12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (John 16:12-15, emphasis mine)
While I was in Seminary I greatly enjoyed my Hermeneutics class. In Hermeneutics we learned some very important principles that should guide us as we seek to properly interpret the Bible. The class was very helpful. One of the principles of Biblical interpretation that was touched on was the role of the Holy Spirit (“the pneumatic principle”). Unfortunately, though the course lasted an entire semester, we only spent about five minutes looking into the Holy Spirit’s role in the the interpretation process.
I have wondered what a class would look like that was entitled, “Hermeneutics with Jesus.” I think the verses from John 16 above reflect a large part of what Jesus would teach in that class. Consider the following:
1. There’s always more to the text, more to the topic or issue, than you currently understand. (v.12) God speaks progressively.
2. Your current spiritual maturity sets a limit on what you can hear from Jesus. (v.12) You are accountable for what you hear.
3. The Holy Spirit is given to us as our personal guide and Teacher. (v.13) You’ve got the very Spirit that inspired the writers of the Bible living on the inside of you.
4. You will not properly or accurately apprehend what God is saying to you without the Holy Spirit’s help. (v.12-13) Your brain alone is not sufficient for the task. Accept that fact. Learn to live with it. Never study your Bible without acknowledging your need for the Spirit’s help.
5. The Holy Spirit deals only in truth. (v.13) Truth is a Person. Truth is always Christ-centered. The goal is not knowledge but rather Christlikeness.
6. You must not have an agenda for God’s voice. (v.13) The Holy Spirit doesn’t even set the agenda! He only reveals to us what the Father and Son have given Him for us. You’ve got to let God be God. Set aside your agendas, pet doctrines, and sacred cows.
7. The Holy Spirit will prepare you for the future. (v.13) God already knows your future. The Holy Spirit will see that your are prepared for it.
8. Jesus is glorified as His followers grow in Spirit-taught understanding of His person, character, and purposes.(v.14) We are transformed into the image of Jesus as we see and experience Him more fully.
9. The Holy Spirit guides us into our full inheritance as the children of God. (v.15) We are co-heirs with Christ and share the same Father. The Holy Spirit guides us to progressively share in and experience the privileges and power of our sonship. There is no such thing as a second-class son or daughter of God! (To read more about the staggering revelation of sonship, click here.)
I bet there are some other great applications from this passage that you may have seen. I’d love to hear what the Holy Spirit has helped you understand as well.