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  • Chad Werkhoven

John 16:1-15 - The Silent Speaker

The Holy Spirit may seem mysterious, but He has lots to say to you if you know where to look.

Read / Listen

Read John 16:1-15

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 53

Q. What do you believe

concerning “the Holy Spirit”?

A. First, he, as well as

the Father and the Son,

is eternal God.

Second, he has been given

to me personally,

so that, by true faith,

he makes me share

in Christ

and all his blessings,

comforts me,

and remains with me forever.



John 16 comes in the middle of one of the most intense conversations in history, as Jesus spoke to His frightened disciples hours before He'd be led off to crucifixion. These chapters in John's gospel form the basis for much of our theology and understanding of God's Tri-une (three / one) nature. This isn't just dry, irrelevant theological fluff that was optional for His followers to know. Jesus explained exactly why He spoke of these things as the disciples intently listened to each word He said. They (we) needed to hear and know this theology so that they would not fall away.

Though the disciples couldn't understand it at the time, Jesus' departure was for their good, since the Advocate-Comforter-Helper (the Greek word is Paraklētos which literally means to call out from alongside) would come in Jesus' place (v7). Jesus here introduces the disciples to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus doesn't speak of the Spirit as simply being another version of Himself. This is an ancient error that many have fallen into, that the God of the Old Testament morphed into Jesus, who later turned into the Holy Spirit. Although it's in this chapter late in Jesus' earthly life that we're formally introduced to the Spirit, He's been present from the very beginning. He hovered over the waters as God spoke the world into existence, He's quite active in the Old Testament, and He had made a physical appearance in the form of a dove descending upon Jesus as He was baptized.

But even though the Spirit is clearly a unique individual person, He's also an inseparable part of the three-in-one God. Jesus speaks of that difficult to comprehend relationship, saying that all that belongs to the Father is His, and all that the Spirit makes known has been received from Him

Dig Deeper

Some have been critical of the Heidelberg Catechism in that it only has one relatively short Q/A regarding the Holy Spirit. On one hand that's true, but on the other, it will take us this entire week to chew on this answer, and even that won't be enough time to fully digest all that it communicates.

The Holy Spirit has often been referred to as the 'shy' member of the Trinity, because His entire purpose is magnifying the glory of the Father and the Son and not in focusing attention on Himself. That may seem to be the case, but this isn't necessarily an accurate description.

Certainly the Bible doesn't tell us as much about the Spirit as what it does about the Father and the Son, but remember that every word you read in the Bible was breathed out by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), which guides you into the truth. As we look at the sheer volume of information that the Spirit has spoken, we see that the Spirit isn't shy at all!

This is tricky stuff that transcends logic: that God is both three and one. But the best way to experience the peace of God that is your only comfort in life and in death is to listen to the very expressive member of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for speaking to you through the words breathed out by the Holy Spirit and pray for a growing desire to listen to Him more and more.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 28


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