Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 16

Verse 1

That ye should not be made to stumble (ινα μη σκανδαλιστητεhina mē skandalisthēte). Purpose clause with negative μηmē and first aorist passive of σκανδαλιζωskandalizō common verb in the Synoptics (Matthew 13:21) “the σκανδαλαskandala of faith, the stumblingblocks which trip up a disciple” (Bernard), in John only John 6:61 and here (cf. 1 John 2:10).

Verse 2

They shall put you out of the synagogues (αποσυναγωγους ποιησουσιν υμαςaposunagōgous poiēsousin humas). “They will make you outcasts from the synagogues.” Predicate accusative of the compound adjective αποσυναγωγοςaposunagōgos for which see John 9:22; John 12:42.

Yea (αλλall'). Use of αλλαalla as coordinating conjunction, not adversative.

(ιναhina) not in the sense of “when” (οτεhote), but as in John 12:23 for God‘s purpose (Luke 2:34, οπωςhopōs).

Shall think
(δοχηιdoxēi). First aorist active subjunctive of δοκεωdokeō “So blind will he be” (Bernard).

That he offereth service unto God
(λατρειαν προσπερειν τωι τεωιlatreian prospherein tōi theōi). Infinitive (present active) indirect discourse after δοχηιdoxēi For the phrase see Hebrews 6:1.; Hebrews 8:3.; Hebrews 9:7. The rabbis so felt when they crucified Jesus and when they persecuted the disciples (Acts 6:13; Acts 7:57.). No persecution is more bitter than when done by religious enthusiasts and bigots like the Spanish Inquisition.

Verse 3

Because (οτιhoti). Definite reason for the religious hatred is ignorance of God and Christ as in John 15:21.

Verse 4

Have I spoken (λελαληκαlelalēka). Perfect active indicative as in John 15:11; John 16:1. Solemn repetition.

When their hour is come (οταν ελτηι η ωρα αυτωνhotan elthēi hē hōra autōn). Indefinite temporal clause, οτανhotan with the second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαιerchomai “whenever their hour comes.” The time appointed for these things.

Now that
(οτιhoti). Simply “that” (declarative conjunction in indirect discourse. Forewarned is to be forearmed. Cf. John 13:19.

From the beginning
(εχ αρχηςex archēs). As in John 6:64 but practically like απ αρχηςap' archēs in John 15:27. While Christ was with them, he was the object of attack (John 15:18).

Verse 5

And none of you asketh me (και ουδεις εχ υμων ερωται μεkai oudeis ex humōn erōtāi me). Adversative use of καιkai = “and yet” as in John 1:10. Now that they realize that Jesus is going, the thoughts of the disciples turn on themselves and they cease asking the query of Peter (John 13:36).

Verse 6

Sorrow hath filled (η λυπη πεπληρωκενhē lupē peplērōken). This word is not used of Jesus in the Gospels, in John only in this chapter. Perfect active indicative of πληροωplēroō They do not see their way to go on without Jesus.

Verse 7

It is expedient for you (συμπερει υμινsumpherei humin). Present active indicative of συμπερωsumpherō old verb to bear together. See John 11:50 where the phrase is used by Caiaphas “for us,” here “for you” (υμινhumin ethical dative).

That I go away (ινα εγω απελτωhina egō apelthō). Subject clause the subject of συμπερειsumpherei ιναhina and second aorist active subjunctive of απερχομαιaperchomai The reason (γαρgar) for this startling statement follows.

If I go not away
(εαν μη απελτωean mē apelthō). Third-class condition with εανean and the negative μηmē with απελτωapelthō as before.

Will not come
(ου μη ελτηιou mē elthēi). Strong double negative with second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαιerchomai The Holy Spirit was, of course, already at work in the hearts of men, but not in the sense of witnessing as Paraclete which could only take place after Jesus had gone back to the Father.

But if I go
(εαν δε πορευτωean de poreuthō). Third-class condition again (εανean and the first aorist passive subjunctive of πορευομαιporeuomai).

I will send
(πεμπσωpempsō). First person future as in John 16:15.

Verse 8

And he (και εκεινοςkai ekeinos). Emphatic demonstrative masculine pronoun.

When he is come (ελτωνelthōn). Second aorist active participle of ερχομαιerchomai “having come” or “coming.”

Will convict the world
(ελεγχει τον κοσμονelegxei ton kosmon). Future active of ελεγχωelegchō old word for confuting, convicting by proof already in John 3:29; John 8:46. Jesus had been doing this (John 7:7), but this is pre-eminently the work of the Holy Spirit and the most needed task today for our complacent age.

In respect of sin
(περι αμαρτιαςperi hamartias). Concerning the reality of sin as missing the mark and as wronging God and man, and not a mere slip or animal instinct or devoid of moral responsibility or evil. Some scientists and psychologists (Freudians and behaviourists) seem bent on destroying man‘s sense of sin. Hence crime waves even in youth.

And of righteousness
(και περι δικαιοσυνηςkai peri dikaiosunēs). The opposite of “sin” and to be yearned for after conviction. Cf. Rom 1:19-3:21 about the necessity of the God-kind of righteousness and the Sermon on the Mount for Christ‘s idea of righteousness.

And of judgment
(και περι κρισεωςkai peri kriseōs). As certain to come as condemnation because of sin and the lack of righteousness. These are not played out motives in human life, but basal. For this ministry we have the help of the Paraclete. The Paraclete is here spoken of “not as man‘s advocate with God (1 John 2:1), but as Christ‘s advocate with the world” (Bernard).

Verse 9

Because they believe not on me (οτι ου πιστευουσιν εις εμεhoti ou pisteuousin eis eme). Without this conviction by the Paraclete such men actually have a pride of intellectual superiority in refusing to believe on Jesus.

Verse 10

And ye behold me no more (και ουκετι τεωρειτε μεkai ouketi theōreite me). With the bodily eyes and without the Holy Spirit they are unable to behold Jesus with the spiritual vision (John 14:19). Without Christ they lose the sense of righteousness as is seen in the “new morals” (immorality, loose views of marriage, etc.).

Verse 11

Because the prince of this world hath been judged (οτι ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου κεκριταιhoti ho archōn tou kosmou toutou kekritai). Cf. John 12:31; John 14:31 for the title. Perfect passive indicative of κρινωkrinō He stands condemned. The sinful world is in his grip, but he will be cast out (John 12:31).

Verse 12

But ye cannot bear them now (αλλ ου δυναστε βασταζειν αρτιall' ou dunasthe bastazein arti). The literal sense of βασταζωbastazō to bear, occurs in John 12:6. For the figurative as here see Acts 15:10. The untaught cannot get the full benefit of teaching (1 Corinthians 3:1; Hebrews 5:11-14). The progressive nature of revelation is a necessity.

Verse 13

Howbeit (δεde). One of the most delicate and difficult particles to translate, varying from “and” to “but.”

When he, the Spirit of truth, is come (οταν ελτηι εκεινοσ το πνευμα της αλητειαςhotan elthēi ekeinos class="normal greek">οταν — to pneuma tēs alētheias). Indefinite relative clause (ερχομαιhotan and the second aorist active subjunctive of εκεινοςerchomai no futurum exactum), “whenever he comes.” Note πνευμαekeinos (masculine demonstrative pronoun, though followed by neuter οδηγησει υμαςpneuma in apposition. See John 15:26 for this phrase about the Holy Spirit. He shall guide you (οδηγεωhodēgēsei humas). Future active of old verb οδηγοςhodēgeō (from οδοςhodēgos from ηγεομαιhodos way, οδηγησον με εις την αλητειαν σουhēgeomai to lead). See Psalm 24:5 for “lead me into thy truth” (απ εαυτουhodēgēson me eis tēn alētheian sou). Christ is both the Way and the Truth (John 14:6) and the Holy Spirit is the Guide who shows the way to the Truth (John 16:14). This he does gradually. We are still learning the truth in Christ.

From himself
(αναγγελειaph' heautou). In this he is like Christ (John 1:26; John 12:49; John 14:10).

He shall declare
(αναγγελλωanaggelei). Future active of τα ερχομεναanaggellō as in John 4:25. See it also repeated in John 16:14.

The things that are yet to come
(ερχομαιta erchomena). Neuter plural articular participle of ο ερχομενοςerchomai “the coming things.” This phrase only here in the N.T. The things already begun concerning the work of the Kingdom (Luke 7:19.; Luke 18:30) not a chart of future history. See Luke 7:20; John 6:14; John 11:27 for ho erchomenos (the coming one) used of the Messiah.

Verse 14

He shall glorify me (εκεινος εμε δοχασειekeinos eme doxasei). This is the glory of the Holy Spirit, to glorify Jesus Christ.

For he shall take of mine (οτι εκ του εμου λημπσεταιhoti ek tou emou lēmpsetai). Future middle of λαμβανωlambanō and a definite promise of the Spirit‘s guidance in interpreting Christ. One need only refer to Peter‘s sermon at pentecost after the coming of the Holy Spirit, to Peter‘s Epistles, to Paul‘s Epistles, to Hebrews, to John‘s Epistles, to see how under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit the disciples grew into the fulness of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 6:4).

Verse 15

Therefore said I (δια τουτο ειπονdia touto eipon). Jesus explains how and why the Holy Spirit can and will reveal to the disciples what they need to know further concerning him. They had failed so far to understand Christ‘s words about his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit as Guide and Teacher will teach them what they can only receive and understand after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

Verse 16

A little while (μικρονmikron). The brief period now till Christ‘s death as in John 7:33; John 13:33; John 14:19.

Again a little while (παλιν μικρονpalin mikron). The period between the death and the resurrection of Jesus (from Friday afternoon till Sunday morning).

Ye shall see me
(οπσεστε μεopsesthe me). Future middle of οπτομαιoptomai the verb used in John 1:51; John 16:22 as here of spiritual realities (Bernard), though τεωρεωtheōreō is so used in John 20:14.

Verse 17

Some of the disciples (εκ των ματητων αυτουek tōn mathētōn autou). Ellipsis of time (some) before εκek as in John 7:40. Jesus seemed to contradict himself, for the disciples took both verbs in the same sense and were still puzzled over the going to the Father of John 14:3. But they talk to one another, not to Jesus.

Verse 18

We know not what he saith (ουκ οιδαμεν τι λαλειouk oidamen ti lalei). The questions to Jesus cease and the disciples frankly confess to each other their own ignorance.

Verse 19

Jesus perceived (εγνω Ιησουςegnō Iēsous). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκωginōskō

That they were desirous to ask him (οτι ητελον αυτον ερωταινhoti ēthelon auton erōtāin). Imperfect active tense of τελωthelō in indirect discourse instead of the retention of the present τελουσινthelousin (the usual idiom), just like our English. Their embarrassment was manifest after four inquiries already (Peter, Thomas, Philip, Judas). So Jesus takes the initiative.

Verse 20

Ye shall weep and lament (κλαυσετε και τρηνησετεklausete kai thrēnēsete). Future active of κλαιωklaiō and τρηνεωthrēneō both old words (for κλαιωklaiō see John 11:31, for τρηνεωthrēneō see Matthew 11:17), both words used of the loud lamentations so common in the east.

Shall rejoice (χαρησεταιcharēsetai). Second future passive of χαιρωchairō in violent contrast. Picture the women on the way to the Cross (Luke 23:27, εκοπτοντο και ετρηνουνekoptonto kai ethrēnoun two descriptive imperfects) and Mary Magdalene by the tomb (John 20:11, κλαιουσαklaiousa).

Ye shall be sorrowful
(λυπητησεστεlupēthēsesthe). First future passive of λυπεωlupeō word for inward grief. See the change from sorrow to joy in John 20:14-16 when “they disbelieved for joy” (Luke 24:41). So violent was the reaction on the sudden appearance of Jesus.

Verse 21

A woman (η γυνηhē gunē). “The woman,” any woman.

When she is in travail (οταν τικτηιhotan tiktēi). Indefinite temporal clause, “whenever she is about to bear (or give birth),” οτανhotan and present active subjunctive of τικτωtiktō common O.T. image for pain.

Her hour is come
(ηλτεν η ωρα αυτηςēlthen hē hōra autēs). Second aorist active indicative, timeless aorist, “her hour” for giving birth which she knows is like a living death.

But when she is delivered of the child
(οταν δε γεννησηι το παιδιονhotan de gennēsēi to paidion). Indefinite temporal clause with οτανhotan and first aorist active subjunctive of γενναωgennaō “But whenever she bears the child.”

The anguish
(της τλιπσεωςtēs thlipseōs). Genitive case after μνημονευειmnēmoneuei of τλιπσιςthlipsis usual word for tribulation (Matthew 13:21).

Is born
(εγεννητηegennēthē). First aorist (effective) passive indicative of γενναωgennaō f0).

Verse 22

And ye therefore now (και υμεις ουν νυνkai humeis oun nun). See John 8:38 for like emphasis on ye (υμειςhumeis). The “sorrow” (λυπηνlupēn) is like that of the mother in childbirth (real, but fleeting, with permanent joy following). The metaphor points, of course, to the resurrection of Jesus which did change the grief of the disciples to gladness, once they are convinced that Jesus has risen from the dead.

But I will see you again (παλιν δε οπσομαι υμαςpalin de opsomai humas). Future middle of οραωhoraō to see. In John 16:16, John 16:19 Jesus had said “ye shall see me” (οπσεστε μεopsesthe me), but here we have one more blessed promise, “I shall see you,” showing “that we are the objects of God‘s regard” (Westcott).

Shall rejoice
(χαρησεταιcharēsetai). Second future passive of χαιρωchairō

Taketh away
(αιρειairei). Present active indicative, futuristic present, but B D have αρειarei the future active (shall take away). This joy is a permanent possession.

Verse 23

Ye shall ask me nothing (εμε ουκ ερωτησετεeme ouk erōtēsete). Either in the sense of question (original meaning of ερωταωerōtaō) as in John 16:19, John 16:30 since he will be gone or in the sense of request or favours (like αιτεωaiteō in this verse) as in John 14:16; Acts 3:2. In John 16:26 both αιτεωaiteō and ερωταωerōtaō occur in this sense. Either view makes sense here.

If ye shall ask (αν τι αιτησητεan ti aitēsēte). Third-class condition, ανan like εανean with first aorist active subjunctive of αιτεωaiteō See note on John 14:26 for “in my name.”

Verse 24

Hitherto (εως αρτιheōs arti). Up till now the disciples had not used Christ‘s name in prayer to the Father, but after the resurrection of Jesus they are to do so, a distinct plea for parity with the Father and for worship like the Father.

May be fulfilled (ηι πεπληρωμενηēi peplērōmenē). Periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of πληροωplēroō in a purpose clause with ιναhina See John 15:11 for some verb (first aorist passive subjunctive with ιναhina) and 1 John 1:4 for same form as here, emphasizing the abiding permanence of the joy.

Verse 25

In proverbs (εν παροιμιαιςen paroimiais). See note on John 10:6 for this word.

Shall tell (απαγγελωapaggelō). Future active of απαγγελλωapaggellō to report, correct text and not αναγγελωanaggelō (John 16:13, John 16:14, John 16:15), as in 1 John 1:2.

(παρρησιαιparrēsiāi). See note on John 7:13 for this word.

Verse 26

I say not (ου λεγωou legō). “I speak not.” Christ did pray for the disciples before his death (John 14:16; John 17:9, John 17:15, John 17:24) and he prays also for sinners (Luke 23:34; 1 John 2:1). Here it is the special love of God for disciples of Jesus (John 14:21, John 14:23; John 17:23; 1 John 4:19). Note αιτεωaiteō and ερωταωerōtaō used in practically the same sense as in John 16:23.

Verse 27

Loveth (πιλειphilei). Present active indicative of πιλεωphileō the word for warm and friendly love, here used of God‘s love for the disciples, while in John 3:16 αγαπαωagapaō occurs of God‘s love for the world.

Ye have loved me (πεπιληκατεpephilēkate). Perfect active indicative of πιλεωphileō “loved and still love me warmly.”

And have believed
(πεπιστευκατεpepisteukate). Perfect active indicative again. Recall the exhortation in John 14:1.

Verse 28

I came out from the Father (εχηλτον εκ του πατροςexēlthon ek tou patros). Definite act (aorist), the Incarnation, with repetition of εκek (out of), while in John 16:27 we have (παρα του πατρος εχηλτονpara tou patros exēlthon) with no practical distinction between εκek and παραpara in resultant idea.

Am come (εληλυταelēlutha). Perfect active indicative of ερχομαιerchomai as in John 18:37. The Incarnation is now a permanent fact, once only a blessed hope (John 11:27). His leaving the world and going to the Father does not set aside the fact of the Incarnation. Both απιημιaphiēmi (I leave) and πορευομαιporeuomai (I go) are futuristic present indicatives.

Verse 29

No proverb (παροιμιαν ουδεμιανparoimian oudemian). No wayside saying, no dark saying. See John 10:6; John 16:25.

Verse 30

Now know we (νυν οιδαμενnun oidamen). They had failed to understand the plain words of Jesus about going to the Father heretofore (John 16:5), but Jesus read their very thoughts (John 16:19.) and this fact seemed to open their minds to grasp his idea.

Should ask (ερωταιerōtāi). Present active subjunctive with ιναhina in original sense of asking a question.

By this
(εν τουτωιen toutōi). In Christ‘s supernatural insight into their very hearts.

From God
(απο τεουapo theou). Compare παρα του πατροςpara tou patros (John 16:27) and εκ του πατροςek tou patros (John 16:28), απο εκ παραapo class="translit"> ek class="translit"> para all with the ablative of source or origin.

Verse 31

Do ye now believe? (αρτι πιστευετεarti pisteuete). For αρτιarti (just now) see John 9:19; John 13:33, John 13:37. Their belief in Christ was genuine as far as it went, but perils await them of which they are ignorant. They are too self-confident as their despair at Christ‘s death shows.

Verse 32

Cometh (ερχεταιerchetai). Futuristic present middle indicative of ερχομαιerchomai

Yea, is come (και εληλυτενkai elēluthen). Explanatory use of καιkai and the perfect active indicative as in John 12:23. The long-looked-for hour (ωραhōra) is so close that it has virtually begun. The time for the arrest of Jesus is near. See also John 17:1.

(ιναhina). See John 16:2 for this same use of ιναhina (not οτεhote) with ερχομαι ωραerchomai hōra

Ye shall be scattered
(σκορπιστητεskorpisthēte). First aorist passive subjunctive of σκορπιζωskorpizō used in John 10:12 of sheep scampering from the wolf. Cf. Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:33.

To his own
(εις τα ιδιαeis ta idia). “To his own home” as in John 1:11; John 19:27. So Appian VI. 23.

Shall leave
(απητεaphēte). Second aorist subjunctive of απιημιaphiēmi with ιναhina

And yet
(καιkai). Clear case of καιkai in adversative sense, not just “and.”

Verse 33

That in me ye may have peace (ινα εν εμοι ειρηνην εχητεhina en emoi eirēnēn echēte). Present active subjunctive of εχωechō “that ye may keep on having peace in me,” even when I am put to death, peace to be found nowhere save in me (John 14:27).

Be of good cheer (ταρσειτεtharseite). Imperative active from ταρσοςtharsos courage (Acts 28:15). A word for courage in the face of danger, only here in John, but see Matthew 9:2, Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:49.

I have overcome the world
(εγω νενικηκα τον κοσμονegō class="normal greek">νικαω — nenikēka ton kosmon). Perfect active indicative of τετελεσταιnikaō to be victorious, to conquer. Always of spiritual victory in the N.T. See 1 John 5:4. This majestic proclamation of victory over death may be compared with υπερνικωμενtetelestai (It is finished) in John 19:30 as Christ died and with Paul‘s hupernikōmen (we are more than conquerors) in Romans 8:37.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.