What Scripture Says About Salvation
A Bible Study by Fred Kenison
Monograph 17: The Holy Spirit as The Truth
Jesus told his disciples,
"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." (John 14:16).
Note that the comforter is given in answer to Jesus' request, not ours. Also, note that this comforter will remain with us for ever, eis ton aiona, which actually means into the next age, or the kingdom of God. It is not given in response to our request, and it is not given for a short while.
The word comforter comes from parakleton, which means a companion who goes along beside a person to comfort and solace. Although the word "comforter" is capitalized in the English, the Greek manuscript shows no capitalization.
In John 14:17, we discover more about what this paraclete, or comforter, is.
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
The word truth comes from aletheias, which is one of two words translated as truth. The other word for truth is alethinos.
Girdlestone (p. 97, note 1, p. 103), says,
"the urim and thummim are manifestation and truth in the Greek. The LXX represents the thummim three times by aletheias. The LXX almost always adopts pisteuo, to believe, as the rendering for the causative form of aman, as in Gen. 15:6, where it first occurs. The adjective is sometimes rendered pistos, faithful; and sometimes alethinos, real or true. When these two Greek words come together in the New Testament as characterizing the glorified Son of God, they express the Hebrew word in all its fulness, and answer to the 'Amen,' by which title He is also described. The substantive is usually pistis, faith; but sometimes aletheias, truth."
Trench (pp. 26-28) said,
"He (God) is alethes (aletheias) (Jn. 3:33, Rom. 3:4) inasmuch as He cannot lie, as He is apseudes, (Titus 1:2), the truth-speaking and the truth-loving God. But He is alethinos (1 Thess. 1:9, Jn. 17:3, Isa. 65:16), very God, as distinguished from idols and all other false Gods. The adjectives in i-nos express the material out of which anything is made, or rather they imply a mixed relation, of quality and origin, to the object denoted by the substantive from which they are derived. Thus xyl-i-nos means of wood, wooden; (ostrak-i-nos, of earth, earthen; yal-i-nos of glass, glassen:) and aleth-i-nos genuine, made up of that which is true (that which, in chemical language, has truth for its stuff and base). This last adjective is particularly applied to express that which is all that it pretends to be; for instance, pure gold as opposed to adulterated metal. It will be seen from this last remark that it does not of necessity follow, that whatever may be contrasted with the alethinos must thereby be concluded to have no substantial existence, to be altogether false and fraudulent. Inferior and subordinate realizations, partial and imperfect anticipations, of the truth, may be set over against the truth in its highest form, in its ripest and completest development; and then to this last alone the title alethinos will be vouchsafed. We might find ourselves entangled in serious embarrassments, if we understood alethinos as necessarily the true opposed to the false. Rather it is very often the substantial as opposed to the shadowy and outlinear."
In John 14:17, the words en humen were translated as in you in the KJV. However, when the preposition en (in) is used with a plural or group word it should be translated as "among" not "in." This will help correct the misuse of this scripture to prove that the spirit is in each person, as the word humen, you, is plural (see Green, p. 239).
In other words, according to this scripture, the spirit is the spirit of the truth about Jesus and will dwell among men as a group, not in each one individually. Note that Jesus was speaking to his disciples as a group, not individually.
John 15:26 says,
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."
Several things stand out in this verse: the spirit, (1) is sent by Jesus; (2) comes from the Father; and (3) its purpose is to bear witness to Jesus.
The word proceedeth, ekporeuetai, meaning goes forth, is written in the present tense indicative middle voice. The present tense shows continuous going, the indicative shows it to be a fact, and the middle voice shows that it participates in the results of this going forth. Again, this verse emphasizes that the truth which the spirit is, is the truth about Jesus.
John 16:13-15 says,
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Again, it is the things of Jesus, and therefore of God, which that spirit will announce. This is its truth. It is here to glorify Jesus, even as Jesus was here to glorify the Father. It will also continue the ministry of revealing the things of Jesus, and of God yet to come.
John also said,
"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (I John 4:6).
It is clear from the context that John was talking about a spirit which was emanating from men: either that of truth or error. This was also true of verse 4:2 which spoke of Jesus come in the flesh. The spirit of the truth not only comes through Jesus from the Father, but it is also discerned by noting men's attitudes toward the word of God.
Later in this same epistle, John said,
"This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." (I John 5:6).
Again, the spirit bears witness of Jesus Christ, and the spirit is the truth.
In the Greek, when the subject of the sentence with the definite article "the" is joined to the predicate noun by an intransitive verb such as "is," and the predicate noun also has the definite article "the," then the subject and predicate are controvertible. "The spirit is the truth" could also be correctly written as "the truth is the spirit."
Dana & Mantey (pp. 148-149) says,
"In Xenophon's Anabasis, 1:4:6, emporion d'en to chorion, and the place was a market, we have a parallel case to what we have in John 1:1, kai theos en ho logos = and the word was deity. The article points out the subject in these examples. Neither was the place the only market, nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with theos."
In other words, if "the" had preceded deity, then "the deity" would have been the word and nothing else. Deity would have been limited to being just the word, and the word would also have been limited to being deity and nothing else.
This is the same situation we have above when "the spirit is the truth." God is never limited in this way. The scripture tells us that "God is love," but it never says that "the God is the love." That would limit God to being nothing but love, and all love as being God.
It is true, however, that the spirit is limited to being the truth, and the truth is limited to being the spirit. This may cause many people to change their opinion about the spirit, but it should also enlarge their concept of what constitutes the truth.
# The comforter (holy spirit) is given in answer to Jesus' request, not
ours. The comforter will remain with us for ever, which actually means
into the next age, or the kingdom of God. It is not given in response to
our request, and it is not given for a short while.
# The spirit is the spirit of the truth about Jesus and will dwell among
men as a group, not in each one individually.
# The spirit is sent by Jesus, it comes from the Father, and its purpose is
to bear witness to Jesus.
# It is the things of Jesus, and therefore of God, which the spirit will
announce. That is its truth. It is here to glorify Jesus, even as Jesus was
here to glorify the Father.
# The grammar used reveals that the spirit is limited to being the truth,
and the truth is limited to being the spirit. This may cause many to
change their opinion about the spirit, but it should also enlarge their
concept of what constitutes the truth.
© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.