Does John 14:26 teach that God speaks to us?

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This passage is twisted by so many these days.  Not just by the TV preachers but by us laity too.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I have been in where people have used this passage to prove to me that God speaks to them personally.  I once viewed this verse the same myself long before I started this blog.  Careful analysis in context reveals it is being abused though.  First let’s take a look at the verse:

 

“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.   But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:25‭-‬26 KJV

 

Isn’t that awesome?  This verse promises that God the Holy Spirit will speak to me and teach me all truth without the need of a Bible at all.  I will simply receive the teaching if I tune my heart, or whatever, to the right radio frequency and then I will get a signal.

The problem is, that isn’t what this verse is teaching at all.  This is actually one of my favorite passages, and for good reason, but that’s not what it is teaching.  Let’s look at the verse one more time, I don’t even have to put it in context, I will just highlight different words than I did last time so that which is typically glossed over stands out better.

 

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.   But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:25‭-‬26 KJV

 

That’s right, Jesus was talking to those present with himself.  He wasn’t talking about you and me.  This is even more obvious if you read the rest of the chapter.  Don’t feel dumb, picking up on that was news for me too and it hit me like a ton of bricks when I submitted to it.

Just think about this logically though, if there is one thing that the Church has never done consistently in the post apostolic age it is to agree with itself on private revelation.  Case in point, I can show you a list of so called prophets today who say that Trump will win the presidency, and another list that say Hilary will.  Well does that mean God the Holy Spirit is playing games with us?  Both of those prophecies cannot be true at the same exact time!

Many people will tell you that God the Holy Spirit told them precisely what a certain verse really means.  But you get two in the same room making the same claim and they will often disagree with each other on fundamental points.  At the end of the day all of this is madness and no objective clarity or comfort can be found.

The truth about this verse though, as with most cases, is better than the fiction.  We know from John 14 that Jesus promised “all truth” would be revealed to the Apostles.  It is to their teachings we look to find this blessing.  Where do we find the teachings of the Apostles today?  Well in the New Testament of course.  When you read this you know that you are receiving what God promised to the Apostles.  Ultimately you just have to ask yourself, can God do what he said he would do in John 14:26 or can he not?

I believe that God can, thus what we have in the New Testament is straight from him.

 

“16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:; 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim 3:16 KJV 

“21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21 KJV 

 

Conclusion

 

Guess what?  You and I are not apostles!!  If you have been following this series on frequently twisted passages then you have also learned that we are not Jesus either.  The Bible was not written about us it was written for us.  In the Gospel narrative we find what Jesus was prophesied to do, we see him come in the flesh, and then die on the cross ultimately to rise in Glory for our sins.  This is something received by you rather than played out in your life.

There are of course many places in John, and other scriptures, where God the Holy Spirit is talking to his Church directly through his Word.  In some instances we see doctrinal teachings that speak in a universal and all encompassing sense, but here in John 14:26 that is simply not the case.  In the narrative Jesus clearly identifies himself as speaking to the apostles and that is precisely how we should read it.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Frequently Twisted Passages, Heresy & Heterodoxy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Does John 14:26 teach that God speaks to us?

  1. Jason Skudlarek says:

    I’m enjoying this series.

    Not sure if you’re a listener to Issues, Etc., but many of your articles remind me of Pastor B. Wolfmueller’s series on there titled, “Responding to Evangelical Prooftexts” and “Responding to Evangelical Cliches.” Great stuff, highly recommended! And not just his parts, but all of Issues, Etc.

    In one episode, he talks about the uniqueness of Lutheranism in that we don’t believe the Holy Spirit ever communicates with us outside of Word and Sacrament. If you say something like that around most Christians today, you may get slapped! But we recognize that while the Holy Spirit can and will act when and where He wills, he has only promised to do so in Word and Sacrament, and all other forms must be carefully tested via comparison to the Word.

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      Yes! I love issues etc. I’m also a regular pirate Christian radio listener and wetv subscriber. Those are some of the chief study resources for my blogs.

      You will see me link to each of them frequently.

      I agree, I believe that Word and Sacrament is where it’s at. With evangelicals though, I encourage them to place their personal experiences below the Bible, and around the same level that they do Church tradition and Philosophy.

      Yeah that usually does get a reaction, mostly because they can’t object to it, and it forces them to consider tradition on equal level with their own thoughts and experiences.

      Like

  2. Pingback: How To Block Out God’s Voice – matthew cailes online

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