Spirit of Truth

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
John 14:15-17

In John 14, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth or the Advocate. The word translated as Advocate, Helper or Comforter is from the Greek, paraclete. It is a legal term for someone who is called alongside to mediate, witness or counsel on your behalf. The Upper Room Discourse, Jesus’ lessons from John 13-17, are structured in what is called a chiasmus. This is an ancient literary technique that reveals how Jesus’ teaching on the Holy Spirit is a bridge transporting us from the troubles we face in this world or with our own hearts to the center of Jesus’ message: communion with God. Before Creation, Genesis paints a picture of the Spirit hovering over the face of the deep, and even now, the Spirit hovers over places in our lives, inviting us into new creation.

The World

  • Paraclete can be translated as Comforter, which is also found in Job 16:2 where Job calls his companions “miserable comforters.”
  • Job 21:34 says, “How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
  • The world often offers us empty nothings or false comforts, promising that the consequences of sin are not painful or costly.
  • Truth strengthens or comforts us—like a true friend who will tell us how it really is rather than false flattery or empty lies.
  • Jesus is also warning his disciples of future persecution, and because they have the Holy Spirit and the truth of what’s to come, they can stand firm on Jesus’ promises.
  • When you are under fire, in the midst of heartbreak, facing conflict or disappointment: You have an Advocate.
  • The Holy Spirit is not just a hired lawyer who doesn’t know you, but he is the best advocate because he knows you intimately, every moment of your life and your story.


  • The Spirit of Truth is a witness of wisdom to you—counseling, guiding and teaching you.
  • In John 14, Jesus repeats that we need to keep his commands, but this doesn’t mean that we earn our salvation or the Holy Spirit with performance.
  • The word “keep” in Greek is tereo. It means to observe, watch over, guard, preserve, hold fast.
  • Like a guards or jailers watching over their charge, we are to take captive the truth in our minds.
  • In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, we are called to take captive arguments against Christ or negative thoughts, but we can also tereo the truth about who we are in Christ and what kind of Savior we have!
  • Philippians 4:8-9 encourages us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
  • The Holy Spirit is also patient with us, bringing us into a fullness of truth like a seed becoming a harvest.
  • In John 16:12-13, Jesus says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
  • We are often impatient and demanding to see transformation overnight, but the Spirit knows what we can bear, taking us from one degree of glory to another.
  • Catherine of Siena once said, “All the way to heaven is heaven,” meaning that it’s not just about arriving but being on the journey with the Spirit every day.


  • The Holy Spirit invites us into a partnership or love story from before time began: the Trinity.
  • The Spirit is the entrypoint for us to abide or come into communion or togetherness with God.
  • When we compare John 14:21 and 23, Jesus develops a theme where the presence of the Holy Spirit doesn’t just reveal Jesus to us but also allows God to make his home with us.
  • This is the difference between Jesus knocking on your front door to introduce himself and God bringing his luggage to move into your home.
  • Of all the places in the universe the God of creation could dwell, he chooses to make his home in our hearts.
  • We do not need to fix or clean up this home for God to dwell with us—it is by the power of the Spirit that he makes our hearts just like heaven, a place of “many rooms” that’s spacious and generous and full of rest.
  • Romans 8:15-16 says, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

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