2 Timothy 4:1-4; A warning against Evangelicalism?

With no disrespect meant to Protestants or Evangelicals, I am wondering if 2 Timothy 4:1-4 while most likely a Pauline warning about those seeking to over analyze the early Church and its doctrines is not in fact applicable to the later breaks from the Catholic Church, and perhaps most notably, those Evangelicals steeped in sola scriptura.

V. 3-4 in the DRV reads:

For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

I think this is applicable to every heretical movement from the first century Gnostics forward, and sadly, to a great number of those who call themselves Catholic today.


:thumbsup: As you said, this is a general warning against false teachings, especially those that encourage us to yield to our own desires.

Yes, Saint Paul is warning us here of the dissenters who will try to lead people astray with false teachings, including any of the heretics and schismatics who have unfortunately denied the teachings of the Holy Catholic Faith and have separated themselves from God’s Church over the last 2,000 years.

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:

Hi, Valley!
I concur; this is one of those passages that non-Catholic Christians push aside (waaaaaay down and away); passages such as this demonstrate that anti-Church movements have been around almost since the Foundation of the Church.

What is truly sad is that those same Christians base their arguments on “Scriptures,” ignoring the very fact that the father of Protestantism built his theology on defying not only the Church but Christ Himself:

18 For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book. (Apocalypse 22:18-19)

Maran atha!


Thank you all for your answers. In trying to figure how one would get around the idea that Paul is speaking about members of the collective early Church I found an interesting argument.

I found the following on the Atlantic Evangelical Free Church site:

"*Some translations make it sound like Paul switches to a different group. So the people Timothy preaches to in vv. 1-2 are different from the people with itchy ears in vv. 3-4.

But grammatically, there’s no change. Literally it just says “they.” So he takes these people Timothy is preaching to, and he says the time is coming when they will not endure sound doctrine".*

In short, it’s arguing that Paul is not talking about those outside the accepted Church, but to a group within. This sets up the idea that it is not about a threat from outside groups, but rather that the Church itself may deviate from the true Word. Can anyone who is versed in the grammar verify the argument?


Strange because I always though this talks about Protestants and yet a protestant colleague of mine thinks it is more modern protestants to him.

Yes, and notice how prevalent this sort of thing is becoming today…if a catholic does not want to abide by some biblical law, restriction, etc he simply finds an interpretation that justifies his acts, but still allowing him to call himself a good christian! LOL

I believe if someone were good at twisting words and scripture around, someone could find a way to justify just about anything they wanted to do, no matter how immoral it is.

I mean, look at one good example, we are told to have nothing to do with blasphemous acts, even if our Govt is doing it, but when someone asks whether they should abide or compromise on some immoral secular law or regulation, the old verse about ‘giving unto Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is Gods’…and they really think its then suddenly fine for them to keep paying their taxes and enjoying their nice quality of life. lol

But what they are really doing is justifying DOING NOTHING, for the sake of their own well being, if they do whats right, that would mean possible arrest, loss of job, etc.

Jesus never said living in a secular world like ours would be easy or comfortable…he also said they will hate you as they hated me…I tend to think if a ‘good christian’ is finding their secular lives are pretty easy and comfortable, well, probably something wrong, ESPECIALLY in the type of world we live in today…If we were all doing what we are supposed to, I doubt ANY christians would have anything close to easy lives!

Hi, Valley!
I’m not versed but in pedestrian… but what I know is that those who choose to twist and turn (not just the physical game: Twister) would make Scriptures say anything they want… the Jehovah Witnesses are quite adept at this (John 1)… Let’s not forget those who refuse to accept Scriptures when the Word tells them that there is one Church (One Lord, One Spirit, One Baptism: Ephesians 4) as they keep splintering the Body of Christ.

The Warning is to the Believer, Timothy, not to give up when he will face those who will refuse to listen to the Truth as they will be lead astray by those who, even from amongst the Believers, will twist and turn the Teachings and Tradition to mean anything but Obedience to Christ’s Word.

Am I right? Well Jesus tells us that the tree would be know for its fruits… what is known about those who would teach error, do they subscribe Scriptures:

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

When we claim to be in fellowship with the Apostles and the “early Church” are we building the Body into its Unity or are we further splintering Christ’s Body by deconstructing Scriptures and reassembling doctrine according to our own likeness?

St. Paul tells us to search everything (prophecy) but to keep only what is good!:

19 Extinguish not the spirit. 20 Despise not prophecies. 21 But prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

Since the Truth is One Body and only the Church Calls to that, it is quite clear that the fullness of the Faith does not reside outside the Church.

Now, for the Church herself to stray from the Word of God, would that not mean that Jesus Christ failed, and lied, and that the Holy Spirit is was not sent?

Maran atha!


Hi, Mike!
I concur:

4 Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Every time a Believer seeks to appease the world he/she takes a stand against God!

Maran atha!


I am truly amazed at the wisdom of this answer! Wow and thank you!

Thats exactly why I am bothered lately at how ‘buddy buddy’ so many churches are with the secular world, I see this in the city I live in too.

I also saw this when Pope francis visited the US last year, I noticed the mainstream media and pretty much everyone was loving everything he said and did…I could not understand why this wasnt the exact opposite…??

Im sorry but there is something MAJORLY wrong when the vicar of Christ, the leader of the catholic church visits probably the most hedonistic, immoral nation on the planet, and there is virtually no opposition to one thing he said or did…Cmon, I cant be the only one to see the danger here?!

I fear this may be a huge problem that not many people even recognize.

Thank you for your acknowledgment… I keep asking the Holy Spirit to use me for the unification of Christ’s Body… it helps to hear from posters since the goal is that we all get there–and if I’m helping, my efforts are fully rewarded!

Maran atha!


Hi, Mike!
I have seen and lived that fear… I pray that the Pope realizes that “friendly” is never the goal of Christ. Rather, He was very adamant:

15 Whoever has ears, let them hear. (St. Matthew 11:15)

Yes, we cannot judge. We witnessed in Scriptures how the very religious elite refused to enter into the Kingdom of God while the prostitutes, repenting from their sins, turned to God and entered into the Kingdom… so there’s no partiality in God!

But we cannot help the world get closer to God by accepting/blessing cultural values and “lifestyles.”

The Pope still don’t get how powerful his word is. He does not represent himself but Christ and His Church. By overextending the proverbial olive branch he is assisting those whose whole purpose is to dismantle the Body of Christ.

I pray that the Holy Spirit work him over a few rounds so that he may stop being so “free” and “loving” (the expression from the old movies is “bleeding heart”); yes, love humanity; yet, don’t become a mat for them at the expense of the Gospel.

Maran atha!


Yes I agree, but I think there may be more going on here, the bible even warns of a time when the CC and its leaders will be deceived and fall for false doctrines, also hint the antichrist will come from WITHIN the church, so if this is true, the enemy is very very sneaky, and many folks will either not recognize it, or not believe it to be true!

If this time comes fairly soon, even on CAF, this sort of thing is a banned topic, we wont be able to dispute or even discuss it, that is scary in itself imo.


Gosh, it’s too bad you weren’t elected Pope. :rolleyes:

So you want things in the state they are now? A good priest who I knew was pastor of a pretty bad congregation. The priest said, “If everyone likes what I’m saying, I’m doing something wrong.”

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