THE NEED FOR GOD’S APPOINTED TEACHERS
“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and TEACHERS; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”! [Ephesians 4:11-13]
A.W. Pink in writing to his friend the young Rev. R. Harbach, writes –
“I was very glad to hear from you again and quite pleased with your letter as far as it went. May I offer a comment – not in the way of criticism, but of instruction – on your statement: “not that I would esteem the writings of men greater than the Scriptures themselves.” You need to be careful at that point lest you draw a wrong antithesis – the writings of some men might profit you more than your personal reading of the Scriptures!
The Holy Scriptures are indeed in a class all to themselves, and claim a reverence, veneration and submission which no other writings do or can. But “the writings of men” needs defining. The expositions of Scripture by God’s own servants also occupy an unique place – in the realm of human literature – and have a special claim upon our attention! It is God’s method to use human instrumentality, and He has called and equipped a few of His servants to be teachers (not merely “preachers”) – specially gifted by Him to “open” His Word, and they are to be highly esteemed for their work’s sake” [1Thes 5:12,13]
You are likely to get more real help and enlightenment from one hour’s careful perusal of say, Goodwin on Ephesians 1or Manton on Psalm 119 than if you spent ten (10) hours in reading and studying either chapter directly for yourself! And that statement is NOT disparaging to the Scriptures, but simply illustrates the method which God is pleased to employ in the instructing of the rank and file of His people.
True you need to read regularly the Scriptures themselves and thoroughly familiarize yourself with their contents – as you also need to test by Scripture (1Thes 5:21) so far as you are able (and at present that is very little) what each expositor says. Yet I feel strongly that it is also true that you need to spend much more time now and in the near future (D.V.) to study the writings of the true servants of God. Only then will 2Timothy 2:15 become yours.”
[Quoted from “Letters to a Young Pastor” – by A.W. Pink]
But “Oh” says someone, “does not the Scripture say, ‘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 . . .” [1Jn 2:27]
Is there a discrepancy here? Between the verses which inform us that God has appointed teachers in His Church [Eph 4;11-13], and admonishes us to teach others [2Tim 2:2], and chides some saying, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat”?! [Heb 5:12]
NOT AT ALL!
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 1Jn 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 portions of Scripture which speak of the necessity of teachers, and would contradict what John himself was doing right then – teaching! 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.
‘Teaching’ then is an integral part of the ministry of the Church! It is GOD who has appointed these teachers. For there is much in Scripture which is ‘hard to be understood’ (2Pet 3:16) and which unless opened to us by an anointed teacher who can give us the ‘sense of it’, we could wrest it to our own destruction!
“ . . . and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law . . . So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and GAVE THE SENSE, AND CAUSED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE READING”. [Nehemiah 8:7,8]
I have been a student of the Word of God and an ardent reader of Theology for a good twenty nine years now, and yet there are times when I run into portions of Scripture which baffle me; and I have to ask myself – “Understandest thou what thou readest”?! [Acts 8:30]
And the only answer is – “How can I, except some man should guide me”? [Acts 8:31]