The Berean Expositor
Volume 36 - Page 182 of 243
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"If I tarry long" . . . . . Behave thyself in the house of God (I Tim. 3: 15).
The mystery of godliness (I Tim. 3: 16).
The apostasy (I Tim. 4: 1).
"Till I come" . . . . . Give attendance to reading (I Tim. 4: 13).
In II Timothy the corrective is the Inspired Word and its preaching. While Timothy
is warned that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being
deceived", his own safeguard was to "continue" in the things he had learned and had been
assured of, knowing of whom he had learned them remembering that all scripture was
given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and
instruction, and that he could only hope to stand against the swelling tide of apostasy by
preaching "The Word".
"The time will come" (II Tim. 4: 3). Here is a resumption of the apostle's revelation
concerning the last days. Men will not endure sound doctrine. The word translated
"endure" anechomai, is a compound of the verb echo "to have", and the meaning of the
apostle is well expressed in the colloquial expression in use to-day: they will have
"have" it. The word means "to suffer" anything, or "to bear with" anything, and so
indicates an intolerance of the truth. There are several compounds of echo "to have" in
these three Pastoral epistles which should be considered together as they all have a
bearing upon the attitude which different men will adopt at the time of the end. We have
already learned that the initial departure from the truth started with "giving heed"
(I Tim. 4: 1) and this word is prosecho. Over against this the apostle says "give
attendance" to the reading of the Word, and uses prosecho again.
The Apostle had already warned Timothy against "giving heed" to fables, which were
antagonistic to the dispensation which he had received from God (I Tim. 1: 4) where once
again prosecho is employed. A similar passage is that of Titus 1: 14.  These fables,
added the Apostle, but "minister" or "occasion" questionings, and here the word used is
parecho. The word "to abstain" in I Tim. 4: 3 is apecho. Over against this we have the
"holding fast" the faithful Word (Titus 1: 9) antechomai; and the advice to Timothy "take
heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine" (I Tim. 4: 16) where epecho is found. The
complete safeguarding of the truth and the only true means of stemming the apostasy and
preserving the trust and truth of the mystery, is summed up in a passage where the apostle
uses the simplest form of the word echo, "hold fast the form of sound words, which thou
hast heard of me" (II Tim. 1: 13). Here we have seven words, echo "to have or to hold"
and six combinations of that word with prepositional affixes. The collection of this series
must not be considered as an interesting trifle, it is supplying the English reader with
something of the emphasis that the reader of the original gathered as he pondered the
warning concerning "giving heed" with which the apostasy starts, and the "intolerance"
with which it ends.
The passage "They heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears", could mean, to
the English reader, that the teachers were the ones that had the itching ear, and this
ambiguity is rectified in the R.V. Moffatt gives a vigorous and suggestive rendering of
the passage: