It never fails and it happened again. Whenever someone quotes a certain part of 1 John 2:27 (always out of context) to me I know they are using it as a license to interpret the Bible any way they like – twisting the Holy Scriptures to support their false claims. Here is the Scripture reference in its entirety, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” Those who refer to part of this Scripture usually just loosely quote something like this, “Scripture says I have no need for anyone to teach me.” That’s religiously misinterpreted and misappropriated talk for, “I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m independent and don’t need a preacher or human teacher, know it all, probably don’t attend or support a Biblical New Testament church, don’t properly exegete and contextualize the Scriptures, and am void of any fruit of the Spirit. I just like to argue and cause dissension in the church. I am most likely a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).”
It doesn’t matter how right you seem to be if you lack spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22). You’re just a painted tomb (Matthew 23:27), appearing outwardly beautiful but full of dead things on the inside. 1 Corinthians 13:2 says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” A loving, joyous, peaceful, patient, kind, gracious, gentle, faithful, self-controlled, Spirit led and filled believer behaves with the character of Christ. Ironically, those who seemingly don’t need a teacher love to attempt to teach you their wacked-out, out-of-context, unbiblical theories or rants and if you won’t listen or try to apply Matthew 18:15-17 or reason together (Isaiah 1:18) they shout even louder. They are teachers who are beyond teaching. Christians are to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) and let iron sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17). We need each other in the body of Christ as the 59 “one another” Scriptures in the New Testament tell us. After all, Paul told Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Here’s the context of 1 John 2:27. John is warning the churches about some of the Gnostic ideas spreading among the Christians. The Gnostics claimed only they knew and understood God and His word correctly and all others should be silenced. They claimed to be Christians and offered to teach Christians often for money. Their sole desire was to come into the church and divide the true believers. John called them antichrists (1 John 2:18-26). The church had many solid teachers and John was simply teaching the church through this letter (ironic and contradicting to the out-of-context statement) to watch out for false teachers who would lead them astray from Christ and His Word. John was saying test the teachings of all men with that of Scripture. He didn’t mean believers were to be separated from teachers nor was he advocating a mystical anti-intellectualism that rejects all human teachers. The Lord has given the church godly pastors, elders, and teachers “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). John’s main point was believers must not rely solely on humans wisdom or man-centered philosophy (1 Corinthians 2:18-2:9; Colossians 2:8) but on the teaching of God’s Word by Spirit-filled and gifted human teachers and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures and the Spirit agree. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.” And His truth shall set us free (John 8:32) as faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).