by Mike Ratliff
1Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ· 2κήρυξον τὸν λόγον, ἐπίστηθι εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως, ἔλεγξον, ἐπιτίμησον, παρακάλεσον, ἐν πάσῃ μακροθυμίᾳ καὶ διδαχῇ. 3Ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς ὅτε τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας οὐκ ἀνέξονται ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύσουσιν διδασκάλους κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοὴν 4καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν ἀκοὴν ἀποστρέψουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 NA28)
1 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, the one who is about to judge the living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom; 2 preach the word. Be ready in season, out of season, expose, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For there will be a time when they will not bear sound doctrine; but lusting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers who do that very thing, 4 and turning their ears away from the truth they will be turned instead unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
One of the major reasons why the uncompromised preaching of God’s truth is so important is because there will come a time when people “will not (οὐκ) bear (ἀνέξονται)” [i.e. “put up with”] sound doctrine or as the Greek literally says, ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας or “healthy teaching.” What that means is teaching that is uncompromisingly God-centered and Biblically correct not watered down and or man-centered in order to be man pleasing or “culturally relevant.” God’s truth will never be “politically correct.” In their rebellion, “after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” My brethren, those days are here!
In the Greek, the verb structure of the action of the people turning away from the truth is in the active voice. That means they willfully choose to turn away. However, the action that describes their turning unto fables actually says in the Greek, “shall be turned unto fables,” that is, it is the passive voice. That means that they do not choose this result. They are being acted upon and have no choice. In other words, because they willfully turned away, they now will unwillingly be deceived by fables.
The Greek word I translated as “fables” is μύθους or “muthos,” and is where we get the English words myth and mythology. In Classical Greek, μύθους is a tale or fable that is “fabricated by the mind in contrast to reality.” Plato’s myths, for example, were legendary, such as the myths of Eros, creation, the world to come, and judgment of the dead. In the New Testament, μύθους is always used to denote a cunning fable full of falsehoods and pretenses for the purpose deceiving others.
When people willingly turn from God’s truth they will unwillingly be deceived. Just look around at the visible church in our time my brethren. The apostasy is everywhere. Why is this so? Most of the church won’t tolerate true preaching, that is, preaching which proclaims truth and confronts sin, doctrinal error is everywhere: God’s sovereignty has been redefined in the “Open Theism” movement. Spiritual Formation, which has mysticism as one of its main foundations, has been accepted as a quicker, better way of becoming “Sanctified.” So called” extra-biblical prophecies are accepted as valid and so people follow these charlatans down the road to perdition. Hell is denied as a reality, marriage is under attack and seen as no longer relevant and homosexuality, fornication, abortion, are just overlooked if not defended in some pulpits. Why? There is virtually zero discernment left in the church today and those who do have it are looked at as troublemakers when they do stand against what is unbiblical. Error is rampant because we have willingly turned away from the truth.
We must pray that we always desire truth and never turn away from it.
Soli Deo Gloria!