The apostle John makes a rather surprising statement in his first letter. 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him”
In summary: because we have the Holy Spirit we do not need anyone to teach us. How then does that fit in with the appointment of pastors / elders whose primary responsibility it is to teach? What about the emphasis placed upon preaching in the New Testament?
Are the apostles at odds with one another? Not at all; two different issues are being addressed. We most certainly need faithful teachers in the church of Jesus Christ – those who open up the scriptures and bring to bear upon a congregation the truth of God and its application for life. John is making the point that Christians are not to become reliant upon individuals as though they are God’s appointed instruments of revelation. He is principally dealing with false teachers who claim to receive special knowledge and insights.
As believers, we are in possession of the two things necessary for spiritual growth and health. We have the Word of God and we have the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who causes the light of truth to illumine our hearts and minds. So while we need teachers, & good teaching is vital, it is actually useless apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Conversely, God by His Spirit can take less than perfect teaching and cause it to be useful. I am not in any sense condoning poor teaching, I am simply saying that God is not limited to the abilities of human beings.
We can add to this further by saying, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to discern truth from error. Some preachers are very persuasive; they have the gift of the gab we might say. Their sermons may be well- constructed and well-argued but they are flavoured with personal biases. Mingled with God’s truth are human ideas. The earthly minded person is easily led along because it sounds convincing; the spiritually minded person is able to distinguish between what is of God and what is of the flesh.
Thank God for faithful teachers. Pray for those who teach that the Spirit would enlighten, equip, and enable them to take up this responsibility. Pray for the ministry of God’s Spirit in our own lives and in the church of Jesus Christ. If the soil isn’t prepared, the seed will come to nothing. It is often said that the modern church needs more “Spurgeons”; the Apostle John might argue that the modern church needs more of the Holy Spirit and less reliance upon gifted individuals.