A person with “itching ears” is an individual who hears what he/she wants to hear. We saw evidence of this during the Presidential Election as we tuned into different news channels listening to news reported per our individual viewpoint. If we didn’t hear what we wanted to hear, we switched to a station that did. Each of us had “itching ears” to hear news reported according to our political slant. Somewhere hidden in the midst of all this was the truth. Once things have concluded, we will be able to find what stations ended up the most trustworthy and who was “itching the ears” of their listeners to keep them watching their newscast building market share.
The term “itching ears” is found in 2 Timothy 4:2-4. The Apostle Paul tells Timothy, his disciple, to “preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Let me ask you a question. When you listen to someone preach or teach, are you listening for something that will make you feel better about yourself and life in general, or are you listening asking the Holy Spirit to teach and change you to be and do what God wants? If you are doing the former, Paul says you have “itching ears.” Quoting the biblical text above, we “gather around (us) a great number of teachers to say what our itching ears want to hear.”
A Bible resource called “Got Question.org” states this very incisively. “The Greek word translated ‘itching’ literally means ‘to itch, rub, scratch, or tickle.’ To want one’s ears ‘tickled’ is to desire massages rather than messages—sermons that charm rather than challenge, entertain rather than edify, and please rather than preach…‘Itching ears’ impel a person to believe whatever he wants to believe rather than the actual truth itself. When people have ‘itching ears,’ they decide for themselves what is right or wrong, and they seek out others to support their notions. ‘Itching ears’ are concerned with what feels good or comfortable, not with the truth—after all, truth is often uncomfortable. Paul’s warning is that the church would one day open their ears as opposed to those who would scratch their ‘itch.’”
The biblical passage above states that Timothy was to preach in order to “correct, rebuke and encourage.” We are all about encouragement but are we willing to receive correction and rebuke? 2 Timothy 3:16&17 states it this way, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Are you looking for an oral massage tickling your ears or desiring a word from God becoming a “servant of God…thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Don’t turn your ears away from the truth.