The Paraklete: Doc of the Holy Spirit; John 15:26-27
Verse 26 is one of the most significant verses in all of the New Testament on the Holy Spirit. We not only get a glimpse into two of the most important roles of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer but we also get a glimpse of an understanding of the eternal relationship among the members of the Trinity itself. Not only that, but this is specifically connected to disciples who were soon to be apostles—to their ministry in laying the foundation of doctrine for the Church Age. When we look at this verse we see that it is one of the most crucial verses and lies at the core of one of the most serious and devastating divisions which has ever occurred in church history. It is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in this Church Age that makes the spiritual life of every believer in the Church Age crucially and uniquely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Unlike any other age in history this age places the Holy Spirit at the core of the believer's relationship with God and his spiritual growth.
"When the Helper comes." In the Greek it begins with the temporal adverb HOTAN [o(tan] which indicates when it is used with an aorist tense verb a precondition for what takes place in the main clause. The phrase "the Spirit of truth" is simply an appositional phrase to describe the Helper. Then there is a second relative clause. "who proceeds from the Father." The main verb is a future tense, "He will bear witness of Me." The main thought is that the Helper will bear witness of Jesus Christ. The Helper must come before the witnessing takes place. What this is really referring to is when the Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost. The verb in the first clause is an aorist active subjunctive of ERCHOMAI [e)rxomai] which means to come or to arrive. The subjunctive mood is the mood of potentiality or uncertainty, and the reason this is expressed in the subjunctive is because the Lord has not revealed exactly when the Holy Spirit is to come. The word that is translated "Helper" is PARAKLETOS [paraklhtoj] with the definite article, and here it refers to a particular individual. The term PARAKLETOS is a technical term for the Holy Spirit and refers to someone who helps. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to lead the spiritual life. Our responsibility is to exercise our volition to learn the Word of God and to apply the Word of God, but it is God the Holy Spirit who assists us advancing to maturity and producing fruit.
"He will bear witness of Me"—here we have in this sentence in the Greek a very unusual construction. The first word in the sentence is the third person singular pronoun in the English, "He." This is a personal pronoun. A pronoun always refers to its most immediate or closest antecedent. Here the nearest is "Spirit of truth," so "He" refers back to "Spirit"—PNEUMA [pneuma], a neuter noun. Yet in the Greek when you have a pronoun at this last phrase—the pronoun is from the word EKEINOS [e)keinoj], a masculine singular pronoun. Remember that the rule in grammar in Greek is that a pronoun must agree with the noun in case number and gender. However, here as in several other passages the pronoun shifts from being neuter to masculine. The Holy Spirit is not an "it." It emphasizes the doctrine of the personality of God the Holy Spirit. "He will bear witness of me" is a present active indicative of the verb MARTUREO [marturew] which refers to witnessing, to give testimony as to who Jesus is. The thought of this verse is: "When the Helper arrives, He will bear witness of Me." So the role of God the Holy Spirit is not to bring worship to Himself, not to bring attention to the person of Himself, but to bring attention to Christ. God has given us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, especially as it relates to witnessing. It is the responsibility of every believer as a priest to witness and to explain the gospel to those who are unsaved. The real powerful influence in a witnessing scenario is not you, it is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who comes along and helps us in the witnessing situation. As we present the gospel to an unbeliever the Holy Spirit is the one who is going to make it clear to the unbeliever. Our responsibility is not to get people saved or to answer all of their questions. Our responsibility is simply to make the issue clear. In verse 27, "and you will bear witness also." Our witnessing is made effective by virtue of walking by means of the Holy Spirit. This specifically refers to the disciples because they had seen Jesus, they had walked with Jesus, they had seen all the miracles, they had observed everything that he had done and said. As a result they can go forth and communicate the gospel. This is reiterated in 1 John 1:1-4.
"… whom I will send to you"—the verb here is PEMPO [pempo], future active indicative. The future tense indicates that it hasn't happened yet and is future. This tells us that the Holy Spirit in His ministry in the Church Age was not known before Jesus sent Him. There is no ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament like He has today. The word PEMPO here is slightly different from the next word that is used which is found in the next phrase, "who proceeds." This is a crucial word and has been the subject of great ecclesiastical division. Te verb there is EKPOREUOMAI [e)kporeuomai]—POREUOMAI=go forth; EK=out from.—plus the preposition PARA [para]. He goes forth from the Father. PARA indicates coming from the side of something; EK indicates coming from the source of something. He proceeds from the Father. PARA indicates equality, therefore. The word "proceed" is a technical term which describes the eternal relationship of God the Holy Spirit to God the Father. It is called the procession of the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity.
- The word "Trinity" is an English derivation from the Latin "Trinitos." The word is found nowhere in the Scriptures, it was coined by a 3rd century AD theologian by the name of Tertullian. He used this to describe the relationship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Up to that point there was no clear understanding in the church of the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a technical theological word that designates God as one in essence but three in person; but three co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal persons.
- Names and titles for God the Holy Spirit. He is called the Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2; Matthew 3:16. The Spirit of the Lord, Luke 4:18. The Spirit of Yahweh, Judges 3:10. Isaiah 61:1, the Spirit of the Lord God. The Spirit of the living God, 2 Corinthians 3:3. My Spirit, Genesis 6:3. The Spirit of our God, 1 Corinthians 6:11. The eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:14. The Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:2. Spirit, the God, Ephesians 4:2. Five titles reveal the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Son: the Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11. The Spirit of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:19. The Spirit of Jesus, Acts 16:7. The Spirit of his Son, Galatians 4:6. The Spirit of the Lord, Acts 5:9, 8:39. There are titles that reveal the nature of His ministry: The Spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14. The Spirit of life, the agent of regeneration, Romans 8:2. The Spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4. The Holy Spirit, Matthew 1:20ff. The Holy one, 1 John 2:20. He is called the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, Isaiah 11:2. In John 15:26 He is called the Spirit of truth. It is through the Holy Spirit that God reveals His Word, 1 Peter 1:20, 21. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word according to 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. He is the Spirit of grace, Hebrews 10:29. The Spirit of grace and supplication, Zechariah 12:10. He is the Spirit of adoption, the one who brings about our adoption into the royal family of God, Romans 8:15. He is the comforter in John 15, which indicates His role as nourishing, guiding, strengthening, and assuring the believer in his spiritual life.
- The deity of God the Holy Spirit is emphasized by the fact that He is identified with Yahweh in Acts 28:25 which quotes Isaiah 6:1-13. Also Hebrews 10:15-17 cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34. Titles of deity are used for the Holy Spirit. He is called Spirit of God, Spirit of Jesus, and Spirit of Yahweh. The Holy Spirit is also associated with God the Father and God the Son on equal terms in Matthew 28:19, the baptism formula which equates the three as one in essence. He also has personality. He has the attributes of personality in terms of intellect and will—1 Corinthians 2:10ff; Isaiah 11:2. The Holy Spirit performs action of personality. He guides believers, Romans 8:14. He commands, Acts 8:29 [Philip]. He witnesses, John 15:26. He is the one who intercedes for the believer, Romans 8:26. He proceeds from God the Father throughout all eternity.