Some say that having the anointing of the Spirit is enough and that Scripture and teachers/pastors are therefore unnecessary. Those who are somewhat Scripturally literate will cite these two verses:
· But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge…But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But 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 2:20, 27; ESV)
According to these verses, through the Holy One, we “have knowledge” and He “teaches you about everything.” From this, it might seem like the Holy Spirit is all that we need. Here are the alternatives:
1. The Spirit by Himself gives knowledge, or
2. The Spirit working through His Scriptures give knowledge
However, the first alternative is clearly untrue. In fact, John writing this letter disproves this alternative. If the Spirit is all that we need to teach us, there would be no purpose for John’s letter. There are also many other indications that Scripture remains necessary. Scripture and the Apostolic teachings were clearly necessary for the early Church:
· And they [the early Church] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. Acts 2:42-43 (ESV)
Evidently, submitting to the Apostles’ teachings and not just the Holy Spirit had been approved by God through “many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles,” (also Hebrews 2:3-4)
The Spirit’s anointing was not enough. Instead, one of the tests of genuine faith was whether or not a disciple submitted to the teachings of the Apostles:
· They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us [Apostles]; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5-6)
Consequently, anyone who’d say, “I don’t need the apostolic teachings. I have the anointing,” would have been deemed an unbeliever.
In Paul’s mind, the Church needed teachers and not just the anointing:
· And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:11-14)
When Jesus sent out His Apostles, He didn’t instruct them to just save and teach about the anointing of the Spirit. Instead, He directed His Apostles to:
· Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The idea that Scripture is unnecessary, now that we have the anointing, is simply unthinkable. Jesus, Himself relied upon Scripture:
· But he answered [Satan], “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
Instead, I wish to propose an understanding that unites the Spirit to the Word He authored. Consequently, Spirit and Scripture should be inseparable in our lives.
Paul had written about this alliance:
· You yourselves are OUR letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter FROM CHRIST delivered BY US, written not with ink but with the SPIRIT of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
We are all walking epistles. Well, who wrote them? According to Paul, these epistles are written by both the teachings of the Apostles (Scripture) and also the Spirit. Through the work of the Spirit, these truths become implanted upon our hearts as we hear and obey the Word. Therefore, we cannot do without the Spirit; nor can we do without the Word.
Israel had the Word, even the Gospel, but it wasn’t doing them any good. Why not? They lacked the indwelling Spirit:
· But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom [to clearly perceive]. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)
Israel had had a veil or wall preventing them from truly hearing Scripture. However, the Spirit is able destroy this wall, removing the veil by giving us new ears so that we can hear and eyes so that we can see.
Now that we can see, we are being transformed by the Spirit. What does it mean to behold “the glory of the Lord?” The very thing that Israel could not do! They could not perceive the light of the Gospel:
· And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
Of what did the light consist? “The light of the GOSPEL of the glory of Christ!” Where do we find this Gospel? In the knowledge revealed by the Spirit: “The light of the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
The Spirit works in conjunction with the Scriptures He had authored, not apart from them. Does He ever work apart from them? He does, but He has ordained for us to seek Him through the Gospel and not through dreams or mystical techniques. Instead, He ordained preaching to save:
· How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14)
Can the Spirit save apart from His Word? Can’t He deliver His Word directly into our heart? I think that He can, but He has ordained to do so through His Word.
But is Scripture truly the Word of the Spirit? Scripture overwhelmingly testifies to this fact:
· For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
If the Spirit is the author of all Scripture, it should be evident that the anointing is not enough. If it is, then why would He have bothered with Scripture?
Instead, we are counseled to meditate on the Word continually (Psalm 1). Paul wrote about the armor of God. One of the provisions was “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
The Word is the provision of the Spirit. To ignore this sword, claiming instead that we have the anointing, is to go into battle naked.