New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:7 I go away. Instead of an occasion for sorrow, it was good that the Son should return to the Father. He had assumed a human body, and thus could henceforth be only in one place at a time, like other human beings. In His Spirit, however, He could be with all His disciples in all ages throughout the whole world, for the Spirit is invisible and omnipresent.
16:7 the Comforter. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), the “Spirit of Truth” (John 15:26), the “paraklete” (Greek—that is, “the one called alongside”). He will come from the Father through the Son (John 15:26), and this He does eternally, for every believer.
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).
16:13 into all truth. Christ had yet “many things to say” (John 16:12) to His disciples, but these would be revealed through the coming Spirit of truth. Not only would the Holy Spirit enable them to remember all Christ had said (John 14:26), but would eventually through divine inspiration by the Spirit reveal “all truth” needed for the future ministry of Christians in the world. These promises amount to Christ’s promise of the continuation and completion of God’s written Word. He had already on various occasions authenticated the Old Testament (e.g., Matthew 5:18; Luke 24:44; John 10:35); now He also authenticated the yet-to-be-written New Testament.
16:13 speak of himself. Christ is not saying here that the Holy Spirit will never speak about Himself (there is much in the New Testament about the Holy Spirit, all of which was inspired by Him), but rather, He will not speak independently of the Father and the Son. Thus, the words of the New Testament are authenticated by the triune God.
16:13 things to come. A prominent component of these future revelations would be—just as in the Old Testament—revelations about the future. In fact, every New Testament writer has included prophetic passages in his writings, most of all John himself, in the book of Revelation.
16:16 A little while. The striking repetition of the phrase “a little while” in these verses (occurring seven times in John 16:16-19) is best explained in terms of Christ’s desire to emphasize His soon return. Two thousand years seems a long time in comparison to earthly life-spans, but is nothing in relation to the eternal joy we shall share when He returns (compare John 14:19). For “yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).
16:21 hath sorrow. This universal experience of travail and sorrow by a woman delivering a child (and even pictured in the animal world—see note on Psalm 22:6) has resulted from the primeval curse pronounced when the first woman rejected God’s Word (Genesis 3:16). Nevertheless, this suffering brings a new life into the world, and this is always an occasion for joy. Jesus here uses this common experience as an example of what God is doing with His whole creation, and what He Himself was accomplishing for His followers as He proceeded toward the cross. He would “see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). He, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Furthermore, His travail will deliver a new world! “The [creation] itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:21-22).