Some Christians feel they can understand the Bible just fine without assistance from a trained teacher. Honestly we believe that is a mistake. We highly recommend skilled teachers. Even if the Bible wasn't saying it, we would still recommend them from our own experience. There's a lot that believers can figure out for themselves of course, but there is much invisible to the untrained mind.
Let me ask those kinds of independent Christians something: Do you love Jesus? Do you really and truly love him? Well… if The Lord were to come over to your home; knock on the door, and hand you a gift— a gift from his heart —would you refuse it? I should hope you wouldn't refuse it; but when Christians refuse to sit under a teacher, they are casting a gift from Jesus' heart right back into his teeth, and snubbing his gracious providence intended for their benefit.
●Eph 4:11 …He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Church leadership is a gift from Jesus' heart; purchased by his own life's blood. By refusing to submit to teachers and pastors, by refusing to listen to them, to let them take the lead, you are nothing in the world but an ingrate; and leaving yourself wide open to error and stunted growth.
●Eph 4:12-14 …Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.
AND; you will become an unloving Christian.
●Eph 4:15-16 …Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Christians who prefer to be self-taught, who refuse to take advantage of gifted teachers, have chosen their own place in the family of God instead of letting God chose their place.
●1Cor 12:14-21 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
You see; when Christians say they can get by okay with being self-taught. they are saying to Jesus: "I don't need you, and I don't need anybody else." That's an insolent attitude.
Selected members of the family of God have particular endowments that are supposed to be used for the good of the others who don't have that one particular skill. Not everyone can teach spiritual truth; nor can everyone understand the Bible by themselves without instruction. It's supposed to be that way, and it's perfectly normal.
●1Cor 12:27-30 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Some have tried to use 1John to justify going it alone.
●1John 2:26-27 . .I have written these things to you because you need to be aware of those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you all things, and what He teaches is true— it is not a lie. So continue in what He has taught you, and continue to live in Christ.
John is saying that only God's spirit can make spiritual truth real and sensible to the human mind. That is something no teacher can do for you no matter how skilled they are. God's spirit enables His own to recognize the truth, and to accept it (John 10:27). There are many interpretations of the Bible floating around, and without assistance from God's spirit, it would be impossible to know which interpretation is right. But via the influence of God's spirit, born again Christians will just naturally gravitate to the truth.
It's true that Bible teachers have their limitations in the sphere of spiritualities. All they can really do is dispense information and clarify misunderstandings and false impressions. Intuitive absorption of that information is exclusively the domain of God's spirit; but still, without a teacher, there will be no information to absorb.
●1Cor 2:11-16 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
. .The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Now, perhaps you're a Christian who's a loner, uncomfortable in groups, and don't feel welcome. Then for those kinds of Christians we highly recommend study Bibles and Christian radio.
To my good fortune the Baptist man who introduced me to the The Lord back in 1968, also introduced me to the New Scofield Reference Bible. The clothbound was only eight dollars in 1968, and since I wasn't comfortable in groups, and couldn't force myself to attend Sunday school, the Scofield was a great blessing because its notes were very enlightening. No, its notes aren't inspired, that's true; but nevertheless, very explanatory. I came from nearly 25 years of Catholicism. Baptist theology was a whole new world, and the Scofield really helped me along the way to understanding some strange new concepts.
The same man also introduced me to the world of Christian radio. There are lots of very instructive programs on radio like; Haven, In Touch, Back To The Bible, Focus On The Family, Thru The Bible, Insight For Living, Truth For Life, Grace To You, and Truths That Transform. Like the old saying goes: something is better than nothing. Although study Bibles and Christian radio shouldn't be thought of as substitutes for church life; they're far better than going it completely on your own.
Because He Lives