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The Historical Context

John, in 1 John 2:27 tells us that we "do not need anyone to teach us", because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Some have taken this verse to mean that they donít need any human teacher to teach them the things of God. .

Is John really saying this? According to the rule of Biblical context described above, we know that we need teachers. There are other Biblical passages that tell us this. In Eph. 4:11 we see that teachers are a gift of Christ to the church. So in the context of the Bible as a whole we see that it speaks to the need for teachers. So is John out of wack with the rest of the Bible ? No.

Logic tells us that a teacherless church isnít Biblical. If John believed that we didnít need human teachers, then why was he teaching in this letter? Why would he teach others if others didnít need to be taught?

The context of history says something important here that John only eludes to. John does mention the fact of false teachers trying to sway his readers from the truth. Yet history fills in some gaps. History tells us that there was a man named Cerinthus, who among other things did not believe in the Deity of Christ. Cerinthus and others were promoting this teaching. Thus John wrote this letter to warn of these false teachers and to teach his readers about the truth.

When John tells his readers that they donít need man to teach them, history helps by telling us that the readers didnít need men like Cerinthus to teach them. Itís not that Johnís readers didnít need teachers. They didnít need false teachers. The anointing of the Spirit should tell them this. This is Johnís point.

The teaching of Cerinthus was the reason why John wrote this letter in the first place. History tells us about Cerinthus. John doesnít tell us this detail. This bit of historical information helps us have a better understanding of what John is saying here. Understanding history is a real aid in understanding the Bible. It is very important, but is often neglected by Christian.

The importance of history cuts to the core of Christianity in the sense that there is no one person in human history that has been more influential than Jesus With this in mind, it is imperative that we look at Jesus and His claims with utmost seriousness. We cannot, nor should we separate history from Christian truth. At the same time we should understand that truth is found in the Bible and not necessarily in history. Too often we interpret the Bible in light of what men of history thought about certain passages. Men of history, no matter how important they are and were to the church, arenít on the same level as the Bible concerning inspiration.

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