John 16:13 Meaning of Spirit of Truth

John 16:13
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Explanation and Commentary of John 16:13

Christ has just said something astonishing to his disciples. He has revealed that he has much more to say to them, but that they would not be able to bear it at this time. His plan is to send the Holy Spirit, who is also known as the Spirit of truth because he is the revealer of truth. Later, after the disciples have seen Jesus brutally murdered on the cross for the sins of the world; after they have grieved because they have lost their greatest treasure; and after their mourning is turned to rejoicing at the news of the resurrection, then they will be able to bear what the Holy Spirit of truth reveals to their regenerated hearts, their open ears, and their unblinded eyes.

Jesus promised that he would send the Spirit, who is the Helper, Counselor, and Comforter as his way of being “with them to the very end of the age” (Mt 28:20) as they continued his ministry to the fallen and broken world who he came to seek and save. Immediately, it was the Holy Spirit who revealed spiritual truth to the apostles who would pen New Testament Scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and others. He revealed everything we need to live godly lives in the presence of God, abiding in Christ and his Word.

The Holy Spirit is a power, but he is also a person. Being filled with the Spirit of God, we are filled with God himself. The Holy Spirit has the mind of God and he influences our own minds when we choose to yield to him. He is the giver of spiritual gifts and the empowerment of our prayers, as he was the empowerment of the prayers of Christ, who was filled with the Holy Spirit at his own baptism (Jn 1:32).

Breaking Down the Key Parts of John 16:13

#1 “But…”
Christ has expressed the impossibility of the disciples to understand or bear the rest of what he could tell them at that moment leading up to his arrest and final days.

#2 “…when he,”
The Holy Spirit is a person: God the Spirit.

#3 “the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
God is a God of truth, and he has made a way for Christians to be attracted to what is true and righteous and repulsed by what is untrue and unrighteous. The Holy Spirit, if we are at all in tune with him, will not leave us unharassed when we evade reality or deny the Word of God.

#4 “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,”
God is three persons, but he is one God. No one knows the mind of a man except for God and the spirit of that man. In the same way, we are taught that the Spirit has the mind of God and uniquely knows the mind of God and Christ (1 Cor 2:11).

#5 “and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of all prophecy. Those of the disciples who were given prophetic revelation would indeed reveal what was to come, particularly John. Today, there is still a Spirit of prophecy in the Church although it is not meant to be considered authoritative prophecy on the same level as the witnesses to the resurrection, or the Apostle Paul. Now, we prophesy in part (1 Cor 13:9). All prophetic words today in the Church must be carefully considered as fallible and weighed by discerning leadership against the authoritative word of Scripture (1 Thes 5:21).

Bible Study on John 16:13

Expert Overview of John Ch. 13-21

Biblical Translations of John 16:13

NIV
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

NLT
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”

ESV
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

KJV
“Howbeit 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: and he will shew you things to come.”

NKJV
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

John 16:13 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.