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a Bible passage

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3For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires,

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3. they—professing Christians.

sound doctrineGreek, "the sound (see on 1Ti 1:10) doctrine (didascalias)" or "teaching," namely, of the Gospel. Presently follows the concrete, "teachers."

after their own lusts—Instead of regarding the will of God they dislike being interrupted in their lusts by true teachers.

heap—one on another: an indiscriminate mass of false teachers. Variety delights itching ears. "He who despises sound teaching, leaves sound teachers; they seek instructors like themselves" [Bengel]. It is the corruption of the people in the first instance, that creates priestcraft (Ex 32:1).

to themselves—such as will suit their depraved tastes; populus vult decipi, et decipiatur—"the people wish to be deceived, so let them be deceived." "Like priest, like people" (1Ki 12:31; Ho 4:9).

itching—like to hear teachers who give them mere pleasure (Ac 17:19-21), and do not offend by truths grating to their ears. They, as it were, tickle with pleasure the levity of the multitude [Cicero], who come as to a theater to hear what will delight their ears, not to learn [Seneca, Epistles, 10.8] what will do them good. "Itch in the ear is as bad in any other part of the body, and perhaps worse" [South].