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 Issues | Holy Spirit | The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Truth

At the last supper Jesus said to the Apostles:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father
and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him”

(John ch 14 vv 15-16)

Jesus asserts that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit, and therefore it is small wonder that the world today finds it difficult to accept Christian notions of truth.
Many today consider that truth is subjective, it depends upon the views and perspective of the individual.
In contrast Christians assert that truth is objective, there are some things which true truth for all people for all time.

Why was the Spirit of truth promised to the Apostles?
Jesus explained: “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 things that I have said to you.”
(John ch 14 v26)
and, “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth”. (John 16.13).

This is the foundation of the New Testament Scriptures, that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. When they proclaimed the deeds and words of Jesus the Spirit guided them and when these things were recorded by the Apostles Matthew and John, or by those close to the Apostles (Luke and Mark), they were likewise guided by the Spirit of truth so that what they recorded is true.

Likewise as the Apostles (including Paul and the half-brothers of Jesus – James and Jude) explained the Christian teaching about Jesus and applied it to others in their letter the Spirit also guided them.
Similarly, in the book of Revelation where John records the visions given to Him by the ascended Lord Jesus the Spirit guided Him.

Because of this teaching the early Christians accepted the New Testament writings because they were seen as the writings of the Apostles or those close to them. Other writings, whilst valuable, were not recognised as Scripture because they were not seen as Apostolic. In the few instances where some questioned the recognition of some books it was the acceptance of their Apostolic origin that determined the issue.

Therefore Christians have accepted other works as valuable, but not covered by this promise of Jesus concerning the Spirit who guides into all truth.

So, the Apostle Paul speaks of how the mystery of the gospel has now been made known and asserts (Eph ch 3 v 5) “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.”

The situation is the same with the Old Testament.
For example Zechariah ch 7 v 12 states:
“Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets.”

Indeed it was the conviction that the Spirit of Prophecy had left Israel that meant that no further books were added to the Hebrew Bible.

In the New Testament we find similar assertions about the Old.
Jesus quotes from Psalm 110 as “David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit”. (Mk 12.36)

Peter said (Acts 1.16) "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas” and then quotes from the Psalms.

Likewise Paul (Acts 28.25): “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:” and quotes Isaiah chapter 6.

In Hebrews ch 3 v7 he quotes Psalm 95 introducing it as “So, as the Holy Spirit says ….” and in ch 10 v15 “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this….” and then gives two quotations from Jeremiah.

Peter (2 Pet ch1 v21) explains “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”.

Christians therefore assert that the Bible is not the work simply of men, but is given by the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is the Word of God, God’s Word written, and because the Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and because God is trustworthy, therefore His Word is likewise Truth.

See Also

The Authority and Nature of the Bible

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