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The Spirit Brings Understanding



“‘These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father’” (John 16:25).

We understand truth thanks to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture makes it clear that the disciples and all subsequent believers would need additional divine assistance to understand all of God’s teachings. Jesus Himself knew that, as we saw in yesterday’s lesson. And the apostle Paul alludes to that fact in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “Just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’” Our human minds and senses by themselves can’t give us an understanding of God’s truth. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit.

In John 16:25 Jesus says, “An hour is coming when I . . . will tell you plainly.” That reference is to the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured forth to permanently indwell the disciples and all other believers. Therefore, Jesus is saying that the Spirit will help us understand God’s truth, even the veiled mysteries and figurative statements in His Word.

We know and understand all that we do about God only because His Spirit is our teacher. The Holy Spirit is the one who knows the mind of God and teaches us the deep things of God from Scripture (1 Cor. 2:10-14). All the New Testament epistles were written to plainly explain Christ’s teachings to us. At times the Spirit teaches us directly through the Word, and other times He uses people to teach us and unveil what was previously a mystery. But it’s all His working, it’s reliable, and we can thank Him every day for granting us spiritual understanding.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • If there is a Scripture passage that has been unclear to you, pray that God would clarify it for you as you study it again, or that He would lead you to someone who can help you understand it.
  • Pray for an unbeliever who has been struggling with accepting God’s truth. Ask the Spirit to draw that person to the Lord and unlock Scripture’s truths.

For Further Study

Read Acts 8:26-38.

  • What does this passage teach about the importance of obeying the Spirit’s direction?
  • How did Philip and the Ethiopian exhibit different aspects of that obedience?



From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.