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1 John 2:26-27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
26 These things I have written to you concerning the ones who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you remain in him.
These things I have written to you concerning the ones who are trying to deceive you. Respecting their character, and in order to guard you against their arts. The word seduce means to lead astray; and it here refers to those who would seduce them from the truth or lead them into dangerous error. The apostle does not mean that they had actually seduced them, for he states in the following verse that they were yet safe; but he refers to the fact that there was danger that they might be led into error.
As for you, the anointing which you received from him. They had been so anointed by the Holy Spirit that they understood the true nature of religion, and it might be confidently expected that they would persevere. The word unction or anointing (χρῖσμα chrisma) refers to the act of applying oil to the head of someone to dedicate them to a particular service or function. The allusion is to the anointing of kings and priests or their inauguration or coronation (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; Exod. 28:41; 40:15; comp. Notes on Matt. 1:1;) and the idea seems to have been that the oil thus used was emblematic of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit as qualifying them for the discharge of the duties of their office. Christians, in the New Testament, are described as ‘kings and priests’ (Rev. 1:6; 5:10) and as a ‘royal priesthood,’ (See 1 Pet. 2:5, 9) and hence they are represented as anointed or as endowed with those graces of the Spirit, of which anointing was the emblem. The phrase ‘the Holy One’ refers here, doubtless, to the Holy Spirit, that Spirit whose influences are imparted to the people of God to enlighten, to sanctify, and to comfort them in their trials. The particular reference here is to the influences of that Spirit as giving them clear and just views of the nature of the Christian religion, and thus securing them from error and apostasy as long as they are obedient to the Word of God. Of course, anointed Christians must be taught through God’s Word. However, they do not need the church or anyone else to confirm (validate) that they are anointed. God has used the Holy Spirit to make it absolutely clear to people that they are anointed! A person can be influenced by charismatic forces (church or religious leaders) into a false conformation that they are anointed.
Remains in you. The meaning is that the influence on your heart and life, which results from the fact that you are anointed of God, permanently abides with you and will keep you from dangerous error. The apostle evidently meant to say that he felt assured that they would not be seduced from the truth, and that his confidence in regard to this was placed in the fact that they had been truly anointed unto God as kings and priests. Thus understood, what he here says is equivalent to the expression of a firm conviction that those who are true Christians will not fall away.
And ye need not that any man teach you. The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand* them, because they are examined spiritually.”
“The Greek word ginosko (“to understand”) does not mean comprehend intellectually; it means know by experience. The unsaved obviously do not experience God’s Word because they do not welcome it. Only the regenerate has the capacity to welcome and experience the Scriptures, by means of the Holy Spirit.”― (Zuck 1991, 23)
Hundreds of millions of Christians use this verse as support that without the “Holy Spirit,” we can fully understand God’s Word. They would argue that without the “Spirit” the Bible is nothing more than foolish nonsense to the reader. What we need to do before arriving at the correct meaning of what Paul meant is grasp what he meant by his use of the word “understand” as to what is ‘foolish.’ In short, “the things of the Spirit of God” are the “Spirit” inspired Word of God. The natural man sees the inspired Word of God as foolish, and “he is not able to understand them.”
Paul wrote, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” What did Paul mean by this statement? Did he mean that if the Bible reader did not have the “Spirit” helping him, he would not be able to grasp the correct meaning of the text? Are we to understand Paul as saying that without the “Spirit,” the Bible and its teachings are beyond our understanding?
We can gain a measure of understanding as to what Paul meant by observing how he uses the term “foolishness” elsewhere in the very same letter. At 1 Corinthians 3:19, it is used in the following way, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” This verse helps us to arrive at the use in two stages: (1) the verse states that human wisdom is foolishness with God, (2) and we know that the use of foolishness here does not mean that God cannot understand (or grasp) human wisdom. The use is that He sees human wisdom as ‘foolish’ and rejects it as such.
Therefore, the term “foolishness” of 1 Corinthians 3:19 is not in reference to not “understanding,” but as to one’s view of the text, its significance, or better yet, lack of significance, or lack of value. We certainly know that God can understand the wisdom of the world but condemns it as being ‘foolish.’ The same holds true of 1 Corinthians 1:20, where the verbal form of foolishness is used, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Thus, the term “foolishness” is used before and after 1 Corinthians 2:14 ( 1 Cor. 1:20; 3:19). In all three cases, we are dealing with the significance, the value being attributed to something.
Thus, it seems obvious that we should attribute the same meaning to our text in question, 1 Corinthians 2:14. In other words, the Apostle Paul, by his use of the term “foolishness,” is not saying that the unbeliever is unable to understand, to grasp the Word of God. If this were the case, why would we ever share the Word of God, the gospel message with an unbeliever? Unbelievers can understand the Word of God; however, unbelievers see it as foolish, having no value or significance. The resultant meaning of chapters 1-3 of 1 Corinthians is that the unbelieving world of mankind can understand the Word of God. However, they view it as foolish (missing value or significance). God, on the other hand, understands the wisdom of the world of mankind but views it foolish (missing value or significance). Therefore, in both cases, the information is understood or grasped; however, it is rejected because of the party considering it, believes it lacks value or significance.
We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and our spirit, or mental disposition, needs to be attuned to God and His Spirit through study and application. Now, if our mental disposition is not in tune with the Spirit, we will not come away with the right answer.
But as his anointing teaches you about all things. This cannot mean that the mere act of anointing if that had been performed in their case, would teach them. It refers to what John includes in what he calls the anointing—that is, in the solemn consecrating to the duties of religion under the influences of the Holy Spirit.
And is true and is not a lie. Leads to truth and not to error. No man was ever led into error by those influences which result from the fact that he has been consecrated to the service of God.
And just as it has taught you, you remain in him. The connection, however, seems to demand that it should be understood as referring to him—that is, to the Savior.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
David Walls and Max Anders write,
1 John 2:26–27. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray: Apparently, the false teachers denied that the readers of John’s letter were actually saved. Such false teachers can be disregarded. Believers gain reassurance and confidence of salvation through the anointing received from God. It remains in us and is sufficient to confirm us in the truth.
They do not need anyone to teach is not suggesting that they had no teachers, or that they knew everything and didn’t need to be taught. Rather, it means that, as a congregation, they did not need anyone to teach them again the essentials of the faith that the false teachers were denying. They already had the truth (the anointing) and did not need anyone else (Gnostics, who claimed special inner knowledge) to tell them what was true.
Digging Deeper with Daniel L. Akin,
1 John 2:26 M. Luther said, “Those who teach new doctrine rarely return.” John explains that the preceding exhortation to hold fast to their initial reception and understanding of Christ was meant to strengthen them in their quest to withstand the pressure to follow the secessionists away from the truth and down their pathway to destruction. The deceptive characteristics of the ones that John has previously called antichrists and liars again come clearly into view in this verse. They are not content to rush into error by themselves. Their goal is to bring as many as they can along with them. The use of the present tense participle alerts the readers to the reality that the secessionists are still a threat to the koinonia of the community and that they must be taken seriously. Brown explains, “The secessionists are Antichrists embodying the apocalyptic expectation of the Antichrist; they are liars embodying the apocalyptic expectation of the Liar; even so they embody the great deception of the last times.”
1 John 2:27 Again John uses his familiar forward positioning of hymeis to emphasize the fact that the members of the Johannine community are to be distinct from those who have left the community. He exhorts them to continue to stand strong in the faith by drawing upon the strength that is theirs through reception of the Spirit of God (the anointing), first mentioned in v. 20. The connection between the anointing the believers have received and the abiding nature of the message (v. 24) they have heard is brought to the forefront of this discussion so that they will understand that both of these abide in them and both of these will fortify them in their battle against the heretics. This connection would lend support to the idea that the abiding chrisma encompasses both the Spirit of God and the word of God.
This linkage of the Spirit and the word helps one to make sense of the difficult phrase that follows. It seems odd that John, given the didactic nature of this epistle, would say to the community that “you do not need anyone to teach you.” John is not denying the importance and place of human teachers. The mere fact that he wrote this letter is sufficient proof. This claim that they have no need of someone to teach them echoes the promises that Jesus made in the Gospel that the Paraclete would lead them into all truth (John 14:16–17, 26; 16:13). The ministry of the Spirit worked through the apostles (not the heretics) to bring the message of salvation that is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here was the reliable truth they were taught. Additional revelation was not needed; indeed it could be deadly. Spiritual illumination of the received traditions was the pattern they should follow. In addition, it is the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant in which all the members of the community are taught by God (John 6:45) and no one needs to be taught by his neighbor, for the law of God will be written on their hearts, and they will know God.
One other comment about this part of the verse should also be noted. It is also possible that John is making this declaration in an extreme form to give intensity to his statements about the power that is available to the believer through the anointing. This statement also serves the purpose of keeping the members of the community away from the deceivers who claimed to be teaching new truths about God.
John affirms that the anointing (Spirit), received by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, teaches them the truth of the gospel. Using a typical Johannine motif of the positive-negative assertion, he explains that what the Spirit (John 14:17, “the Spirit of truth”) teaches, in direct contrast to the teachings of the secessionists (liars, v. 22), is true and can be trusted without reservation.
The final two clauses—“just as it [or he] has taught you, remain in him”—refer to the teaching that they had received in the past. It is possibly even a reference to the teaching of Jesus himself delineated in the Farewell Discourse (John 13–17), something that seems to be woven throughout John’s argument in this chapter. This teaching encompasses the proper understanding of the reciprocal relationship that exists between the Father and the Son, the love command, the promise of the Paraclete (Spirit), and the promise that they would face hostility from the world that wars against God. The final command to remain in him also echoes the farewell discourse in which Jesus tells his disciples “remain in me” (15:4–7). To abide or dwell in Jesus is only possible when there is an intimate relationship with the Father through the Son (vv. 22–24), a reality possible only for those who have a proper understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, whose ethics are shaped by that understanding (cf. John 8:31), and who have received the anointing that is an assurance of their remaining in the truth
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 Luther, LW, 30:260.
 Robertson, WP 6:216. Schnackenburg, The Johannine Epistles, 149. Robertson notes that this is a connative use of the participle (NIV, “trying to lead astray”) that is indicative of their intent to lead others in the community astray. John also uses the verb in 1 John 1:8; 3:7 and the cognate noun in 1 John 4:6; 2 John 7.
 Brown, Epistles of John, 358. This is the third of the four occasions on which John uses a form of the formula, “These things I write” (cf. 1:4; 2:1; 5:13).
 Cf. Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 125–26; Brown, Epistles of John, 360–61; Thomas, “Exegetical Digest of 1 John,” 21–218. It is possible to translate the last half of v. 27 as either one or two sentences. It seems that the NIV has adopted the most likely translation of the text, that it is one sentence. Smalley, Brown, and Thomas provide thorough discussions of this issue.
 Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John, 125.
 Brown, Epistles of John, 374.
 Hiebert, “Exposition of 1 John 2:18–28,” 89.