Articles and Resources
The Holy Spirit Revealed All the Truth
In recent years there have been some who sneer at the idea of associating the Holy Spirit with the revelation of truth—seemingly because of the influx of denominational teaching regarding the Holy Spirit among Christians. While the Holy Spirit is involved in other works, it is disappointing that people belittle the Holy Spirit’s association with his primary work—revealing the truth.
The Bible confirms the importance of the Spirit’s work of revelation. During Jesus’s final moments with his apostles, he repeatedly returned to the promise of the coming Holy Spirit (see John 13–16). On one of these occasions, the Lord made the statement: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). Obviously, there was no hesitation on the part of Jesus to associate the Holy Spirit with the truth.
Though other religious people mock us and claim that we limit the Holy Spirit when we claim that he has fully and finally accomplished his task, we rest assured that there is within the Scriptures evidence of the connection between the Spirit and the truth and that this was the primary mission of the Spirit. His work of revelation was—and is—vital, because it unveiled the mystery that had been hidden for ages, declared not just some but all the truth, and glorified God.
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (v. 12). If the Spirit had not come, there would have been a continued “imperfection” of truth, because, for ages, all truth was hidden in the mind of God as a mystery: “The mystery... had been hidden from the past ages and generations” and “was not made known to the sons of men” (Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 3:5; see Romans 16:25). The word mystery (Gk mysterion) is defined as “a matter to the knowledge of which initiation is necessary” or, simply, “a secret” (NAGL). Without divine revelation, we would know very little of God, his character, and his will.
While Jesus began to disclose the truth of God, even he acknowledged that there were many things that remained veiled at the close of his earthly ministry (see John 14:25; 16:12). He, therefore, promised the apostles that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to them so that the divine plan might be revealed to all. The Spirit was assigned this task, because he knew the mind of God: “The thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11).
The essential work of the Holy Spirit was, thus, in the realm of revelation. Jesus promised the apostles that at the proper time the Spirit would complete his mission, revealing all truth—past, present, and future. Jesus said, “[He will] bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26); “He will teach you all things” (v. 26); and “He will disclose to you what is to come” (16:13).
The mystery that had been hidden for ages in the mind of God—which no one could know apart from revelation—was manifested through the Holy Spirit’s work.
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (v. 13). The source of all truth, as previously noted, is God the Father, but just as the Son received from the Father and then spoke, so the Spirit took from the Son and declared to the apostles and prophets (see John 8:28; 12:49–50; 14:24; 16:13, 15). Consequently, Jesus not only referred to Himself as “the truth” but also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:6; 16:13). But the Spirit was given an even “greater” revelatory task than the Son; the Spirit manifested all the truth.
And the Holy Spirit did not fail in his mission. Though in previous ages the Spirit had given “many portions” of God’s will by the prophets, “in the last days” all truth was spoken “in [the] Son” by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 1:1–2; see John 16:13–15). In the first century, the Spirit “moved” men to speak and write of Jesus, and the apostles could thus declare that the mystery has “been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21; Ephesians 3:5).
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, these men revealed the complete will of God—first by spoken words then by written (see 1 Corinthians 2:12–13; Ephesians 3:3–4). Even in the first century, Christians acknowledged that revelation was being completed, insisting that “the faith... was once for all handed down to the saints” and that it was “the perfect law, the law of liberty” (Jude 3; James 1:25; see 1 Cor. 13:8–12).
We can, therefore, with confidence affirm that the Scriptures we possess—both the Old and New Testaments—are the completed work of the Holy Spirit.
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (v. 14). It must be recognized, in closing, that the revelation of the truth was not merely to enlighten mankind but ultimately to glorify God. In the discussion of the eternal purpose of the Lord, the Scriptures say, “In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will according to the kind intention which He purposed in Him” (Ephesians 1:8–9). And this would result in “the praise of His glory” (v. 12). The revelation of truth always glorified God!
While on earth, Jesus had revealed the Father’s will and subjected himself to it; this resulted in glory (see John 13:31–32; 17:1). Similarly, when the Holy Spirit was sent and revealed all the truth, he glorified the Son (and the Father): “He [the Spirit] will glorify Me [Jesus], for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:14).
But divine glory from the truth has not ceased now that the revelation has been completed; it continues to work and praise God. Every time a sinner is adopted into the family of God through faith in the message of the gospel, God is glorified (see Ephesians 1:3–14). When believers are filled with the words of the Spirit, singing songs of praise to the Lord, expressing deep gratitude to him, and changing their lives, God is glorified (see Ephesians 5:18–21; Colossians 3:16–17; Titus 2:11–14).
The revelation of truth results in the glory of God!
We must never depreciate the Spirit’s work of revelation. The truth that has been manifested gives substance to our faith and hope. Without the Spirit (and the truth) we have nothing. Praise God that the Holy Spirit has revealed all truth!