2 Timothy 4:3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, 4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. (Amplified)
There is a time period known as the Last Days which are described as perilous times in 2 Timothy 3:1. The dangerous and difficult times will surface the worst in people as well as bring an increase in evil men and ungodly life styles (2 Timothy 3:1-6, 12). It is also prophesied in Scripture that there will be a movement of people to those who will tell them what they want to hear instead of to sound doctrine (what they need).
We live in a time period where it seems feelings and personal preferences are emphasized and shallowness has become the norm. Rarely is doctrine even a part of the discussion and depth in study is most often ignored. The Apostle Paul by the Spirit of God warned his son in the faith to give attendance to or pay attention to doctrine, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine 1 Timothy 4:13.” He was to be cautious about it, hold his mind towards it, apply and adhere to it. That is totally different from what some are doing in our day who discount, minimize, and downplay the importance of doctrine.
Jesus compared false doctrine to leaven (Matthew 16:5-16) when He spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Physically speaking, leaven is the substance added to dough and liquids that causes fermentation causing dough to rise and liquids to ferment. It’s used in the Word of God to symbolize evil mixture of anything that corrupts or pollutes. It can be an evil mixture of sin, malice, hypocrisy, self‑righteousness, wickedness, adding human works to God’s Divine work, but also an evil mixture of false doctrine. It’s the product of corruption, and it produces corruption. God always commanded that all leaven must be removed (Exodus 12:19, 20), because it always pollutes the place it abides. In the Old Testament, the Israelite fathers thoroughly searched their homes or went on a leaven hunt and took all the leaven out and burned it (Ex. 12, 13). False teaching can be leaven, and leaven needs to be purged out.
I have found that some teachings in and of themselves are not false but can become error by imbalance. The devil seems to always try to sow leaven in with unleavened truth. Leaven can be in a teaching simply by overemphasis. Truths, yes, but overemphasized to the exclusion of other truths that rightly divide them and balance them out. It doesn’t take a lot of leaven to affect the whole body of truth but only a little (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). We cannot be too careful about doctrine because error enters through false doctrine.
Doctrine, teaching, instruction, and that which is taught is something we must pay careful attention to.
Here is a list of some of the emphasis God’s Word reveals about doctrine:
- Doctrine is the first thing the Word is profitable for 2 Timothy 3:16,17
- Spiritual life began when we were exposed to doctrine Romans 6:17
- Transformation and growth happens through sound doctrine Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Timothy 6:3; 1 Timothy 1:10
- Never too young for doctrine Isaiah 28:9
- Jesus was known for His doctrine not just his miracles Mark 1:22
- Jesus’ warnings were about doctrine Matthew 16:12
- Division enters with wrong doctrine Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:3; Revelation 2:14, 15, and 24
- Predicted rise of false doctrine in the latter times 1Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1; 13; 2 Timothy 4:1-4
- Sound doctrine exposes false doctrine and prevents deception 1 Timothy 4:16
- Those who transgress and do not teach the doctrine of Christ were not to be welcomed into our homes (2 John 1:9-11).
The Apostle Paul’s advice to Titus was, “BUT [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians] Titus 2:1. AMP