John 16:13 (ESV):

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

What exactly is truth here? Can "all" have more than one meanings (see options below)?

In phrasing the options below, I strived to make each meaning "tangible" (intellectually understandable within our mind) or "actionable" / "practical" (potentially affects our action such as distinguishing false/true doctrines) rather than "intangible", although "real", meaning (i.e. something that the Holy Spirit is doing without our awareness such as infusing us with grace for sanctification). In this verse, the Holy Spirit is definitely doing something (guiding), so the purpose of this question is to know which tangible guidance we can expect.

All of the options below are what I have seen either in commentaries or from what Christians of various denominations have inferred from that verse. I would like to know which meanings can legitimately be derived from that verse.

The options

Several options I can think of (roughly from most likely to least likely, in my personal opinion):

  1. To further understand deeper truths about Jesus, in the sense of what Jesus said in John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."

  2. More unpacking of who Jesus is in light of the Old Testament (prefiguration), such as Jesus as the Suffering Servant (Isa 53), Jesus as Lady Wisdom, etc. This includes receiving illumination to understand how Scriptures is pointing to Jesus such as in Luke 24:45: "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures".

  3. Truths of the future revelation of God. Example: revelation to John.

  4. Guidance for discernment of which "right path" to take:

    • Ps 25:4-5: "Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."
    • Ps 143:10: "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!"
  5. Distinguishing true from false teacher/prophet.

  6. Distinguishing true from false doctrines

  7. More confidence of certain objective truths about Christianity, making the objective truth to be subjective truth (conviction). Example: testifying that Jesus is God.

  8. Relational rather than propositional truth, such as when we say a "true friend", or "true to your friend". In this case, Holy Spirit contributing to the trustworthiness of Jesus's being and acting as our friend (the opposite being betrayal or unfaithfulness).

  9. More truths that Jesus didn't teach the apostles or truths that OT didn't prefigure , including doctrines formed by the church fathers, or even a denomination. Thus the Holy Spirit guides a church body / institution to infallibly define and authorize the doctrines for their members.

  10. Gift of prophecy to some in the body of Christ.

  11. Private prophecy for us: critical information (or maybe mundane information as well) that helps us make a decision. Example: Holy Spirit urges us to move to a safer house in light of Covid, Holy Spirit suggests a specific gift out of the blue to cheer up a friend.

  12. Circumstantial or situational truth. Similar to word of knowledge. Examples: some truth about a new business partner's character (that he cannot be trusted), an earthquake is about to attack and we should run away.

  13. God's will / calling for our personal life. Example: we are to be a missionary, or a teacher, or a celibate.

  14. Truth about ourselves: bringing into our consciousness some hidden sins that we need to repent, or some psychological insights, which become the root of some of our present failures for flourishing. Example: makes one realizes of the suffering of her mom whom she neglects, makes one see how he is a procrastinator by recalling into his memory his past failures, etc.

  15. Past truth about our ancestors: related to previous point, to gain more insight into our present issue. Example: how one's discord with his spouse is caused by a continuing pattern of how his dad treated his mom, which in turn is caused by how his grandpa treated his grandma.

  16. Truths about the natural world, that are normally the purview of philosophy and science.

  17. etc.

Note: This question is motivated by the assumption of this C.SE question that "truth" here also includes leading the believer into knowing which denomination is the right one.

What an ideal answer should include

I'm hoping that in addition to explaining the primary meaning of "into all the truth" an answer will also explicitly identify which of the above options:

  • are definitely EXCLUDED
  • are INCLUDED in the Holy Spirit's guidance
  • are POSSIBLY INCLUDED in the Holy Spirit's guidance
  • I'm very surprised that this question has not been asked before. Jul 14, 2021 at 5:33
  • Related: What role does the Holy Spirit play in hermeneutics?
    – user38524
    Jul 14, 2021 at 6:15
  • Related to the link above, I think an option about receiving illumination to understand the Scriptures is missing. See Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
    – user38524
    Jul 14, 2021 at 6:21
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator Thanks. I had this meaning in mind for #2 Jul 14, 2021 at 18:40
  • This is exactly what theological dictionaries are for. Do you have access to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament? They have an 10,000 word article on ἀλήθεια including a lengthy discussion on John's usage.
    – Robert
    Jul 14, 2021 at 20:09

10 Answers 10


Those who Jesus addressed heard him promise that once he’d returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit would be sent to

“reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment… when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:7-15).

The whole section needs to be considered in order to answer the question.

But a list of what that truth could be is beside the point. The simple point is that the disciples knew Jesus had just called himself, “the way, the truth, and the life” at the start of that discourse (John 14:6). That is the claim of Christ which shows what ‘truth’ the Holy Spirit would speak of, to them. He would elevate Christ (not himself). He would point them to Christ (not himself). He would enable them to know the truth about Christ, who IS the truth! This is all about the person of Christ. To know him is to know the Father. To see him is to see the Father. To abide in Christ is to abide in the Father. To have the things of Christ is to have the things of the Father.

This is all about having the truth of Christ revealed, by the Holy Spirit, and all in order to glorify Christ, for to glorify Christ is to glorify the Father. To worship Christ is to worship the Father.

It’s like being in a sports stadium as dusk falls, waiting for the game to start. Suddenly, the flood-lights come on and the arena is brilliantly lit – clear as day for all to see. Does anybody turn around and look at the flood-lights, pointing to them and saying, “Aren’t the lights wonderful?” No. The task of the flood-lights is to enable everyone to see the center of the stadium, so none of the action will be missed. That’s like the role of the Holy Spirit. All the disciples were still somewhat in the dark about Christ (because he had not yet been crucified and resurrected) and it wasn’t until a little later that they were all gathered waiting (as the risen Christ had told them to do) when the spiritual illumination of the Holy Spirit flooded their gathering and then they could see the truth of Christ as never before, and they proclaimed Christ boldly to thousands – pointing the crowds to Christ, that they might be saved.

Acts chapter 2 is the start of the outworking of Jesus’ promise as to what truth the Holy Spirit would illumine to them, and empower them to point others to. The truth is utterly focused on the truth of Jesus being ‘the Truth’ in his person. It is truth about Christ that the disciples of Christ are led into by the Holy Spirit. This truth is about belonging to Christ, not to any denomination.

Yes, Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would show them things to come (John 16:13) as when the apostle John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. As John wrote at the outset:

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:1-3).

Might as well blind men try to piece together a jigsaw as those without the Holy Spirit try to interpret Revelation. Which accounts for all the different, contradictory interpretations in times past and on the go right now. There are four main schools of interpretation, and they cannot all be right! But those who look for, and see the risen Christ at the center of this Revelation will be open to learning more, much more, about the testimony of Christ until he suddenly returns. Those who long for his coming will hear the Spirit’s instruction as to the truth of what is yet to come.

  • Personally, I agree that your answer is the most likely meaning (so I put it as #1 in the list of options). My underlying question is whether other meanings are included/excluded. For example, consider 1) discernment of doctrinal truth/falsehood in the community (1 John 2:21), 2) @TonyChan's answer which emphasizes the Holy Spirit's role as helper in one's life., etc. Jul 14, 2021 at 23:03
  • @GratefulDisciple Jesus is the Word of God and every word written in God's word is the word of Christ. In that sense, everything in scripture is the truth of Christ and the Holy Spirit brings sincere believers to that kind of understanding. But really, there is only one to know - Jesus Christ. To know him is key to knowing everything else the Spirit would lead us into. Unless that 'key' is used at the start, we are largely in the dark. How we relate to him is foundational. We must be found 'in' the Christ of scripture - Rom. 8:1-17 - not a religious organisation's idea of Christ.
    – Anne
    Jul 15, 2021 at 16:04

It is immediately clear that "all truth" does not include many facts such as (for example) that the angles of a triangle always sum to 180 degrees. Thus, to determine what class "all" is intended to convey must be determined by the context and the category referenced.

The answer is actually in the same verse and that of the following verse.

Many have observed (correctly) that all the topics that occur in the Gospel of John are stated in the prologue of John 1:1-18 and the fact stated in John 16:13 is no exception.


  • John 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.b We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 16:12-15 - I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.

Note that this last reference tells us several important things about the OP's question:

  1. Jesus wanted to tell the disciples more but could not
  2. The extra thing Jesus could not tell them would be revealed by the Holy Spirit
  3. The extra information was to reveal Jesus - the Spirit would glorify (increase the reputation of) Jesus

Thus, the "all truth" that the Spirit would reveal to the disciples was the great series of truths about Jesus, His Character and work, some which was disclosed earlier in the same chapter of John 16, see especially V5-10.

  • I especially like how you defined to glorify, increase in reputation. Jul 14, 2021 at 11:24

Jesus pointed out the Spirit of truth two chapters earlier in 14:

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [G3875] to help you and be with you forever— 17a the Spirit of truth.

NASB Translation
Advocate (1), Helper (4).

I want to stress the personal role of the Spirit of truth or the indwelling Spirit or the Paraclete.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon

παράκλητος, παρακλητου, ὁ (παρακαλέω), properly, summoned, called to one's side, especially called to one's aid; hence,

  1. "one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, ...
  2. universally, one who pleads another's cause with one, an intercessor ...
  3. in the widest sense, a helper, succorer, aider, assistant;

The Paraclete is a personal helper:

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.

This personal nature, I believe, continues in John 16:13 (ESV):

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

In John 16:13 what is the meaning of “into all the truth”?

It is all the truth with respect to the individual believer's purpose as he goes along in life with the Paraclete.

All in all, I think it includes OP's #1 to #16 so long as the individual believer is taught by his personal Paraclete. I agree with just about everything that is being said by everyone here. I try to emphasize the personal/Paraclete aspect to "all the truth".

  • "with respect to the individual believer's purpose as he goes along in life": this seems very broad. Does it mean it includes all personal related meanings I included above: #4-#14 ? Jul 14, 2021 at 18:42
  • Good point. I added.
    – user35953
    Jul 14, 2021 at 19:15
  • 1
    Having felt that influence due to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I can confirm it is most, if not all, of those. I've had simple demonstrations firsthand, from being made to notice something despite being preoccupied (called "a check in the spirit", feels like someone pulling you backwards internally), from a feeling of wariness listening to a teacher who turned out legalist, all the way to prophecy and naming spirits during exorcism. As a sceptical sort myself, I know anecdotes aren't reliable, but firsthand seems the only way to receive from the Spirit, by design (1 Corinthians 2:14).
    – Phi
    Jul 16, 2021 at 0:35

In John 16:13 what is the meaning of “into all the truth”?

1/ What exactly is truth here? Jesus said: "Your word is truth."

God’s Word Is Truth. God’s Word presents things as they really are, revealing God’s attributes, purposes, and commands, as well as the true state of affairs among mankind. Hence, Jesus could pray respecting his followers: "John 17:17)" Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."

2 / The spirit of the truth,+ he will guide you into all the truth, Jesus Told his disciples:

John 16:12-13 NASB

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

3/ God’s spirit would teach them everything they needed to know to carry out their work, recalling and opening up to their understanding things they had previously heard from Jesus but had not understood.

John 14:26 NET

26 But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you[b] everything,[c] and will cause you to remember everything[d] I said to you.

4/ God’s spirit would also declare to them “the things coming.” This could include bringing to light the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection, as these events were then yet future and were among the things that his disciples did not understand. (Mt 16:21-23; Luke 19-27; Joh 2:19-22; 12:14-16; )

Luke 24:6-8 NASB

He is not here, but He has [a]risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead.” 8 And they remembered His words,

John 20:9 NASB

For they did not yet understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.

5/ Protect them from doctrinal falsehood.

1 John 2:27 NASB

27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him remains in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, [a]you remain in Him. (Also Compare 1 John 4:1-6)

6/“the spirit of the truth” had been bearing witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God (1Jo 5:5-8)

1 John 5:5-8 NASB

5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not [a]with the water only, but [b]with the water and [c]with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 [d]the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are [e]in agreement.

Option 9: Doctrines formed by church fathers and denominations

No one is following Christ if he teaches a different doctrine; he is following himself or some other man. Today’s hundreds of brands of religion that are scattering with doctrines which differ drastically even among themselves should take Jesus’ warning: “He that is not on my side is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters.” (Matt. 12:30) They are following a broad and spacious road that will accommodate all these beliefs. Not all could be on his side.

Some unscriptural Docrtines.

Can the human soul die?

Ezekiel 18:4 NASB

4 Behold, all [a]souls are Mine; the [b]soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.   Compare Matthew 10:28

Revelation 16:3 KJV

3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

Do the dead experience pain?-Hell

Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 NASB

5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have a reward any longer, for their memory is forgotten.

Do the dead experience pain?-Hell

Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 NASB

5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have a reward any longer, for their memory is forgotten.

Trinity- God in three persons.?

The Father is the Only God.

The Bible is very clear that THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD. A number of verses in the New Testament contain the phrases:

“God is one” (Mark 12:28-30; James 2:19), “One God” (1 Cor 8:6; 1 Tim 2:5; Eph 4:4-6), “Only God” (Jude 1:25; John 5:44; 1 Tim 1:17); or “Only true God” (John 17:3).


Images used as objects of worship.

Exodus 20:4-5 NASB

4 “You shall not make for yourself [a]an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the [b]punishment of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Leviticus 26:1 NASB

Blessings of Obedience

26 ‘You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves a carved image or a memorial stone, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down [a]to it; for I am the Lord your God. (Comp. Cor.6:16, 1 John 5:21 Psalm 115:4-8 1 Cor.1;:14,20)

Option 10 and 11 Prophecies.

Purpose and Time of Fulfillment. Prophecy, whether prediction, simply inspired instruction, or reproof, served for the benefit of both those initially hearing it and those in all future periods who would put faith in God’s promises. For the original receivers, the prophecies assured them that the passing of years or centuries had not caused God to waver in his purpose, that he was holding firm to his covenant terms and promises. (Compare Ps 77:5-9; Isa 44:21; 49:14-16; Jer 50:5.)

Testing Prophecy and Its Interpretation. In view of the activity of false prophets, John warned against believing every “inspired expression,” which is basically what prophecies are. Instead, he admonished Christians to “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1Jo 4:1)

However, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he shows that the miraculous gifts, including that of inspired prophesying, were due to be done away with. (1Cor. 13:2, 8-10) The evidence is that with the death of the apostles these gifts ceased to be transmitted and thereafter passed off the Christian scene, having served their purpose. By that time, of course, the Bible canon was complete.

Gifts of prophecy will be done away with.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he shows that the miraculous gifts, including that of inspired prophesying, were due to be done away with. (1Co 13:2, 8-10) The evidence is that with the death of the apostles these gifts ceased to be transmitted and thereafter passed off the Christian scene, having served their purpose. By that time, of course, the Bible canon was complete.

1 Corinthians 13:2, 8-10 NASB

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 9 For we know in part and prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with.

Option 12 Circumstantial or situational truth.

Before getting involved in a business venture ask yourself: Is it really necessary? Does the sales pitch appeal to greed, or will it satisfy a real need? Can I afford to lose all the money I am investing? If the business fails, will I deprive myself or my family of needed financial security? How risky is my investment? If I will be the owner of or partner in the business, how much business experience and acumen do I have? Am I familiar with tax laws? Have I researched the credentials and principles of the owners and the business? Is there a growing market for the business? Will I be so indebted to the business that I will find it difficult to quit? If I become seriously ill, how will the business deal with it?

And, more importantly, ask: Will I really have more time to devote to spiritual matters, or will it be less? How many of those already in the business have actually increased their time spent on spiritual matters?

Option 13: God's will for our own personal life.

What does it mean to “disown” oneself? (Luke 9:23)

13 That true followers of Christ should in like manner dedicate themselves to the doing of Jehovah’s will is shown by Jesus’ words: “If anyone wants to come after me, he must disown himself.” (Luke 9:23,) One who disowns himself disowns his personal possession of himself or his choice of a life career and seeks, instead, to learn what is God’s will and purpose concerning his future, and then to deport himself accordingly. He ceases doing his own will and, instead, always diligently seeks to learn and do God’s will. If then your disowning of your personal choice of a course or way of life in order that God’s will may be done by you brings ridicule, reproach and all manner of hardships and persecutions, perhaps even cruel torture and imprisonment in a totalitarian work camp; still that, according to the Bible, is only one’s reasonable service to God; and that is all God requires. “I entreat you,” wrote the apostle Paul to his Christian brothers at Rome, “by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.----Rom. 12:1-2

Read Matthew 19:16-22

What must be done to be complete in gaining everlasting life? Yet after all this Jesus said to him, “If you want to be complete”; obviously meaning that with all the clean personal conduct and charitable works to his credit he was still not complete so far as meeting Jehovah’s requirements for eternal life. He was incomplete. He must unburden himself of his excessive possessions, the looking after of which would consume so much of his time and energy. He must shake himself loose from all these business obligations and cares in order to free himself for the really vital activity required of those who wanted to be complete so far as meeting the requirements for eternal life. He must be a follower of Christ Jesus. That means he would have to study God’s Word, determine God’s will, dedicate himself to the doing of that will, faithfully carry out that dedication, following in the footsteps of Jesus, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom as did his Exemplar and Model for Christians.—1 Pet. 2:21

Option 16: Human philospphies.

Humans are imperfect and have limitations, they live for a short time and are usually confined to one culture,so the knowledge they posses is restricted: The Bible says

Jeremiah 10:23 ASV

23 O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps

How does God view the “wisdom” offered by human philosophy?

Corinthians 1:19-25 NET

19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law?[b] Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. 22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

  • +1 Your answer seems to contain the full range of the Holy Spirit guidance implied by that verse. Your 6 guidance corresponds to my options #1 (your 1-3), #2 (your 4), #6, (your 5), and #7 (your 6). I updated my question for an "ideal" answer which asks to explicitly include/exclude the other options I listed. For example, would you include my options # 3 (revelation to John)? How about #9 (guidance to institution as a church body)? In contrast, how about personal guidance (#11-#16)? Jul 15, 2021 at 18:26
  • GratefulDisciple: I have added most other options that you have asked. Will try to answer if possible the other options. Jul 19, 2021 at 18:49

[sigh] Once again a question, and some answers that try to understand ‘truth’ using our own understanding of that word. You can’t do this. The answer here is very very simple, and needs no lengthy exegesis to reveal it.

The truth is [simply] God’s Word. Full stop. Nothing else. And nothing needs to be ‘added’ to this answer. But I will outline some clear biblical examples. And there are so many, but I’ll take two very well known examples.

Example reflecting Gods Word.. given in Exodus, and repeated here ...

JOSHUA 3:10 And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites:

And here is the response...

NUMBERS 13:27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.

Note - everything these spies said was 100% correct. It was ‘right’. We would say ‘they told the truth’. Including ....

NUMBERS 13:33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

So what do we learn? We learn that just because something is ‘right’, or ‘factual’ doesn’t mean it leads to truth. The ‘truth’ was God would give them the land. The ‘facts’ said it wasn’t possible. They ‘reasoned’ this out ..... using facts (that we would say means it’s ‘true’.)

Joshua and Caleb tried to ‘lead them into the truth’. But the facts, and their reasoning prevented them from walking in it!

Next (contentious?) example ... Gods Word (Truth!)

GEN 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat **

17** *but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

But then ...

GEN 3;4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Again - everything nâchâsh said was right. 100% fact. Contentious? Well consider this - did Eve die? We’re their eyes opened? (v7). The ‘truth’ is Eve did die, but her (now opened) eyes didn’t ‘see’ this, and therefore she didn’t know she had instantly ‘died’, and commentators analysing this chapter might even agree with Eve.

Here’s the crunch. Gods word said she was dead. But the facts, that is, reasoning it out - she wasn’t. Using ‘science’ or ‘logic’ or ‘academic reasoning’ says she wasn’t dead. But Gods Word says she was. And God’s word alone is truth!

And only the Holy Spirit using Gods word can lead you into truth. Not ‘man’s’ reasoning, nor ‘facts’. And it takes the Holy Spirit for you to ‘see’ the truth, and for your ‘head’ [reasoning] not to prevail!


To the many good answers I suggest an idea that seems to me to be relevant, to compare alethinon/true with alethos/truly.

  1. John 1:9 the true light.

  2. John 4:23 the true worshipers

  3. John 6:32 the true bread.

  4. John 7:28 He who sent me is true.

  5. John 8:16 my judgement is true.

  6. John 16:13 into all the truth.

1 to 6 are all alethinon.

  1. John 1:47 an Israelite indeed.

  2. John 4:42 indeed the Saviour of the world.

  3. John 6:14 this is indeed the Prophet.

  4. John 7:26 the authorities really know.

  5. John 8:31 you are truly my disciples.

alethos is used 7 to 11. alethos has the sense of something truly being what it purports to be. He looks like an Israelite- he is one indeed.

alethinon is the ultimate version. A lamp may truly be a lamp, but all lights are pale shadows of the "the true light" that truly lights ones way.

A piece of bread may truly [alethos] be bread, but all bread speaks of the true bread that truly feeds us, Christ feeding our inner being.

The disciples truly were disciples to Jesus. But alethinon/truth speaks of an ultimate truth that makes all other truths true-namely Christ the Truth.

  • +1 I think I see where you are going with this. If I understand you correctly, then "he will guide you into all the truth" means the Holy Spirit is leading us to see the deeper truth beyond the appearance, both in Jesus and in us (option #1)? For example, in John 6:14 the HS enables us to see in Jesus from the appearance of a mere prophet to the perfect Prophet. Or in John 8:31 the HS guides us from our self-identifying as a disciple (like my BH.SE display name) to know our shortcomings so we can move closer to becoming a perfect disciple conforming to what Christ expects us to be? Jul 15, 2021 at 17:55
  • My follow up question for you is whether there are other meanings among my options that we can legitimately draw from that activity of the Holy Spirit. Jul 15, 2021 at 17:55

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

The spirit will guide people to the truth. The sprit will guide people to the good, the better, the right and proper action, decision, attitude and behaviour. As most have only the gift of HS and are not yet filled, we will continue to struggle with doing what the HS guides us to do and to be.

If we are literally 'filled' there is no room for anything else. There can be no self-centred (evil) spirit in us. The matter of being filled is yet future, in the meantime, we have a portion only and the battle b/w right and wrong is constantly within us.

the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive John 14:17

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ having come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God, and this is that of the antichrist, which you heard that is coming, and now is already in the world.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because the One in you is greater than the one in the world.... By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:1-6

Clearly, we still have both good and evil spirits to deal with and to test. The one in whom God dwells is not immune from a deceiving spirit.

Which brings us to the test that must be first and foremost in our lives. What is the truth? It is the word of God as has been pointed out already.

Yet there is another huge dimension to this reality - a greater, more tangible, reality!

Jesus is the 'word of God' made flesh. He IS God's word of truth.

No longer is the word of God an invisible, intangible reality - it now lives as a man like never before. A man who changed everything in the cosmos with his life and death and resurrection. The original logos could not accomplish this.

The problem is that we live in a world that lives, thrives, on deception. There are many losers and just a few apparent victors. Every system of man is corrupted by lies and schemes to steal our time, wealth, hope and love. Religion is part of this scheme - perhaps the chief part.

How do we know the real Jesus from a counterfeit Jesus? We are already told, warned and equipped to make such an important decision.

Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ having come in the flesh is of God.

If Jesus is not flesh, but some God/man with two natures never declared in the word of God - BY the Word of God himself or his Apostles, then we must make a choice for the true Jesus. The ultimate test of truth is the one God gave - His only son, for the salvation on the world.

There is only one true Jesus - who was born of a woman and God's Holy Spirit, who was sorely tempted, who lived without sin, who learned obedience and finally offered his holy life on a cross, who was raised by his God and Father, who was exalted to the heavenly throne, made heir to all God's possessions. There are other Jesus' - but they are not like this one - they are pretenders and frauds and the construct of men. They are not the truth.

The spirit reveals this true Jesus and the things he wants us to understand - not by theory alone, but by being part of the life he lived - part of his body! A holy life put at risk in an audacious Godly plan to rid the world and heaven of sin and death once and for all people. How can we be part of his life if he is a hybrid and not a true man at all?

he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God Heb 2:17

There are many important truths revealed to us through the spirit of God about times, prophecies, self and relationship - but none are as critical as who the true Jesus is. On him hang the law and the prophets - fulfilling that, he offers so much more,

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17


Jesus, while living on this earth, showed Himself mainly as a Messiah to the Jews (Israelite people) but when they did not understand His commission, He expressed His plan of salvation to the whole world by His death on the cross and rising again on the third day.

This - the death on the cross, though prophesied in the Old Testament, was an intrigue to the people at that time. All the "truth" regarding the future state of everything only to be known by the help of the Holy Spirit. This truth is nothing to do with the day-to-day physical happenings of the people. It is to do with the Church doctrine, which was unknown to the Old Testament prophets or writers as well as the disciples. The Holy Spirit was the main source of declaring the truth of the Church and the future things regarding the Israel nation and the consummation of all things which were not declared by the Lord Jesus; since His death and His resurrection have to bring out the future course of action by the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said "When the Comforter comes he will lead you into all truth"

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    – agarza
    Jul 21, 2021 at 3:07

A person filled with the Holy Spirt would surely be eventually led to believe in the teaching spoken by Apostle Peter in Acts 2:38 . Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Supporting Scriptures: Acts:8:16, Acts:10:48, Acts:19:5,Acts:22:16, Colossians:3:17, John:5:43, John 14:26, John:14:8 - 10.

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    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:31

The phrase "ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ" (en tē alētheia) is commonly translated as "in truth" or "in the truth" in Greek. In the context of the verses, it is related to the idea of being guided or led in divine truth.

In Psalm 85:11, the Greek verse ὁδήγησόν με κύριε τῇ ὁδῷ σου καὶ πορεύσομαι ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου can be translated into English as "Lead me, O Lord, in your way, and I will walk in your truth." Here, "ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου" means to be guided or to walk in the path of divine truth.

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 16, Verse 13, ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ἐκεῖνος, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὁδηγήσει ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πάσῃ, "ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ" is related to guidance or leading in the realm of absolute and divine truth. It refers to the action of the Holy Spirit in guiding the disciples into all truth.

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 17, Verse 17, Ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου· ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστιν, "ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ" is also related to the sanctification of the disciples in divine truth. In this context, it means that the disciples are sanctified in the truth, and this truth is represented by the Logos, which is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the very essence of God's truth.

Therefore, the expression "ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ" in all these contexts indicates guidance, direction, or sanctification in divine truth, represented by God, the Logos (Christ), and the Holy Spirit. It signifies a pursuit of spiritual truth and the divine essence that guides and sanctifies those who follow this truth.

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