Paul’s last letter is 2Timothy. His execution is imminent (4:6), yet he encourages his young, fellow-worker Timothy. Significantly, in this letter is the undiminished glory of the Evangel that was entrusted to him, against the background of a christendom, which, as a great house, is in decline (2Tim.2:17-21). From the book of Acts, we know that Paul, through his preaching, had left a trail of ecclesias behind him in Asia. But now, at the end of his life, he finds that “ALL in Asia have turned away from me” (1:15). How much pain is hidden in such a comment! Timothy gets in this letter the assurance that what had happened in Asia, is a preview of what would take place throughout Christendom.
3 For the era will be when they will not tolerate sound teaching, but, their hearing being tickled, they will heap up for themselves teachers in accord with their own desires,
4 and, indeed, they will be turning their hearing away from the truth, yet will be turned aside to myths.
Notice the definite tone: the time described here, will come assuredly. Also, note the general character: the people will not endure sound doctrine. All in Asia had turned away from Paul, and Timothy is being prepared that this will be the situation throughout Christendom. That which is called the “professing church” will, en masse, turn away from the truth and not tolerate sound doctrine. Try it and tell the truth (the Scriptures – 2Tim.3:16,17) to Christians and they will turn away from you. Teach sound doctrine and they will not bear it. Instead of accepting sound doctrine, they have, in accord with their own desires, gathered to themselves teachers they approve of. Literally, the verb used means to accumulate. An endless mountain of books, audio programs, church communities, confessions, theological training, conferences, radio broadcasts, magazines, institutions, etc., are accumulated, in which teachers tell the people what they like to hear. Not truth, but fiction. Although doctrine, but not sound doctrine.
Why do I write this blog? I regularly receive comments from people, who through the website of GoedBericht.nl have come to know the Good News concerning “the Saviour of all mankind”. They have seen the Scriptures open-up and their hearts have been put on fire (See: Luke24:32). But they always get their joy dampened by the aversion they encounter, everywhere, among Christians, churches and congregations. Precisely where they think to meet a receptive ear, in practice, they encounter an intolerable environment. People can not bear to hear, “It is written.” It is for the encouragement of those who suffer on account of this negativeness, that I draw attention to the farewell message of the apostle Paul. It is painful to experience the massive rejection, precisely among Christians. It is lonely, nowhere being able to find a “home” church. However, it is not necessary to be frustrated. Disappointment is always based on too high an expectation.The development in Christendom has been foretold with precision. We would, therefore, not expect otherwise! From out of that perspective, we have one more reason to rejoice in the truth of the Scripture and of Paul’s words, in particular!
Translation: Peter Feddema