Verse of the Day 8.30.17 — John 14:26
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.1
26 ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν.2
The Holy Spirit — The Advocate
The Advocate παράκλητος (paraklētos) refers to one who “helps, advocates, or comforts someone on behalf of another.”3 The term only occurs five times in the New Testament — all of which are in the writings of John (Jn 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7; 1 Jn 2:1).4
Outside of the New Testament, the term is oft used to describe a legal adviser5 or someone called or summoned to aid someone in a court of justice. Furthermore, the term also can describe someone who, on behalf of another party, intercedes.6 The Paraclete is a Helper, Counselor, Encourager, and Mediator.7
See how full of meaning — meaningful — one word can be? We often, erroneously, believe that there is a single word in each language that is equivalent to another single word in another. This is often not the case.
In this case, situated in Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, the emphasis appears to be on the Holy Spirit’s role of teaching and reminding. Jesus’ promise to His disciples can give us confidence that the words and teachings of Christ’s apostles were inspired by the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:16-17). The Advocate illuminated and reminded them of all things they themselves were taught by Christ.8
Does the Holy Spirit also teach and remind Christians today of all the things taught by Christ? It may be appropriate to remind ourselves of a couple of things:
- The Holy Spirit came in Jesus’ name (Jn 14:26). In someone’s name means “representing that person.”9 Therefore, “the Paraclete … simply continues Jesus’ revelation, not by providing new teachings, but only by taking what Jesus himself ‘taught’ to a deeper level.”10 The Spirit was not giving new revelations, only fleshing out and bringing to remembrance ones previously given by the Word who became flesh (Jn 1:14). Not to mention, these revelations came from God the Father Himself (Jn 7:16; 12:49; 14:24).
- On a related note, it seems more plausible than not that, though followers of Christ receive the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 5:5, etc.), the Spirit does not function within us today in exactly the same way He did for the first generation of apostles. John is elucidating the “Spirit’s role to the first generation of disciples, not to all subsequent Christians. John’s purpose in including this theme and this verse is not to explain how readers at the end of the first century may be taught by the Spirit, but to explain to readers at the end of the first century how the first witnesses, the first disciples, came to an accurate and full understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ.”11
Thus, I am highly skeptical of anyone who claims to have received a new revelation from the LORD or the Spirit — especially ones that are contrary to what the Spirit of the LORD has previously revealed (cf. 1 Thess 5:19-22, however). Nonetheless, We can have faith that the Spirit of Truth guided the apostles in all truth and, though to a somewhat lesser degree, still guides us in truth today.
Memorize John 14:26 after watching a brief video tutorial demonstrating the How To Memorize Any Bible Verse in Less Than Five Minutes method below:
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 14:26.
- Michael W. Holmes, The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature, 2011–2013), Jn 14:26.
- G. D. Taylor, “Testimony,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).
- Logos Bible Software Word Study Tool
- Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 28.
- Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 1313.
- James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
- Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 4, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 307.
- Rudolf Schnackenburg quoted in Gerald L. Borchert, John 12–21, vol. 25B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 132.
- D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 505.