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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

John 16



Other Authors
Verse 1

Be offended ( σκανδαλισθῆτε )

Rev., made to stumble. In this Gospel only here and John 6:61. See on Matthew 5:29. Wyc, be not slandered.

Verse 2

They shall put you out of the synagogues

See on John 9:22.

Yea ( ἀλλ ')

Literally, but. They shall excommunicate you, but worse than this, the hour cometh, etc.

The hour cometh that ( ἵνα )

Literally, “there cometh an hour in order that.” The hour is ordained with that end in view: it comes fraught with the fulfillment of a divine purpose.

Whosoever ( πᾶς ὁ )

Literally, everyone who.

Doeth service ( λατρείαν προσφέρειν )

Literally, bringeth or offereth service. Λατρεία means, strictly, service for hire, but is used of any service, and frequently of the service of God.

Verse 3

Unto you


Verse 4

But ( ἀλλὰ )

Marks a breaking off of the enumeration of fearful details; but (to say no more of these things),I have spoken these, etc.

At the beginning ( ἐξ ἀρχῆς )

Properly, from the beginning. So Rev. The phrase only here and John 6:64.

Verse 7

It is expedient ( συμφέρει )

From σόν togetherand φέρω tobear or bring. The underlying idea of the word is concurrence of circumstances.

Go away ( ἀπέλθω )

The different words for go should be noted in this verse, and John 16:10. Here, expressing simple departure from a point.

Depart ( πορευθῶ )

Rev., go. With the notion of going for a purpose, which is expressed in I will send him.

Verse 8

Will reprove ( ἐλέγξει )

See on John 3:20. Rev., convict.

Of sin - righteousness - judgment ( περί )

Literally, concerning. Rev., in respect of. Of gives a wrong impression, viz., that He will convict the world of being sinful, unrighteous, and exposed to judgment. This is true, but the preposition implies more. He will convict the world as respects these three; that is, will convict it of ignorance of their real nature.

Righteousness ( δικαιοσύνης )

Only here and John 16:10in the Gospel. It occurs in the First Epistle and in Revelation.

Verse 10

I go ( ὑπάγω )

Withdraw from their sight and earthly fellowship. See on John 8:21, and footnote.

Ye see ( θεωρεῖτε )

Rev., behold. See on John 1:18.

Verse 11

Is judged ( κέκριται )

Perfect tense. Rev., therefore, rightly, hath been judged.

Verse 12

Bear ( βαστάζειν )

See on John 10:31; see on John 12:6.

Now ( ἄρτι )

See on John 13:33. With reference to a future time, when they will be able to bear them.

Verse 13

Spirit of truth

Literally, of the truth. See on John 14:7.

Will guide ( ὁδηγήσει )

From ὁδός , way, and ἡγέομαι , to lead. The kindred noun, ὁδηγός , guide, leader, occurs Matthew 15:14; Acts 1:16, etc.

Into all truth ( εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν )

Rev., more correctly, into all the truth. Some editors read, ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πάσῃ , in all the truth. Others, εἰς τὴν ἀλήθειαν πᾶσαν , joining πᾶσαν in an adverbial sense with will guide you: i.e., will guide you wholly into the truth. The Spirit does not reveal all truth to men, but He leads them to the truth as it is in Christ.

Of himself

Rev., rightly, from himself. See on John 7:17.

He shall hear ( ἂν ἀκούσῃ )

Some read, ἀκούει , heareth, and omit ἂν , the conditional particle. Ὅσα ἂν ἀκούσῃ , the reading of the Rec. Text, is, strictly, whatsoever things he may have heard.

Will shew ( ἀναγγελεῖ )

Better, as Rev., declare. Compare Mark 5:14, Mark 5:19; Acts 20:27; 2 Corinthians 7:7. Also to rehearse; Acts 14:27. Used of the formal proclamation of the Christian religion (Acts 20:20; 1 Peter 1:12; 1 John 1:5). See on Acts 19:18.

Things to come ( τὰ ἐρχόμενα )

The article, omitted by A.V., is important. The meaning is not, He will show you some things to come, but the things that are to come, or the things that are coming. These things are whatsoever He shall hear. The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament.

Verse 14

Shall receive ( λήψεται )

Rev., take. See on John 3:32.

Verse 15

All things that ( πάντα ὅσα )

Literally, all things as many as. Rev., all things whatsoever.

Shall take ( λήψεται )

The best texts read λαμβάνει , taketh. The relation between the Son and the Spirit is put by Jesus as present and constant.

Verse 16

Ye shall not see ( οὐ θεωρεῖτε )

The present tense: “ye behold me no more.” So Rev.

Ye shall see ( ὄψεσθε )

A different verb for seeing is used here. For the distinction, see on John 1:18. Θεωρέω emphasizes the act of vision, ὁράω , the result. Θεωρέω denotes deliberate contemplation conjoined with mental or spiritual interest. “The vision of wondering contemplation, in which they observed little by little the outward manifestation of the Lord, was changed and transfigured into sight, in which they seized at once, intuitively, all that Christ was. As long as His earthly presence was the object on which their eyes were fixed, their view was necessarily imperfect. His glorified presence showed Him in His true nature” (Westcott).

Because I go unto the Father

The best texts omit.

Verse 17

Then ( οὗν )

Rev., correctly, therefore. It is a particle of logical connection, not of time.

Verse 18

He saith ( λαλεῖ )

Emphasizing the purport of the saying.

A little while ( τὸ μικρόν )

In John 16:16, John 16:17, without the article. Here the article the or this little while defines the special point of their difficulty; this “little while” of which He speaks.

We cannot tell ( οὐκ οἴδαμεν )

Rev., more simply and literally, we know not.

He saith ( λαλεῖ )

Emphasizing the form of the saying.

Verse 19

Knew ( ἔγνω )

Better, Rev., perceived. See on John 2:24.

Verse 20

Weep - lament - be sorrowful ( κλαύσετε - θρηνήσετε - λυπηθήσεσθε )

Of these three words, the last is the most general in meaning, expressing every species of pain, of body or of soul, and not necessarily the outward manifestation of sorrow. Both the other words denote audible expressions of grief. Θρηνέω marks the more formal expression. It means to utter a dirge over the dead. Thus Homer, of the mourning over Hector in Troy:

“On a fair couch they laid the corse, and placed

Singers beside it leaders of the dirge ( θρηνων ),

Who sang ( ἐθρήνεον ) a sorrowful, lamenting strain,

And all the women answered it with sobs.”

Iliad,” xxiv. 720-722.

The verb occurs Matthew 11:17; Luke 7:32; Luke 23:27. Κλαίω means audible weeping, the crying of children, as distinguished from δακρύω , to shed tears, to weep silently, which occurs but once in the New Testament, of Jesus' weeping (John 11:35). See on Luke 7:32.

Verse 21

A woman ( ἡ γυνὴ )

Literally, the woman. The generic article marking the woman as representing her sex: woman as such.

She is in travail

A common Old Testament image of sorrow issuing in joy. See Isaiah 21:3; Isaiah 26:17; Isaiah 66:7; Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:9, Micah 4:10.

The anguish ( τῆς θλίψεως )

Commonly rendered affliction or tribulation in A.V. See on Matthew 13:21.

Joy ( τὴν χαρὰν )

Properly, the joy which answers to the anguish.

A man ( ἄνθρωπος )

See on John 1:30.

Verse 22

Have sorrow ( λύπην ἔχετε )

This form of expression occurs frequently in the New Testament, to denote the possession or experience of virtues, sensations, desires, emotions, intellectual or spiritual faculties, faults, or defects. It is stronger than the verb which expresses any one of these. For instance, to have faith is stronger than to believe: to have life, than the act of living. It expresses a distinct, personal realization of the virtue or fault or sentiment in question. Hence, to have sorrow is more than to be sorrowful. In Matthew 17:20, Christ does not say if ye believe, but if ye have faith; if faith, in ever so small a degree, is possessed by you as a conscious, living principle and motive. Compare have love (John 13:35; 1 John 4:16); have peace (John 16:33); have trust (2 Corinthians 3:4); have boldness (Hebrews 10:19; 1 John 2:28).

Verse 23

Ye shall ask ( ἐρωτήσετε )

Or, as Rev., in margin, ask - question. To question is the primary meaning of the verb, from which it runs into the more general sense of request, beseech. So Mark 7:26; Luke 4:38; John 17:15, etc. Here the meaning is, ye shall ask me no question (compare John 16:19, where the same verb is used). Compare Matthew 16:13; Matthew 21:24; John 1:19. Ask, absolutely, Luke 22:68. Note, moreover, the selection of the word here as marking the asking on familiar terms. See on John 11:22. Another verb for ask occurs in the following sentence: “If ye shall ask ( αἰτήστητε ) anything,” etc. Here the sense is, if ye shall make any request. Compare Matthew 5:42; Matthew 7:7, Matthew 7:9, Matthew 7:10, etc. Note, also, that this word for asking the Father marks the asking of an inferior from a superior, and is the word which Christ never uses of His own requests to the Father. Compare 1 John 3:22.

Verily, verily

See on John 1:51; see on John 10:1.

Whatsoever ye shall ask - in my name - give

The best texts change ὅσα ἂν , whatsoever, to ἄντ , if (ye shall ask) anything; and place in my name after give it you. So Rev. If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in my name. Not only is the prayer offered, but the answer is given in Christ's name.

Verse 24

Ask ( αἰτεῖτε )

The present imperative, implying continuous asking. Be asking. Compare Mark 6:22, αἴτησον , the aorist imperative, marking a single, definite petition.

May be full ( ᾖ πεπληρωμένη )

Very literally, may be having been fulfilled. Rev., more correctly, fulfilled. Compare John 15:11.

Verse 25

Proverbs ( παροιμίαις )

See on parables, Matthew 13:3. He had spoken under figures, as the vine, and the woman in travail.

Shall shew ( ἀναγγελῶ )

Rev., tell. See on John 16:13. The best texts read ἀπαγγελῶ , the original force of which is to bring tidings from ( ἀπό ) something or someone.

Plainly ( παῤῥησίᾳ )

See on John 7:13.

Verse 26

Ye shall ask - I will pray

Note again the use of the two verbs for asking. Ye shall ask ( αἰτήσεσθε ); I will pray ( ἐρωτήσω ). See on John 16:23.

Verse 27

Loveth ( φιλεῖ )

As sons, with the love of natural affection. See on John 5:20. The same verb in the following clause, of the love of the disciples for Christ.

From God

Some editors read, from the Father. Παρά , from beside.

Verse 28

From the Father ( παρά )

The best texts read, ἐκ , out of.

Go ( πορεύομαι )

See on John 16:7.

Verse 29

Speakest - speakest ( λαλεῖς - λέγεις )

The first, of the form; the second, of the purport. See on John 16:18.

Verse 30

We are sure ( οἴδαμεν )

Better, as Rev., we know.

By this ( ἐν τούτῳ )

Literally, in this. Compare 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:5; 1 John 3:16, 1 John 3:19, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:9, 1 John 4:10, 1 John 4:13, 1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:2.

Verse 31

Now ( ἄρτι )

See on John 13:33. With reference to the coming time of greater trial.

Verse 32

That ( ἵνα )

See on John 16:2, and see on John 15:12. In the divine counsel the hour cometh that ye may be scattered, and may leave, etc.

To his own ( εἰς τὰ ἴδια )

To his own home. See on John 1:11.

Verse 33

Ye shall have ( ἕξετε )

The best texts read, ἔξετε , ye have.

Be of good cheer ( θαρσεῖτε )

Only here in John.

I have overcome ( νενίκηκα )

The verb occurs only three times outside of John's writings. Only here in the Gospel, and frequently in First Epistle and Revelation. Uniformly of spiritual victory.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 16:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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