Ground for the preceding exhortations in the future opposition to sound teaching.
Only here in Pastorals. Mostly in Paul. Comp. Act 18:14; 2Co 11:4; Heb 13:22.
Sound doctrine (τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας)
Or healthful teaching. The A.V. overlooks the article which is important. The teaching plays a prominent part in these Epistles, and signifies more than teaching in general. See on 1Ti 1:10.
Shall they heap to themselves teachers (ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύ σουσιν διδασκάλους)
A vigorous and graphic statement. Ἑπισωρεύειν to heap up, N.T.o. Comp. σεσωρευμένα laden, 2Ti 3:6. The word is ironical; shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found. “The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. 17).
Having itching ears (κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν)
Or, being tickled in their hearing. Κνήθειν to tickle, N.T.o. olxx. Κνηθόμενοι itching. Hesychius explains, “hearing for mere gratification.” Clement of Alexandria describes certain teachers as “scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly desire to be scratched” (Strom. v.). Seneca says: “Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theater, for pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the plays” (Ep. 108). Ἁκοή, A.V. ears, in N.T. a report, as Mat 4:24; Mat 14:1; Mat 24:6 : in the plural, ears (never ear in singular), as Mar 7:35; Luk 7:1 : hearing, either the act, as Act 28:26; Rom 10:17, or the sense, 1Co 12:17, here, and 2Ti 4:4.