jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/bibleteacher-248x300.pngA reader writes:
Have you responded to 1 John 2:26-27, and Matthew 23 concerning teachers?
The passages in question read:
I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him [1 John 2:26-27].
But you are not to be called rabbi [Aramaic, “teacher”], for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren [Matt. 23:8].
From these passages, it could look like it isn’t God’s plan to have teachers in his Church. But consider these passages:
And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues [1 Cor. 12:28].
And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers [Eph. 4:11].
To find a proper solution to this question, all of the relevant biblical material needs to be borne in mind.
Since there are unmistakable passages referring to teachers in God’s Church as being part of God’s will (e.g., 1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11), since Christ himself appointed the apostles as teachers, and since the author of 1 John was–even as he was writing–teaching (!), we must recognize passages like 1 John 2 and Matt. 23 as involving an element of hyperbole.
While it is God’s will to have teachers in his Church, their role is relativized. They are not authorities in and of themselves but rather servants of God. This relativization of their role is likely part of what is being expressed by the hyperbole found in the passages you mention.
I hope this helps!