Deflected Towards False Beliefs. Which direction will people of this time turn to? The answer leads us to the seventh characteristic of this season of apostasy. People “will be turned aside to fables” (v. 4, NKJV). The verb, “turned” (Gk. ektrepo), denotes, “to deflect, i.e. avoid, turn (aside, out of the way).”300 It is “a medical term which means to be dislocated.”301 The term “fables” (Gk. muthos), denotes “a tale, i.e. fiction (‘myth’).”302
Five things characterize these fables or myths. First, such tales “threaten the truth of the gospel (2 Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:14).”303 It is a false rendering of the gospel message.
Second, it leads to ungodliness (1 Tim. 1:4-7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16; Tit. 1:1-2).
Third, those who promote it do so out of their evil desires (2 Tim. 4:3). They are defiled in their minds and consciences (Tit. 1:15). They profess to know God, but by their deeds, actually deny and disobey Him (Tit. 1:16).
Fourth, compared to the Gospel fact of Christ’s earthly appearing and resurrection, myths have no basis in historical reality. The New Testament gives a sharp distinction between myth and truth. Truth is “divine fact with the force of historical reality.”304 For example, Christ, the Logos, is not just “God only begotten” (monogenes theos, John 1:18) in His eternal relationship with the Father. He is the Word who “became flesh, and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14). He revealed God (John 1:18). He is Himself the exact representation of God in space and time (Heb. 1:3; 1 John 1:1-3). In this case, divine truth is historical.
Fifth, myths oppose the truth of the logos of the Gospel. G. Stahlin wrote, “The logos is the incarnate word; if it is replaced by myth, all is lost, and even if it is only linked with myth, it is betrayed.”305
The fables mentioned here therefore are more than just harmless fictions. They refer to all false beliefs that threaten the purity of the Gospel. Fables are false doctrines that oppose God’s truths in Scripture (2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16).306 They are false concepts that twist the faith. Examples of fables are the Gnostic gospels. They also include anti-biblical, syncretist beliefs in Filipino folk religion, blending idolatrous beliefs with the biblical Gospel.
Thus, people in these last days shall turn their ears away from the direction of biblical truth. Meanwhile, they are being turned towards the way of fables, fictions, and false faith. Scholars note as a moral law, “that those who will not seek truth will receive untruth.”307
Interestingly, the verb form, “turn away the ear,” is future active indicative.308 The active voice refers to the subject doing the action. This means that apostate people shall turn away their ear from listening to sound biblical truth. On the other hand, the verb form of the phrase, “will turn aside to myths” (NASB), is future middle voice.309 This means that they shall be turned aside themselves towards false doctrines. Thus, the more they shall turn their ears away from the truth, the more they shall be turned aside to believe in untruths. When people reject God’s truth, they do not necessarily believe in nothing. Worse, they will believe in anything!310
301 Isidro, Annotated, 389.
302 Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary in Power Bible CD.
303 TDNT, s. v. “mythos” by G. Stahlin.
305 TDNT, s. v. “mythos” by G. Stahlin.
306 MacArthur, MacArthur, 1880.
307 PNTC in Power Bible CD.
308 Friberg and Friberg, Analytical in Bible Windows CD.
309 Zodhiates, The Complete, 706.
310 Guzik, “2 Timothy 4,” Commentaries. Cited __ Online: http://www.studylight.org/com/guz/view.cgi?book=2ti&chapter=004.