2 Timothy 4:4
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.
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(4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth.—This was the punishment of those who would only listen to what was pleasing to them, and which flattered instead of reproved their way of life. They became involved in the many various errors in doctrine which were then taught in the schools of the heretics, and they ended by turning away from every Christian truth. On the “fables” which they substituted for those great and eternal truths, see 1Timothy 1:4.

4:1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.And they shall turn away their ears from the truth - That is, the people themselves will turn away from the truth. It does not mean that the teachers would turn them away by the influence of their instructions.

And shall be turned unto fables; - See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:4.

4. The ear brooks not what is opposed to the man's lusts.

turned—Greek, "turned aside" (1Ti 1:6). It is a righteous retribution, that when men turn away from the truth, they should be turned to fables (Jer 2:19).

fables—(1Ti 1:4).

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth; either in contempt, or scorn of it, as being delivered in too plain notions or style; or through impatience, not enduring their lusts should be touched, and the evil of their ways showed them.

And shall be turned unto fables; delighting to hear fables, any idle stories, or impertinent discourses, provided they touch not their lusts. Missa non mordet, The mass will not bite, was an old saying of the popish faction. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,.... The solid truths of the Gospel, not being able to bear the hearing of them:

and shall be turned unto fables; things idle, trifling, useless, and, unprofitable; and which are no better than old wives' fables; some respect may be had either to Jewish fables, or to the miraculous mythologies of the Gentiles, or of the Gnostics, and others: but in general, it includes everything that is vain, empty, and senseless; and this is to be considered as a just judgment upon them; that since they like not to retain the knowledge of the truth, but turn away their ears from it, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, a mind void of sense and judgment, to attend to things idle and fabulous.

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto {a} fables.

(a) To false and unprofitable doctrines which the world is now so bewitched with, that it would rather have the open light of the truth completely put out, than it would come out of darkness.

2 Timothy 4:4. The ears serve as a passage through which the truth may reach the understanding and the heart. Those who starve their understanding and heart have no use for the truth, and do not, as they would say, waste hearing power on it.

μύθους: See note on 1 Timothy 1:4.4. shall turn away their ears] Better will. The word for ‘ears’ here and above is literally ‘the hearing’; it is used in classical Greek for ‘ear’ when there is reference to the act of hearing, not merely as a member of the body. See Alford on Hebrews 5:11, who quotes Philo i. 474, ‘they have ears but no hearings in them.’ Hence the exact propriety of our word in the plural, Mark 7:35, and the significance of Bengel’s comment, ‘non unus in aure meatus.’

shall be turned unto] The verb Isaiah 2 nd fut. passive, but middle in sense, ‘will turn themselves aside.’ So with R.V. will turn aside. The aor. pass. from which this future is formed has occurred 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 5:15, the pres. part. 1 Timothy 6:20, the last with an accusative of the object turned from. Cf. Winer, Gr., § 38. 2, b; § 38. 4.

unto fables] The article has the same force as above, 2 Timothy 2:22-23, ‘these fables’ which are now being invented and circulated. Cf. Titus 1:14.2 Timothy 4:4. Τὴν ἀκοὴν, their hearing) The ear of man does not brook teachers who are opposed to the lusts of the heart.Verse 4. - Will turn for they shall turn, A.V.; turn aside for shall be turned, A.V. Will turn away, etc. The sober, sound doctrine of the Word of God, teaching self-discipline, humility, and purity of heart and life, will not assuage their itching ears, and therefore they will turn away from it, and go after more congenial fables - those taught by the heretics. Turn aside (ἐκτραπήσοναι); as 1 Timothy 1:6, note. Fables (μύθους); see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16 (on the Jewish origin of these fables, see Bishop Ellicott's note on 1 Timothy 1:4). Shall be turned unto fables (ἐπὶ τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται)

More correctly, will turn aside. The passive has a middle sense. For fables see on 1 Timothy 1:4.

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