Our Teacher the Holy Spirit

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

- John 14:25–26

Knowing that hearing of His betrayal and His imminent return to the Father would trouble the disciples, Jesus spent the night of the Last Supper reassuring them that He was not leaving them alone. He would be sending “another Helper” to strengthen them and empower them to do works greater than His. Moreover, by this same Helper, the “Spirit of truth” or Holy Spirit, Father and Son would also come to dwell within them (John 14:1–24).

Despite the comfort that these words undoubtedly offered the disciples at the time, we may certainly infer that they would have difficulty remembering and understanding them as the ordeal of the crucifixion began. Even Peter would deny Christ (18:15–27). It would take a supernatural work for the disciples to recall and comprehend Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus promised such a supernatural work, as we read in today’s passage. The Father would send the Spirit in the Son’s name to teach the disciples all things and bring to their remembrance all He had said to them (John 14:25–26). This is a vital text for our doctrines of the reliability and inspiration of Scripture. We trust the Apostles’ records of the life and teaching of our Savior because God worked supernaturally by the Spirit to have them recall what Jesus said and did. Moreover, we can trust the Apostolic reflection and application of these teachings in Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation because the Spirit was at work unfolding the teachings of Christ (see also 2 Tim. 3:16–17). It is the work of the Spirit to teach the disciples and, through them, the church. It is not to introduce any new, post-Apostolic revelation. It is to enable the church to understand what Jesus has already taught, which is recorded for us in the New Testament. John Calvin comments that “the spirit that introduces any doctrine or invention apart from the Gospel is a deceiving spirit, and not the Spirit of Christ.”

Note also that the work of the Spirit in bringing to remembrance all that Jesus taught—and helping the disciples understand it—is a Trinitarian work. Jesus, the Son of God, taught His disciples. But He did not give them any other words than the words of the Father (John 14:24). What the Spirit inspires is taught by the entire Godhead. Divine revelation comes from the Father, who speaks through the Son, whose words are brought to mind in the Apostles by the Holy Spirit. Every word of the Scriptures is a word from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and so can be fully trusted.

Coram Deo

Sacred Scripture does not consist of merely human writings. Instead, the Scripture is inspired by our triune God and deserves our full attention and submission. When we are reading Scripture, we are reading not merely a humanly written book but also a divinely written book. Let us treat Scripture as such and seek, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to conform to its teaching.

Passages for Further Study

1 Samuel 23:2
Hebrews 10:15–17

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.