Do we still need teachers once we enter the New Covenant?

On the French language part of the site, I received the following comment which must be answered:

And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:34). This is an amazing fact because we no longer need to be taught about God. We no longer need religious teachers such as Baptists, Babylonians, Ecclesiastical teachers, and false pastors – Amen.

What did Jeremiah mean?

Actually, the quote used by the person is part of a larger passage written by the Prophet Jeremiah to the children of Israel foretelling the coming of the New Covenant. Here is the entire passage:

Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says the Lord; but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

This is a prophecy written to the children of Israel, called Israel and Judah. When this passage was given and written, both Israel and Judah were deeply entrenched in apostasy. They came to know God yet they chose to turn to the idolatry of the nations around them which caused them to turn away from God, the God who rescued them from Egyptian slavery.  Jeremiah the prophet put forth all of his effort to turn the people back to God yet to no effect because they would not listen to him. In fact, the people began to mock the prophet. Jeremiah says that after Israel and Judah enter into the New Covenant in the future (only by faith in Jesus Christ) then they will have a special relationship with God, each person and the laws of God will be written on each heart. Also, in this New Covenant, their sins will be forgiven. In essence, those who enter the New Covenant will have a special relationship with God. They will know Him personally. These are all realities which I could share with you from personal experience as well as many others who have entered the New Covenant by placing faith in Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit protects Christians from heresy

In Saint John’s first epistle, he writes to Christians who are under attack from the heretical teachings of Gnosticism. The believers in Gnosticism claimed that the Bible was not enough and that they needed a special teaching which they called “gnosis”. They claimed that this was the only way one could really know God, through this special teaching. So, on one hand, they claimed to have a special knowledge of God while on the other hand, they negated (canceled out) the essential truths of the Holy Scriptures. Having this in mind, this is why John wrote what he did to the Christians in his first epistle, to warn and protect them from this heresy. Immediately after writing this, he writes to them and shares that they have the Holy Spirit who will guide them into all Truth.

But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him. (I John 2:27)

The fact that he reminds them of the Holy Spirit (the anointing), that He will teach them, does not mean that John is trying to communicate that there is no longer a need for teachers in the Church. How do we know this? We know this because he, himself, is a teacher in the Church and his epistle is a form of teaching for the Church. John warns and reminds them that there are false teachers and that the Holy Spirit will protect the believers from heresy taught by the false teachers.

The Holy Spirit has placed teachers in the Church

The Apostle Paul went to Ephesus, planted a church there, and spent a few years teaching the believers on a daily basis from the Holy Scriptures. By doing this, he quickly raised up teachers and leaders in the church who were ordained as pastors and elders and given responsibilities in the church. They were to teach the Scriptures in the church. When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, he stopped in Miletus and met with the elders, pastors, and leaders from all of Ephesus. Here is what Paul told them:

For I did not keep back from declaring to you all the counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them. Therefore watch and remember that for the time of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. And now, brothers, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:27-32)

I would like to draw attention to a few important things from this passage.

  • Paul shared God’s entire plan with the leaders and elders (which implies many long hours of teaching and explaining)
  • The Holy Spirit set these people in their position so that they can pastor the church (which involves a lot of teaching)
  • In order to keep the people from falling into heresy, the leaders of the church have to teach the people constantly, giving them sound doctrine as a model
  • Paul reminds them that he stayed with them for 3 years, teaching them night and day, giving them advice with tears, working with them individually
  • Now that Paul is leaving, he entrusts the teaching of the Scriptures and leading the church to these elders and leaders, encouraging them to be faithful to the Word and impart It

Jesus appointed teachers in the Church

In Paul’s epistle to the church in Ephesus, he writes:

And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit. But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Christ;  (Eph 4:11-15)

We see that Jesus Christ appointed teachers in the Church. These teachers were to teach the believers and lead them to maturity. This is how the Holy Spirit teaches the believers in the Church of Jesus Christ. The Holy Scriptures are taught to the people through the teachers in the church, the ones who were placed in the church by the same Holy Spirit.

As far as the comment that was left on the site and its conclusions, neither of them demonstrate a Christ like attitude but instead, one of arrogance, pride, and ignorance. A man who has the Holy Spirit does not see himself as being wise in his own eyes. Yes, it is true that you must protect yourself from false teachers and that is why you need a local church with a pastor who will lead you in spiritual things. May the Lord help you enter the New Covenant as soon as possible, so that you can be forgiven of all of your sins, receiving the Holy Spirit. May you then be a good Christian and live according to the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ as we found it written in the Holy Scriptures.

Translation by: Erik Brewer