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"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:13-14)
"The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences." -- Matthew Henry (Ref. 1)
This lesson is the fourth in the series, "About the Truth." Today's lesson focuses on the role of the Holy Spirit as the "Spirit of Truth."
Jesus promised his disciples that the Spirit of truth would come. Jesus was speaking to his disciples on the evening before his death. In the beginning of John 16:13, Jesus told them that the Spirit of truth would come. God fulfilled the promise of sending the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus' promise of sending the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, continues for believers to this day (Acts 2:37-39).
The Spirit of truth guides believers into all the truth. The Greek word in John 16:13 for guide is the verb, hodégeó. Strong's Concordance tells us that hodégeó means to show the way -- to teach, guide, lead (Ref. 2).
In Acts 8:25-40, we see an example of what it means to guide. An angel of the Lord sent Philip to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26). There Philip met the chariot of an Ethiopian eunuch who was returning from Jerusalem. At the Spirit's direction, Philip joined the eunuch in the chariot (Acts 8:29). The eunuch was reading Isaiah the prophet. Philip asked him, "Do you understand what you are reading?" (Acts 8:30) The eunuch replied, "Well, how could I unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8:31, italics added) Philip explained the scripture to the eunuch and "preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:35). As the result, the Ethiopian eunuch believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and Philip baptized him (Acts 8:38).
Note what Jesus said in John 16:13. "He (the Spirit of truth) will guide you into all the truth." In his commentary, Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905) says that the words, "all the truth," mean that the Spirit of truth "will be their guide into the fulness [sic] of truth." Ellicott adds, "The promise has special meaning for the disciples to whom it was spoken; but it holds good for every disciple who seeks to know the truth" (Ref. 3, Ref. 4).
The Spirit of truth speaks what he has heard from the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit does not speak from himself. The Holy Spirit fulfills his mission when he speaks truth directly from the Father and Son to the believer. The King James Version translates the verse well. "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak" (John 16:13, italics added).
The Spirit of truth glorifies the Son. Jesus said, "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you" (John 16:14). The Greek word for glorify in John 16:14 is doxazó, which means make glorious, honor, magnify (Ref. 5 below). Doxazó is very similar to the Greek word doxa, which means to honor, praise, worship (Ref. 5). When we sing the Doxology in a worship service we express our praise and worship of God (Ref. 6). When the Holy Spirit guides us into truth, it is an act of worship that glorifies Jesus, the Son of God.
Prayer. Thank you, Lord, for sending the Spirit of truth to be with us and to guide us into all of your truth.
5. James Strong, "The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible," Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995 - note, based on the King James Version of the Bible
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' " (John 8:31-32)
This lesson is the third in the series, "About the Truth." The first lesson was "God's Truth in the Old Testament" where we learned that God's Word in its entirety is truth (Psalm 119:160). The second lesson was "Jesus is the Truth" based on John 14:6. This lesson discusses Jesus' instructions to believers to abide in the Word and to know the truth experientially.
To whom was Jesus speaking? When Jesus spoke the promise, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," Jesus was speaking to people who believed him. That is, Jesus was speaking to people who had faith in him and who trusted him. The beginning of John 8:31 states, "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him ..."
Believe in Jesus. Jesus does not ask us to believe a truth, or any truth (Ref. 1). Jesus asks us to believe that He is the truth (John 14:6). If you have never put your trust in Jesus, or if you have strayed away from Jesus, put your trust in him today. Believing in Jesus who is the Truth will set you free from slavery to sin, and will give you eternal life.
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:1-2).
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Abide in the Word and know the truth experientially. Jesus says to believers in the second portion of John 8:31 and in verse 32, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The Greek word for abide is menó which means remain, abide (Ref. 2). As believers in Christ, we are to abide in the Word, and persevere in studying, learning, and applying God's Word.
Jesus says that if we abide in the Word we will know the truth experientially (John 8:31-32). The Greek word for know is ginóskó which means to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance) (Ref. 3). Knowing the truth experientially requires knowing Jesus who is the truth, as well as knowing and living the Word of God on a daily and life-long basis.
Jesus says that if we abide in the Word we will know the truth and the truth will make us free (John 8:31-32). The Greek verb make free is eleutheroó which means liberate, set free, release from bondage (Ref. 4). When we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, abide in his Word, and grow in knowledge of his truth, we are set free from slavery to sin. Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin" (John 8:34). "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
Billy Graham Quote. I will end this post with a quote from Billy Graham's message, "What is Truth?" (Ref. 1)
"Turn to Christ—to the truth. Jesus said, 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32). He said, 'I am … the truth' (John 14:6). Jesus did not say, 'You shall know a truth' or 'any truth' but 'the truth.' He’s the embodiment of all truth. Jesus said, 'If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins' (John 8:24). If you don’t believe that and don’t accept Christ, you will die in your sins and you’ll be lost. Jesus Christ claimed to be ultimate truth. Are you willing to face the truth?" (Ref. 1)
Apply. Are you willing to face the ultimate truth of Jesus Christ? Will you put your faith and trust in him? What steps will you take to abide in God's Word and to grow in your knowledge of the truth?
1. https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/march-2017/classic-message-billy-graham-truth/ ©1985 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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