"Come and See": A Web Commentary on the Gospel of John: Section 12 The Last Supper and Farewell Discourses

12.2 Table Talk: 12.2.9 Spirit and Truth (Jn 16.12-15)

12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear it at this time. 13But when that one comes, the Spirit of Truth, they1 will show you the way into all truth. For they will not speak from themself but whatever they hear, they will speak, and they will announce to you what is to come. 14That one will glorify me, because they will take from what is mine and will announce it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine; for this reason I said that they take from what is mine and will announce it to you.


This is the third time during this discourse that Jesus has referred to the 'Spirit of truth'. The earlier two were in Jn 14.16-17 and 15.26-7. In all cases, this Spirit is another name for the Advocate (or Intercessor - the connotations of the word is not exclusively legal). In classic Trinitarian language, this Spirit is the Holy Spirit, who is defined by many theologians as having proceeded from the Father through the Son, in language which echoes that of this discourse.

This passage again emphasises the Spirit's role in the common life of the disciples after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The Spirit will guide the disciples into all truth, announce what is to come, and glorify Jesus, pointing to their role, along with that of the disciples, in testifying to the teachings and signs of Jesus.

As with the rest of this discourse, the object of this passage is to encourage and strengthen the disciples in the face of their coming separation from Jesus. It is more straighforward in this than the complex teaching of the previous section, Jn 16.1-11.

1 They, themself, they: see the comment on Jn 14.17 for a discussion of gender-neutral language referring to the Spirit

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