New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:8 when he. Note that the Holy Spirit is “He,” not “it.” He is the third Person of the triune Godhead, not a spiritual influence of some kind. The Greek word (pneuma) is neuter, sometimes translated also as “wind” or “breath.” Consequently, the pronoun “it” has occasionally been used when referring to the Holy Spirit, even in the King James translation. This should be corrected to “He” or “Him” whenever that is the meaning. It is correctly translated thus in every case here in the Lord’s message in John 14, 15 and 16.
16:8 reprove. Here “reprove” has the thrust of “convict” or “bring under conviction.” Thus, in addition to His personal ministry to each believer, the Holy Spirit also has a ministry to the ungodly world at large, speaking to each unbeliever regarding his need of salvation, and restraining general wickedness (see note on II Thessalonians 2:6-7).
16:9 believe not on me. Since Jesus died for the sin of the whole world (John 1:29), the only unforgivable sin is rejection of Jesus Christ and His offer of free salvation. It is this sin, therefore, which the convicting Spirit must stress. Those who seek to win others likewise must center their own witness on the vital necessity of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
16:10 righteousness. The Spirit, through those who would win others, must emphasize the gift of imputed righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21), through faith in Christ. There is “none righteous” (Romans 3:10) in himself, but Jesus lived a sinless human life and thus can offer His own blood to the Father in sacrifice for sins.
16:11 judgment. To those who remain unforgiven, because they reject Christ’s righteousness, there remains only judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31). Satan, the prince of this world (see John 12:31) has been judged already because He rejected God, being irrevocably destined for the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). Those who likewise reject Christ must share the same judgment (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:15).