Want to Hear a New & Improved Bible?
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.” (2 Tim. 4:2-3)
The verse says “the time will come;” and I think we’re there.
In our “time,” churches, Christian blogs, and online magazines race to find new material and put “relevant,” “contemporary,” and “culturally-engaged” stakes in the ground. (After watching this video, our pastor and wife refer to this phenomena as “contemporvent.”)
As women of the Word, this means we must be even more diligent to KNOW the message God has given us, and to do what this passage instructs– “persist in it whether convenient or not.”
WHETHER CONVENIENT OR NOT
Sometimes God’s Word ISN’T “convenient.” We can begin to feel that it would be easier if we could just ignore the things our culture finds distasteful: submission & headship in marriage, God’s hatred for divorce, and His thoughts about “hot topics” like homosexuality, female pastors, sex outside of marriage, and spanking.
But this passage warns us: don’t only embrace the convenient parts of Scripture!
It warns us to watch out for a heart that desires something new and different. It should sound a little alarm if you find yourself wishing for a religion thats’s a little easier, or wanting to ignore certain parts of Scripture in favor of others. That’s exactly what Paul had in mind.
AN ITCH TO HEAR SOMETHING NEW
Verse 3 describes our culture, doesn’t it?
“…they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.”
Sadly, this isn’t just true of a random Christian here or there. It’s true of entire churches across the nation, and many Christian events and conferences. “Sound doctrine” is rarely sought out. In fact, sound doctrine is seen as stodgy and judgmental.
Instead, teachers who are “engaging” and “fresh” are promoted onto local and national stages. Humor and affability trump faithfulness to God’s Word.
And women’s events can be among the worst of the worst in this regard.
As godly women, we should work to persist in the message that has been the same since it was proclaimed over 2,000 years ago. In our homes as we worship and teach our children, we need to purposefully run toward “sound doctrine,” and be on the watch for an “itch” to hear some new idea, doctrine, or presentation.
Am I looking to hear a fresh, more “relevant” message?
Do I judge teachers based on whether or not they say what I want to hear?
Is my heart eager to hear something new, rather than the “same-old, same-old?”
Am I more likely to read, or present something to my children if it’s hip and cool, and less likely if it contains theological language or simply teaches the Bible?
Do I flit from one teacher to another without examining their doctrine before I listen?
If we answer “yes” to questions like these, verse 3 is describing not just the culture around us– it’s describing US.
We have to be sober-minded in our engagement with teaching and not just sit back and accept what we’re told without scrutiny. In Acts 17:11, Paul praised the Bereans for examining the Scriptures “DAILY” to be sure that what they were being taught was right. Like them, we can’t afford to sit back in this culture of lukewarm easy-believism and just assume that what we’re reading or hearing is correct.
Even if it’s being said at a church or “Christian” gathering.
Just a few verses before this, Paul reminds us that all of God’s Word is profitable, and meant to teach, sharpen, and equip us. We must be women, wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, friends who KNOW the Word well, so that we can discern truth and rightly counsel the people around us. We need to KNOW sound doctrine, so that we can recognize UNSOUND doctrine.
This passage tells us to “proclaim” and “persist” in the message we have been given. We should stand as fierce gatekeepers over the messages that enter our own ears, and the ears of our children while they are in our care.
Are you doing that in your home, family, and among the people God has enabled you to influence?
Father, renew our minds so that we will be women who pursue Your Word rather than a new-and-improved message. Give us discerning hearts so that we will hold all teaching up to the light of Scripture for full examination. Don’t let us be women who flit from teacher to teacher with an itch to hear something new.
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