oosterzee, J. J., Washburn, E. A., & Harwood, E..
A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Timothy. Page 112.)
Accumulate or episoreuo
gives us a picture of multiplication so that there is a plethora of
these people pleasing preachers! The professing believers will go
through one teacher after another in their search to satisfy their lusts
and curiosity with only one primary goal, to gratify and pander to
"self". Beloved, do not be deceived...the fact that a preacher
has a large congregation is not always a sign that he is preaching the
Word of truth. And as Guzik
you have hearers with itching ears, you will have preachers with
itching palms - wanting to be scratched by money, and
satisfy the “market” of itching ears.
Vine observes that
It is a sad feature of the trend of things in the past centuries of the
history of Christendom, that certain congregations have adopted the plan
of choosing their own ministers. How paradoxical, that sheep should
choose their own shepherds!
didasko = teach to shape
will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp
didaskalía) is one who provides instruction
or systematically imparts truth.
The teacher teaches
in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is
Someone has said that "The great
teacher is the one who turns our ears into eyes so that we can see the
truth." Henry Brooks added that "A (Bible) teacher affects eternity; he
can never tell where his influence stops."
Didaskalos refers to
Jesus (the Master
Teacher) in 41
58 NT uses. Twice
Jesus calls Himself Teacher
(Mt 26:18, Jn 13:13-14). He is referred to as
Teacher by His
disciples (Mk 4:38; 9:38; 13:1; Lk 7:40; 21:7), by the Pharisees (Mt
8:19, 12:38), by Pharisees and Herodians (Mt 22:16); Sadducees (Mk
12:19), a teacher of the law (Mk 12:32), Jewish deceivers (Lk 20:21);
the rich young ruler (Lk 18:18), tax collectors (Lk 3:12) and His
friend Martha (Jn 11:28).
As an aside someone has said
our great Teacher writes many of His best lessons on the blackboard of
Richards writes that...
Jesus’ teaching focused on shaping
the hearers’ perception of God and God’s kingdom, and thus it dealt with
the implications of a personal relationship with God. In John’s Gospel,
much of Jesus’ public instruction focused on himself and his own place
as Son of God.
Mounce makes the point that
when the Jewish leaders called Jesus "Teacher",
they may not have been sincere...
For instance, in Lk 10:25 an expert
in the law comes to test Jesus and calls him didaskalos. However,
attempts to expose him as a pretender to the title of teacher are
unsuccessful and therefore serve to endorse his status as rabbi (Mt
22:46; Mk 12:34; Lk 20:39). (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of
Old & New Testament Words)
And although Jesus was frequently
C S Lewis makes the point that He was far more that just a
"I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great
moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is the one
thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of
things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be
a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else
he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this
man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a
demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us
not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human
teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (C. S.
LEWIS, Mere Christianity)
Didaskalos is the usual
translation of the Hebrew word Rabbi (see Jn 1:38, cp the Aramaic
word for teacher = Rabboni in Jn 20:16), a term which in Jesus' day
described those who were acknowledged as authorities on the Old
Testament and were teachers of divine truth.
Didaskalos also was used in Acts
and the Pauline epistles as a reference to teachers in the church. John
MacArthur commenting on 1Cor 12:28 writes...
The third office is that of
teacher, which may be the same as that of pastor–teacher (see Eph. 4:11;
Acts 13:1). I am inclined, however, to consider them as being separate.
The teacher not only has the gift of teaching but God’s calling to
teach. He is called and gifted for the ministry of studying and
interpreting the Word of God to the church. All who have the office of
teaching also have the gift of teaching, but not everyone with the gift
has the office.
(pseudodidaskalos from pseudes = false, lying, untrue, erroneous,
deceitful + didaskalos) (2Peter 2:1 , cp 1Ti 1:3, 6:3) are the
antithesis of true teachers. Chapter 2 of Second Peter provides one of
the best "descriptive definitions" of false teachers in all Scripture
and should be carefully studied by all Christ followers as we see these
charlatans proliferating in our age.
Word Study NT writes
refers to didáskaloi, teachers, with prophetai
(4396), prophets. From this it is concluded that in the Christian church
the didáskaloi, teachers, appear as having a special function
(Acts 13:1; 1Cor. 12:28, 29; Eph. 4:11; James 3:1). These didáskaloi
answer to the Jewish grammateís (pl.) (1122), scribes, and are to be
viewed as in a special sense acquainted with and interpreters of God’s
salvation (Matt. 13:52; Luke 2:46). To them fell the duty of giving
progressive instruction of God’s redeeming purpose, a function which,
according to Eph. 4:11, (Zodhiates)
didaskalos noting that...
calls attention to two aspects, being applied on the one side to the
insight of the one who is to be instructed and on the other to the
knowledge presupposed in the teacher. In relation to the second aspect,
especially when it is a question of practical arts and crafts, the
example of the teacher forms a bridge to the knowledge and ability of
Roy Zuck summarizes
was one who publicly instructed others concerning the things of God.
This word is used of Jesus (it corresponds to the Hebrew rabbi), of John
the Baptist (Luke 3:12), of Jewish learned men (didaskaloi is
rendered “doctors” in Luke 2:46), of Paul (1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11) of
leaders in the church, including Barnabas, Lucius, and Manaen (Acts
13:1), and of other gifted men in the body of Christ (1Cor 12:28; Eph
Words for Teach - article by Roy Zuck in Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 122)
Teacher (Webster) - An
instructor; a preceptor; a tutor; one whose business or occupation is to
instruct others. A person who imparts knowledge in how to do something
(E.g., how to live the Christian life!), especially in a school or as
part of a recognized program (E.g., The "School of Christ").
George MacDonald wrote
No teacher should strive to
make men think as he thinks, but to lead them to the living Truth, to
the Master himself, of whom alone they can learn anything.
There are two kinds of education—one
teaches us how to make a living and the other teaches us how to live.
In the OT we see that God is the
I am the Lord
your God who teaches you to profit (Isa. 48:17); Who is a teacher like
God? (Job 36:22); Your Teacher will no longer hide himself (Isa. 30:20).
David Turner adds that...
and extent of this biblical vocabulary make it clear that teaching
is at the heart of God's plan for redemptive history. God as the
ultimate Teacher has mandated in Scripture that teaching occur in
two primary contexts, both of which arise from His creative and
redemptive acts. God delegates teaching to the family and the redeemed
community. Both institutions explain his gracious initiative in
redemption and urge a loving, obedient response. God's gracious
initiative places his people in covenant relationship with him in which
parents teach their children and spiritually gifted leaders of the
people of God teach its members. Thus, the following discussion will
focus on teaching in the nuclear family and in the extended family, the
people of God. (Baker's
Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
Who do teachers teach?
(How are they described in the
NT?) "Learners" which is the meaning of the Greek word for
Beloved, learners are not some class of "super" believers, but
are descriptive of all believers contrary to some modern evangelical
teaching. The first evangelical church of Jerusalem set the pattern by
referring to believers as "disciples" more than by any other name
(Acts 6:1, 2, 7; 9:1, 10, 19, 25, 26 38; 11:26, 29; 13:52; 14:20, 22,
28; 15:10; 16:1; 18:23, 27; 19:1, 9, 30; 20:1, 30; 21:4, 16 - note
especially Acts 11:26). It costs to follow Jesus Christ, but it
costs more not to, and so we do well to not deviate from the pattern of
the early church which was a disciple making church (cp Mt 28:19, 20).
And as Juan Ortiz reminds
is more than getting to know what the teacher knows. It is
getting to be what he is.
What do teachers teach?
The Word of Truth. As Chrysostom said...
means and one way of cure has been given us and that is the teaching of
the Word. Without it nothing else will avail.
As Richard Glover put it...
As seed is
made for soil and soil for seed, so the heart is made for God's truth
and God's truth for the heart.
Spurgeon adds that...
If you wish
to know God you must know his Word.
The great Puritan writer Thomas
Watson said that...
is both the breeder and feeder of grace.
And so it follows that the
Biblical didaskalos is to teach the Word and nothing but the Word, so
help him God. And indeed God does provide His help to the teacher as
well as to the learner. Jesus made it clear to His disciples that their
(and our) Teacher is ultimately the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26, 16:13,
14,15, 1Jn 2:20, 27).
Here are some well known saints
statements regarding your best Teacher, the Holy Spirit (From
John Blanchard's Complete Gathered
Gold: A Treasury of Quotations for Christians OR
- Highly recommended -
by far the best quotation collection!)
God does not
bestow the Spirit on his people in order to set aside the use of his
Word, but rather to render it fruitful. - John Calvin
The Word is the chariot of the Spirit, the Spirit the guider of the
Word. - Stephen Charnock
Unless God imparts the spiritual ability to hear his voice, one hears
nothing but meaningless words. -Ronald Dunn
Revelation is the act of communicating divine knowledge by the Spirit to
the mind. Inspiration is the act of the same Spirit, controlling those
who make the truth known. - Charles Hodge
If God does not open and explain Holy Writ, no one can understand it; it
will remain a closed book, enveloped in darkness.- Martin Luther
Proper understanding of the Scriptures comes only through the Holy
Spirit. - Martin Luther
Ghost must be the only master to teach us, and let youth and scholar not
be ashamed to learn of this tutor. - Martin Luther
He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands
has all he needs. - Alexander Maclaren
God's mind is revealed in Scripture, but we can see nothing without the
spectacles of the Holy Ghost. - Thomas Mantona
If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, he will do it according to the
Scriptures, and never contrary to them. - George Muller
(The Holy Spirit) has not promised to reveal new truths, but to enable
us to understand what we read in the Bible; and if we venture beyond the
pale of Scripture we are upon enchanted ground and exposed all the
illusions of imagination and enthusiasm. - John Newton
If you want to understand the Bible, get on your knees... You will learn
more in one hour of prayerful communion with the Spirit than in a
thousand years in all the schools of human culture. - A. T. Pierson
The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by
supernatural aid. - A. W. Tozer
The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures will expect obedience to the
Scriptures, and if we do not give that obedience we will quench him. -
A. W. Tozer
Oswald Chambers has some
words for all teachers...
teacher fascinates with his doctrine, his teaching never came from
God. The teacher sent from God is the one who clears the way to Jesus
and keeps it clear; souls forget altogether about him because the vision
of Jesus is the only abiding result. When people are attracted to Jesus
Christ through you, see always that you stay on God all the time, and
their hearts and affections will never stop at you.
Didaskalos - 59x in 58v in
the NAS - Translated as - eacher(41), teacher(10), teachers(8).
In Septuagint it is found only in Esther 6:1 (in apocrypha - 2Macc 1:10)
Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You
wherever You go."
Matthew 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples,
"Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?"
Matthew 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above
his master.25 "It is enough for the disciple that he become like his
teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of
the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his
Morris: Christ is our "master" (or "teacher"); we are His disciples
(or students). Also, He is our "lord" ("ruler"); we are His servants
(actually slaves). The disciple must believe what his master teaches,
and the servant must do what his Lord commands. It is interesting to
note that Christians are called disciples only in the four gospels and
the book of Acts, never in the epistles. They are called His servants,
however, throughout eternity (Revelation 22:3).
Matthew 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him,
"Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
Matthew 17:24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the
two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your
not pay the two-drachma tax?"
Matthew 19:16 And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher,
what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"
Matthew 22:16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the
Herodians, saying, "Teacher,
we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and
defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
Matthew 22:24 asking, "Teacher,
Moses said, 'IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF
KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.'
Matthew 22:36 "Teacher,
which is the great commandment in the Law?"
Matthew 23:8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your
and you are all brothers.
In Jesus’ day the term Rabbi was not a formal title (as in our time in
which it identifies an ordained spiritual leader of the synagogue).
Instead, it was a term of dignity given by the Jews to their
distinguished teachers. The Pharisees loved to be called “Rabbi,” but in
this passage Jesus countered that teaching explaining that One was their
Teacher, the Christ Himself.
And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The
says, "My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My
Mark 4:38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and
they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher,
do You not care that we are perishing?"
Mark 5:35 While He was still speaking, they came from the house of
the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the
Mark 9:17 And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher,
I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute;
Mark 9:38 John said to Him, "Teacher,
we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent
him because he was not following us."
Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him
and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Mark 10:20 And he said to Him, "Teacher,
I have kept all these things from my youth up."
Mark 10:35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to
Jesus, saying, "Teacher,
we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You."
Mark 12:14 They came and said to Him, "Teacher,
we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not
partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a
poll-tax to Caesar, or not?
Mark 12:19 "Teacher,
Moses wrote for us that IF A MAN'S BROTHER DIES and leaves behind a wife
AND LEAVES NO CHILD, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE AND RAISE UP
CHILDREN TO HIS BROTHER.
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, "Right,
You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES
Mark 13:1 As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples
said to Him, "Teacher,
behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!"
Mark 14:14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The
says, "Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My
Luke 2:46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting
in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them
Is this not evidence of Jesus incredible sense of humility.
Luke 3:12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they
said to him, "Teacher,
what shall we do?"
Here refers to John the Baptist as teacher.
Luke 6:40 "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has
been fully trained, will be like his teacher.
Luke 7:40 And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to
you." And he replied, "Say it,
Luke 8:49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house
of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not
trouble the Teacher
Luke 9:38 And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, "Teacher,
I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy,
Luke 10:25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Luke 11:45 One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, "Teacher,
when You say this, You insult us too."
Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher,
tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."
Luke 18:18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Luke 19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher,
rebuke Your disciples."
Luke 20:21 They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher,
we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to
any, but teach the way of God in truth.
Luke 20:28 and they questioned Him, saying, "Teacher,
Moses wrote for us that IF A MAN'S BROTHER DIES, having a wife, AND HE
IS CHILDLESS, HIS BROTHER SHOULD MARRY THE WIFE AND RAISE UP CHILDREN TO
Luke 20:39 Some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher,
You have spoken well."
Luke 21:7 They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher,
when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when
these things are about to take place?"
Luke 22:11 "And you shall say to the owner of the house, 'The
says to you, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover
with My disciples?"'
John 1:38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them,
"What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means
Teacher), where are You staying?"
Rabbi is from a Semitic root word meaning “great” or “head” and is only
used in the Gospels and then usually of Jesus. In John 3:26, the
disciples of John the Baptist also addressed him as rabbi.
John 3:2 this
man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You
have come from God as a
teacher; for no one can do
these signs that You do unless God is with him."
John 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him (Nicodemus), "Are you the
teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
Nicodemus is not just "a" teacher but in the Greek the definite article
(the) is present which identifies Nicodemus as "the specific teacher."
This suggests that Nicodemus was the preeminent Bible scholar among the
Jewish leaders. As such, he should have been able to discern these
truths from the prophetic Scriptures of the OT (Isa 44:3; Ezekiel 11:19,
20, 36:26, 27 Jer 31:31-34, 32:39,40, Dt 30:6, Zech 12:10). Nicodemus
obviously did not understand what Ezekiel was referring to for example
in (Ezekiel 36:26) and thus he was unable to comprehend Jesus' reference
to new birth, even though Ezekiel's language was very similar to that of
Jesus. Note well that one may possess much knowledge of Scripture
and yet still lack the God given spiritual insight necessary to see (Jn
3:3 "cannot see") spiritual truth in God's Word. Beware: The externals
of religion may have a deadening effect on one’s spiritual perception.
Nicodemus did not understand because it was outside of his groove (Rote,
Rut, Rot are the three terrible R's of the traditions of men).
Nicodemus came “by night,” and he was still in the dark! He could not
understand the new birth even after Jesus had explained it to him. Alas,
“the teacher of the Jews” knew the facts recorded in the Scriptures, but
he could not understand the truths.
John 8:4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught
in adultery, in the very act.
John 11:28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her
sister, saying secretly, "The
Teacher is here and is calling for
John 13:13 "You call Me
Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for
so I am. 14 "If I then, the Lord and the
washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in
Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means,
Acts 13:1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there,
prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger,
and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the
tetrarch, and Saul.
Romans 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the
immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles,
second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of
healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29
All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are
not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are
Clearly every church needs teachers who are exercising their gift in the
unctino and power of the supreme Teacher, the Holy Spirit.
Dear reader, do you have the spiritual gift of teaching and yet you are
not teaching? You will be accountable at the Bema Seat of Christ
Ro 14:10, 11, 12-note).
As God's workmanship (masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus, make the
choice to "walk" in the good works which God has prepared beforehand (Eph 2:10-note).
Don't miss your "once in a lifetime" opportunity (See
Will it cost you? Sure it will cost, but real ministry always costs (cp Paul's
laboring to the point of exhaustion but note who is bearing the yoke
with Him in this the last section of verse 29 - see Col 1:28-note,
Paul's pattern begs the question -
Are you teaching in your "strength" or "His strength"? You'll get burned
out if the answer is the former! You need to "learn Paul's secret" (Phil
so that you will be enabled by the Spirit to do all things for His glory
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and
some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
MacArthur comments: Though teaching can be identified as a ministry
on its own (1 Cor. 12:28), pastors and teachers are best understood as
one office of leadership in the church.
1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am
telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles
in faith and truth.
2 Timothy 1:11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle
and a teacher.
Note that Paul did not earn or seek these offices. They were given to
him by divine appointment.
MacArthur says that didaskalos "emphasizes his
interpreting the message he authoritatively proclaimed."
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate
for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers,
you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles
of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren,
knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
Mears is undoubtedly the greatest Christian education genius of our
time. As Christian ed director of Hollywood Presbyterian Church during
the 1940s and 1950s she built the Sunday school to the then unheard of
proportions of 4,000. At the end of her life Teacher, as she was
affectionately called, could count no less than 400 young people who
went into Christian service under her direct influence. Thumbing through
her biography I noted photographs of seminarians who came through her
college department, including such later notables as Richard Halverson,
chaplain of the United States Senate, and several prominent pastors and
theologians. She took young Billy Graham under her wing, and also Bill
Bright, who would go on to found Campus Crusade for Christ. She was a
woman of immense personal influence. Henrietta Mears’s vast influence
extended far beyond the walls of her church. She was a prime mover in
the founding of the National Sunday School Association. Gospel Light
Publications, today a major publishing house, was formed by her to
provide quality Sunday school materials. She was also the visionary and
tireless force behind the founding of Forest Home, the great conference
center where thousands upon thousands of people have come to Christ.
When Teacher died in the early sixties, officials at Forest Lawn
Memorial Park said it was the largest graveside crowd in twenty years—an
astounding fact, considering that many of Hollywood’s most famous
celebrities are buried there. Henrietta Mears’s life is an eloquent
testimony to the positive influence of a gifted teacher who was totally
committed to Christ.
goes on to relate the following story of an elderly teacher:
Howard Hendricks, who has taught Christian education at Dallas
Theological Seminary for over forty years, has told about an experience
he had at a Sunday school convention:
A number of
us who were speaking there went across the street at noon to get a bite
to eat at a hamburger stand. The place was crowded and people were
standing in line. An elderly lady was in front of me. I guessed she was
about 65—she was 83, I learned later. She wore a convention badge, so I
knew she was a conferee. There was a table for four open, so two friends
and I invited her to join us. I asked her the obvious question: “Do you
teach a Sunday School class?” “Oh, I certainly do,” she said. I
visualized a class of senior citizens, but asked her: “What age group do
you teach?” “I teach a class of junior high boys.” “Junior high boys!
How many boys do you have?” “Thirteen,” she said sweetly. “Tremendous! I
suppose you come from a rather large church.” “No, sir, it’s very
small,” she said. “We have about fifty-five in Sunday School.” Hardly
daring to go on, I said, “What brings you to this Sunday School
convention?” “I’m on a pension—my husband died a number of years ago,”
she replied, “and, frankly, this is the first time a convention has come
close enough to my home so I could afford to attend. I bought a
Greyhound ticket and rode all last night to get here this morning and
attend two workshops. I want to learn something that will make me a
went on to add, “I heard a sequel to this story some time later. A
doctor told me there are eighty-four young men in or moving toward the
Christian ministry as a result of this woman’s influence.” As Howard
Hendricks would say, “May her tribe increase!”
R. K. James : Faith that works. Preaching the Word. Crossway
TEACHERS - Dear
faithful teacher of God's Word, are you discouraged by results that seem
far from fruitful? Then take a moment and read the following anonymous
poem written shortly after the American Civil War
The Noisy Seven
I wonder if he remembers, that
teacher, blest in Heaven,
The class in the old red schoolhouse,
known as the 'Noisy Seven'?
I wonder if he remembers how restless
we used to be,
Or thinks we forgot the lessons of
Christ and Gethsemane?
I wish I could tell the story as he
used to tell it then;
For surely with Heaven's blessing I
could reach the hearts of men.
That voice so touchingly tender comes
down to me through the years,
With pathos which seems to mingle his
own with the Savior's tears.
I often wish I could tell him, though
we caused him so much pain,
By our thoughtless, boyish frolic,
the lessons were not in vain!
I'd like to tell him how Harry, the
merriest one of all,
From the bloody fields of Shiloh went
Home at his Master's call.
I'd like, yes, I'd like to tell him
what his lessons did for me,
And how I am trying to follow that
Christ of Gethsemane.
Perhaps he knows it already, for
Harry has told him, may be,
That we are coming — coming, through
the Christ of Calvary!
How many besides, I know not, will
gather at last in Heaven —
The fruit of his faithful sowing —
but the sheaves are surely seven!"
Don't be discouraged —
keep plowing, planting, and praying!
Cast thy bread upon the waters;
Why wilt thou still doubting stand?
Bounteous shall God send the harvest,
If thou sow'st with liberal hand.
- There is a story about a man who wanted to train his mule. The first
thing he did was to pick up a big stick and hit the mule a resounding
wallop between the ears. As the mule staggered about, someone said to
him, “What is the matter? Why did you do that?” The man said, “To teach
a mule, you must first get his attention.” That observation may or may
not be true of mules, but there is a good deal of truth in it when
applied to humans. Interest must be awakened before learning can occur.
Old teachers never
die, they just grade away.
The best of teachers are those
who have laboured to be understood by the dullest capacities. Preachers
who all along have aimed to suit the educated never become so simple or
efficient as those who have made a point of explaining even the elements
of faith to the ignorant. (Feathers for Arrows)
John Brown, of Haddington, said to a
young minister, who complained of the smallness of his congregation, "It
is as large a one as you will want to give account for in the day of
judgment." The admonition is appropriate; not to ministers alone, but to
all teachers. (Feathers for Arrows)
has the following note on "Teacher"...
1. Jesus as the Teacher: In the New
Testament we find that Jesus is pre-eminently the teacher, though He was
also preacher and healer (Mt 4:23). His Sermon on the Mount was
matchless teaching. He opened His mouth and "taught" (Mt 5:2). The
titles "teacher," "master," "rabbi" all indicate the most prominent
function of His active ministry. Even at the age of 12 years He revealed
His wisdom and affinity in the midst of the rabbis or Jewish teachers of
the Law in the temple (Lk 2:41 f). In the power of the Spirit He taught
so that all recognized His authority (Lk 4:14,15; Mt 7:29). He explained
to the disciples in private what He taught the people in public (Mt
13:36). His principles and methods of teaching constitute the standard
by which all true pedagogy is measured, and the ideal toward which all
subsequent teachers have toiled with only partial success (Mt 7:28,29;
Jn 1:49; 3:2; 6:46). In the Commission as recorded in Mt 28:18,19,20 we
have the work of Christianity presented in educational terms. We find
the supreme authority (Mt 28:18), the comprehensive content--the
evangelistic, the ceremonial, the educational, the practical (Mt 28:19,
20a), and the inspiring promise (Mt 28:20b).
2. Apostolic Labors: The emphasis laid upon teaching in the Apostolic
age is a natural consequence of the need of the people and the commands
of Jesus. The practice of the apostles is quite uniform. They preached
or proclaimed, but they also expounded. In Jerusalem the converts
continued in the apostles' teaching (Acts 2:42); and daily in the temple
and in the homes of the people the teaching was correlated with
preaching (Acts 5:42). In Antioch, the center of foreign missionary
operations, Paul, Silas, Barnabas and many others taught the word of the
Lord (Acts 15:35). In Thessalonica, Paul and Silas for three weeks
reasoned with the people out of the Scriptures, opening up the sacred
secrets and proving to all candid minds that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts
17:1-3). In Berea, instruction in the synagogue was followed by private
study, and as a result many believed in the Lord (Acts 17:10-15). In
Athens, Paul discussed and explained the things of the kingdom of God,
both in the synagogue 3 times a week and in the market daily (Acts 17:16
f). In Corinth, Paul having been denied the use of the synagogue taught
the word of the Lord for a year and a half in the house of Justus, and
thus laid the foundation for a great church (Acts 18:1-11). In Ephesus,
Paul taught for 2 years in the school of Tyrannus, disputing and
persuading the people concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8-10). In
Rome, Paul expounded the word, testified to its truth, and persuaded men
to accept the gospel (Acts 28:23). His method of work in Rome under
trying limitations is described as cordially receiving the people and
preaching the kingdom of God, and "teaching the things concerning the
Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 28:30,31).
3. General Considerations: The office of teacher is fundamentally
related to the creation of a missionary atmosphere (Acts 13:1).
Religious teaching is necessary to the development of Christian
character and the highest efficiency in service (1 Cor 12:4-11,28,29;
Eph 4:11,12). The qualification of the pastor is vitally connected with
the teaching function of the church. He is to hold the truth, or to be
orthodox (Tit 1:9), to apply the truth, or to be practical (Tit 1:9), to
study the truth, or to be informed (1 Tim 4:13,15), to teach the truth,
or to be equipped or able and tactful (2 Tim 2:2; 1 Tim 3:2), to live
the truth, or to be faithful in all things (2 Tim 2:2; 1 Tim 4:16). The
teaching function of Christianity in the 2nd century became strictly
official, thereby losing much of its elasticity. A popular manual for
the guidance of religious teachers was styled the "Teaching of the
Twelve" '(see DIDACHE). The writings of the Apostolic Fathers give
valuable information in regard to the exercise of the gifts of teaching
in the early centuries (Didache xiii.2; xv. 1, 2; Barnabas 18; Ignatius
to the Ephesians 31). (Teaching)
Such is the spirit of Modernism with its teachings of the divinity of
mankind, and the relativity of truth, its rejection of the doctrine of
total depravity, the sacrificial atonement, the resurrection, and the
need of the new birth, catering to the desires of a fallen race. It
gratifies man’s pride. It soothes his troubled conscience. The desire
for the gratification of one’s cravings is insatiable, and is increased
or aggravated by having that desire satisfied. Hence the heaping to
themselves of teachers.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
Wiersbe describes these church members
as those who
want religious entertainment from Christian performers
who will tickle their ears. We have a love for novelty in the churches
today: emotional movies, pageants, foot-tapping music, colored lights,
etc. The man who simply opens the Bible is rejected while the shallow
religious entertainer becomes a celebrity. And verse 4 indicates that
itching ears soon will become deaf ears as people turn away from the
truth and believe man-made fables.
W. W. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill.:
God exposed the nature
and worthlessness of the words of ear ticklers in Jeremiah's time which
is little different from the time prophesied by Paul --
have in common with grain?" declares the LORD. Is not My word like
fire?" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock?
Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams," declares
the LORD, "and related them, and
led My people astray by
their falsehoods and reckless boasting;
yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this
people the slightest benefit,"
declares the LORD.
(Jer 23:28, 29, 32)
And in Lamentations God
describes the "ancestors" of these modern false preachers...
Your prophets have seen for you false
and foolish visions and they have not exposed
your iniquity so
as to restore you
but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.
WITH THEIR OWN DESIRES: alla kata tas idias epithumias heautois:
Other translations -
dominated by their own personal cravings (Wuest);
to suit their own desires (NIV); moved
by their desires
according to their own tastes (NJB);
teaching suits their own lusts after forbidden things (Barclay);
satisfy their own desires,
(Berkley); who will pander to their own desires (Phillips)
Isaiah records a similar "unwilling to accept God's truth" mindset in OT Israel
describing them as
a rebellious (Lxx = apeithes = not persuadable, disobedient), people, false (Lxx = pseudes = false, lying) sons, sons who refuse
to listen (Greek has "absolutely not willing to
hear and to obey") to the instruction of the Lord 10 Who say to
the seers, “You must not see visions”;
And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us (Lxx = command
"must not report") what is right. Speak to (Lxx = command to
continually report to) us pleasant words (Lxx actually reads = another kind of
deception or error!). Prophesy illusions. 11 Get out of the way, turn
aside from the path. Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel. (Isa
Here is the reading of this passage in
Brenton's translation of the
For the people is disobedient, false children, who would not
hear the law of God: who say to the prophets, Report not to us; and to
them that see visions, Speak them not to us, but speak and report to
us another error; and turn us aside from this way; remove from us this
path, and remove from us the oracle of Israel.
Do you see what
the Israelites were asking for?! Here in Timothy we see an amazing
parallel. In other words tell what we want to hear, not what we
need to hear. Note the tragic
reversal of God's intended plan, so that instead of choosing teachers who
will exhort them to control their sinful desires, they choose teachers
who allow and even encourage them to fulfill their ungodly lusts (cp 2Ti
In that same vein, it is notable that someone has said "Some people go to church to close their eyes
and others to eye the clothes!"
desires - Own (idias) is emphatic. Their very own desires.
Their own lusts
(emphatic), which direct them in this, stand in direct opposition to the
demands of the word of God to which they were bound to submit. It is
less, in itself considered, the large number of teachers chosen in this
way, than the ceaseless change which pleases these men, and for which
they crave. The innermost motive is expressed in the words: Having
itching ears, strictly, while they are tickled in hearing (knetho.
passive); i.e., while they wish to hear what pleasantly tickles the ear.
We find a striking parallel to the description of these men in the
portraiture of the contemporaries of Ezekiel (Ezek. 33:30 31 32 33).
Paul brings to the notice of Timothy as well the reason why they heap up
their own teachers, as also the standard which they apply in the choice
of them. (Lange,
J. P., Schaff, P., van Oosterzee, J. J., Washburn, E. A., & Harwood, E..
A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Timothy. Page 112.)
Desires (1939) (epithumia
[word study] from epi =
upon + thumos = passion, desire) literally pictures these
"professors" as having fixed their sinful desire upon self
("their own"), which corresponds to Paul's earlier warning that
men would be "lovers
of good...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God"
2Ti 3:3, 3:4-note)
People will want
teachers who will allow them to live like they desire (lust) This
truth emphasizes that one’s doctrine cannot be separated
from one's behavior. Man, with his depraved natural instinct, does not
want God’s revelation but would rather hear what he wants to hear. The
attitude of the lost is, "Make me feel good about myself. Tell me
something sensational, entertaining, or that builds up my ego."
preachers they heap up are
like the philosophers in ancient Athens who spent their time
nothing other than telling or hearing something new (Acts17:21).
This also shows that if we do want to hear God’s word, God is doing
something wonderful in us. Left to ourselves, we would rather do
it our way, but God changes our heart in wonderful ways, giving us a
desire for His word.