12 June 2020

John 16:12-15

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (v. 13)

Psalm: Psalm 93


We are still in the week following Trinity Sunday and in this short passage from John’s Gospel we pick up our understanding of that doctrine again. John presents these verses as part of a very long discourse given by Jesus during supper on the night in which he was betrayed (see John 13:1-18:1). By the time Jesus reaches these words, Judas has already gone out into the night (13:30).  

Although Jesus never speaks explicitly of God as ‘Trinity’, verses such as these demonstrate how Jesus saw his own role as very closely interwoven with the aspects of God that he names as ‘the Father’ and ‘the Spirit’. The heart of God is relational; perhaps this feels more significant to us than ever as we struggle with building and nurturing our Christian communities through lockdown, without the same quality of relationship.

Jesus has already told his disciples a great deal, but suggests there is much more, for which they are not yet ready, but that the "Spirit of truth" will be able to lead them into a deeper understanding at a later time. There are only four references to "Spirit of truth" in the New Testament, three in John’s Gospel (14:17 and 15:26 along with this one) and one in 1 John (4:6) but there are other occasions where Jesus links spirit and truth, such as in his conversation with the woman at the well in John 4:24

The interconnectedness of the three persons of God’s nature is strong in this passage; the Spirit’s role also seems here to have three parts; to speak (the words of God), to glorify Jesus (by making the character of Jesus clearer to his followers) and to guide believers into truth. 

Holiness is not mentioned in the Gospel passage, but today’s psalm, Psalm 93, ends with a text that used to be painted on the wall of many churches and chapels, "Holiness befits your house, O Lord" (v. 5).


To Ponder:

  • What might Jesus still have to say to you, which you cannot bear yet?
  • Are you aware of the role of the Holy Spirit in leading you into truth in your own Christian experience? How has that worked for you?
  • The text "Holiness befits your house, O Lord" is not often used today. Does it still have a message which is relevant for our worship and witness as the church of Christ?

Bible notes author

Jill Baker

Jill Baker lives in Glasgow and is glad to be part of the small but distinctive Methodist Church in Scotland. She is a local preacher and local preachers’ tutor in the Strathclyde circuit. The past 20 years have included all sorts of roles within Methodism including Vice-President of Conference 2017-18 and, currently, Chair of the Methodist Council. Pilgrimage is a particular passion, but, like many things, at present this is only possible in virtual or restricted ways! Much of any remaining time is spent gardening, reading, walking and writing an occasional blog at

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