Do We Need Teachers?

Q. I have a friend who I think is getting some bad teaching but when I try to discuss it with her she always quotes “Ye need not that any man teach you…” as if that means we are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit and He is the Teacher and she doesn’t need anyone else (save for the Holy Spirit) to show her anything. The problem is, I believe that is true, sort of.

1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

Yet, the Lord has given us teachers who are specifically gifted by the Holy Spirit (Thank you, Jack.) to teach the body, and, the Lord Himself commands

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

So, I’m hoping you can shed some light on the apparent discrepancy of “ye need not that any man teach you”, and, He has given us teachers and commands us to be teachers?

A. John’s letter is aimed at the false teaching that would come to be known as the gnostic error. The context of the passage containing 2:27 is the false teaching coming from those who were spreading this heresy.

In leading up to his comment about not needing anyone to teach us, John warned us to “see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you.” (1 John 2:24) He was talking about God’s Word. He continued on saying that if we hold true to it then by the anointing we have received we won’t need anyone to teach us whether something we hear is true or false because we’ll be able to compare it with the source of Truth, the Bible.

So John wasn’t saying we didn’t need teachers, because that would conflict with the passages you cited. He was saying that we don’t need teachers to tell us whether something is right or wrong because we can test all teaching against the Word of God. This is exactly what Paul said in Acts 17:11.

In a sense that’s what you’ve done with your friend’s declaration. By testing it against God’s Word you can see that she has taken a verse out of context and applied it in a way that contradicts other passages. Since God’s Word cannot be self-contradictory your friend’s interpretation has to be incorrect.

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