In Acts 8:26-40 we read of an Ethiopian eunuch, who on his way back to Ethiopia was found reading
from the scriptures, the prophet Isaiah, but who apparently did not understand what he was reading,
so the Lord sent Philip to him saying, “Do you understand what you are reading?” the eunuchs
“How can I, except some man should guide me (teach me to understand)?” Acts 8:31
The prophet Isaiah states clearly “all thy children shall be taught of the LORD.” The Apostle John
elaborates on this concept of Jehovah as teacher in 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have
received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: But as the same
anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you,
ye should abide in him.”
The method of God’s teaching is further brought out by the same Apostle John in his Gospel,
Chapter 16, Verse 13: “Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all
If God is to be the Christian’s teacher, and the Holy Spirit the medium by which he teaches,
what need is there of man in the teaching process? Does God directly teach the Christian, but
not the Ethiopian? Why does the Ethiopian eunuch in our text claim that he cannot
understand the Scriptures, “except some man shall guide me?”
The Apostle Paul complicates the matter further in the Tenth Chapter of Romans: “For whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon him on
whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not
heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they
be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace
and bring glad tidings of good things!”
The seeming conflict between these two sets of Scriptures is simple. Either God teaches directly or he
teaches through men. Both views can seemingly be supported by Scripture. One solution, which
presents itself, is that God taught Israel through the medium of chosen men but teaches the Church
directly through the Holy Spirit. However, the Apostle Paul does not permit this easy explanation.
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore, he
saith When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men… and he gave
some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto
the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to
and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,
whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that
which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making
increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Eph. 4:8, 11-16
If God taught the Christian directly why did he give us Apostles? Why prophets? Why
evangelists? Why pastors and teachers?
The answer is easy, because we needed them. Why? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”
Now the question is asked if as the scriptures state God has provided these various agencies for the
edifying of the Church, “Is it right to follow the teachings of any ONE MAN?
“The Scriptures answer, “One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” (Matt. 23:8).
We should not follow man, nor man-made creeds or systems. God exercised the supervising care over
His consecrated people; as we read, “Now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the
Body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Cor 12:18); therefore He advises Christians to come together to
assist in building each other up in the most holy faith (Heb. 10:24, 25). He directs the church to
select elders–not Lords, nor Masters, nor Reverends (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:5-9). These are
“overseers” to feed the flock of God (Acts 21:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). St. Paul says, “Be ye followers of
me, even as I am of Christ.”
The most faithful have been followers of the Apostle, who followed in the footsteps of Jesus. This is
not following man, but following the Divine leading’s through the Lord and the Apostles.
Similarly today we note God’s leading’s through His servants. In this we are following Jesus
Christ, not man. Individual study of the Bible seems indispensable to proper Christian development,
and is commendable, just as individual study of Geology would be commendable; but one must not
ignore the aids to Bible study which God has providentially furnished; to do so would be as
unwise as for a pupil in astronomy to ignore the astronomical instruments and findings of
others who have preceded him in the study of the same science “Study to show thyself
approved unto God (not unto men); rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) W.P.R.S.
The implication seems to be that the Holy Spirit is the medium through which the Lord guides
his children to the various channels or agencies, which he has provided to assist them in their
instruction of the Word.
Likewise (AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND) it is apparent that he expects his
children each to contribute their part in the edifying of the body, building one another up in
the most holy faith. This does not imply that each member is to contribute some vain feeling
or imagining they may have had, but rather that through their individual studies of the
various helps and agencies provided by the Lord they should contribute what they have
personally been given to understand in regards to the truth.
There seems to be no question then that while God does take on the role of being our teacher and the
Holy Spirit his channel, he also uses many human agencies in our instruction. We do not learn the
truth by some miraculous enlightenment of the mind or mysterious voice whispering in our
ear or by a vision in the night. Instead, as Paul says, we grow “by that which every joint
supplies.” The method God chose “compacts” the body together and makes every member
dependent upon every other member.
Of course, there are limitations to human teachers. Only the Twelve Apostles were inspired, and even
they did not always speak by inspiration. (1 Cor 7:6, 12)
Human fallibility is often demonstrated by human changeability. Truth is unchangeable men are not.
Once a truth has been thoroughly proven and accepted it becomes a touchstone to gauge the
accuracy of other teachings. In this connection note the Apostle Paul’s words in Gal 1:8: “But
though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we
have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And again, the Apostle John’s words in 1 John 4:
1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.”
Teachers are sent of God; but God does not send all who claim to be teachers as his true teachers.
God’s own Word, the Bible, must verify the authenticity of their teachings. Not all teachers are gifts
from God, though we thank God for those who are.
Now someone may ask, where shall we find these true sources of understanding? You have
already come to the right place!
“For wheresoever the carcass (the truth, the food) is found, there the eagles (those keen of
vision and appetite) will be gathered together (brought together by the mutual apprehension of the
truth, as eagles are drawn to their food)” Matt 24:28
As for those who believe that the Lord is some how going to change his method of teaching in their
case, well that is their loss, for he who separates himself from the body, from “that which every joint
supplies” likewise separates themselves from the head of that body, thus losing any spiritual guidance
which they may have once had.
Excerpts taken from the article entitled “Except Some Man Guide Me”