John is addressing a group of believers in 85 AD who are likely leaders within the church. These believers have been under fire to accept some new teaching and new revelation that was not part
of Jesus' teaching or the revelation given to his apostles. Peter (died 64 AD) and Paul (died 67 AD) had been dead for twenty years, yet some false teachers were bringing additional teaching into the churches. John assures his readers that the information they have already been given is adequate
and he identifies the motives of these false teachers:
"I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you." - First John 2:26-27
A desire to hear and teach new doctrine is a sign of pagan religion and Greek philosophy that is constantly being altered and adjusted in an unending search for truth. Truth has been
established from eternity past and has been revealed in Scripture through the prophets and apostles:
"Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him,
'May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.'
(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)" - Acts 17:19-21
Paul tells Timothy that in the church age there will be a time when the church will turn from the
truth to hear new teaching, but in this attempt to imitate the world's pursuit of "truth" the church
will be "always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth":
"...loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth...these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected....For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." - 2 Timothy 3:6-8; 4:3-4
John assures his readers that they "do not need anyone to teach you," which means they do not
need anyone to teach them new revelation, new ideas or new doctrine since they have already
been taught the Truth. They have had access to the teachings of Jesus and to the Word of God
given through his apostles for the last 25-55 years. There is no new revelation concerning the
eternal Truth. The problem is people do not know the Truth that has already been given or that
they are looking for another version of the truth.
John urges the believers to "remain in him" and "continue in him" which means stay with the Word revealed in Scripture. John's reason for continuing "in him" is,
"that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming."