Attention!
StudyLight.org has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 16

Verse 1

That ye should not be made to stumble (ινα μη σκανδαλισθητε). Purpose clause with negative μη and first aorist passive of σκανδαλιζω, common verb in the Synoptics (Matthew 13:21) "the σκανδαλα 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 υμας). "They will make you outcasts from the synagogues." Predicate accusative of the compound adjective αποσυναγωγος for which see John 9:22; John 12:42.

Yea (αλλ'). Use of αλλα as co-ordinating conjunction, not adversative.

That (ινα) not in the sense of "when" (οτε), but as in John 12:23 for God's purpose (Luke 2:34, οπως).

Shall think (δοξη). First aorist active subjunctive of δοκεω. "So blind will he be" (Bernard).

That he offereth service unto God (λατρειαν προσφερειν τω θεω). Infinitive (present active) indirect discourse after δοξη. 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 (οτ). Definite reason for the religious hatred is ignorance of God and Christ as in John 15:21.

Verse 4

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

When their hour is come (οταν ελθη η ωρα αυτων). Indefinite temporal clause, οταν with the second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομα, "whenever their hour comes." The time appointed for these things.

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

From the beginning (εξ αρχης). As in John 6:64 but practically like απ' αρχης 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 (κα ουδεις εξ υμων ερωτα με). Adversative use of κα="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 πεπληρωκεν). This word is not used of Jesus in the Gospels, in John only in this chapter. Perfect active indicative of πληροω. They do not see their way to go on without Jesus.

Verse 7

It is expedient for you (συμφερε υμιν). Present active indicative of συμφερω, old verb to bear together. See John 11:50 where the phrase is used by Caiaphas "for us," here "for you" (υμιν ethical dative).

That I go away (ινα εγω απελθω). Subject clause the subject of συμφερε, ινα and second aorist active subjunctive of απερχομα. The reason (γαρ) for this startling statement follows.

If I go not away (εαν μη απελθω). Third-class condition with εαν and the negative μη with απελθω as before.

Will not come (ου μη ελθη). Strong double negative with second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομα. 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 πορευθω). Third-class condition again (εαν and the first aorist passive subjunctive of πορευομα).

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

Verse 8

And he (κα εκεινος). Emphatic demonstrative masculine pronoun.

When he is come (ελθων). Second aorist active participle of ερχομα, "having come" or "coming."

Will convict the world (ελεγξε τον κοσμον). Future active of ελεγχω, 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 (περ αμαρτιας). 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 (κα περ δικαιοσυνης). The opposite of "sin" and to be yearned for after conviction. Cf. Romans 1:19-3 about the necessity of the God-kind of righteousness and the Sermon on the Mount for Christ's idea of righteousness.

And of judgment (κα περ κρισεως). 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 (οτ ου πιστευουσιν εις εμε). 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 (κα ουκετ θεωρειτε με). 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 (οτ ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου κεκριτα). Cf. John 12:31; John 14:31 for the title. Perfect passive indicative of κρινω. 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 δυνασθε βασταζειν αρτ). The literal sense of βασταζω, 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 (δε). One of the most delicate and difficult particles to translate, varying from "and" to "but."

When he, the Spirit of truth, is come (οταν ελθη εκεινοσ, το πνευμα της αληθειας). Indefinite relative clause (οταν and the second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομα, no futurum exactum), "whenever he comes." Note εκεινος (masculine demonstrative pronoun, though followed by neuter πνευμα in apposition. See John 15:26 for this phrase about the Holy Spirit. He shall guide you (οδηγησε υμας). Future active of old verb οδηγεω (from οδηγος, from οδος, way, ηγεομα, to lead). See Psalms 24:5 for "lead me into thy truth" (οδηγησον με εις την αληθειαν σου). 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 (verse John 16:14). This he does gradually. We are still learning the truth in Christ.

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

He shall declare (αναγγελε). Future active of αναγγελλω, as in John 4:25. See it also repeated in verse John 16:14.

The things that are yet to come (τα ερχομενα). Neuter plural articular participle of ερχομα, "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 ο ερχομενος (the coming one) used of the Messiah.

Verse 14

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

For he shall take of mine (οτ εκ του εμου λημψετα). Future middle of λαμβανω 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 ειπον). 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 (μικρον). The brief period now till Christ's death as in John 7:33; John 13:33; John 14:19.

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

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

Verse 17

Some of the disciples (εκ των μαθητων αυτου). Ellipsis of time (some) before εκ 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 τ λαλε). The questions to Jesus cease and the disciples frankly confess to each other their own ignorance.

Verse 19

Jesus perceived (εγνω Ιησους). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω.

That they were desirous to ask him (οτ ηθελον αυτον ερωταιν). Imperfect active tense of θελω in indirect discourse instead of the retention of the present θελουσιν (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 κα θρηνησετε). Future active of κλαιω and θρηνεω, both old words (for κλαιω see John 11:31, for θρηνεω see Matthew 11:17), both words used of the loud lamentations so common in the east.

Shall rejoice (χαρησετα). Second future passive of χαιρω in violent contrast. Picture the women on the way to the Cross (Luke 23:27, εκοπτοντο κα εθρηνουν, two descriptive imperfects) and Mary Magdalene by the tomb (John 20:11, κλαιουσα).

Ye shall be sorrowful (λυπηθησεσθε). First future passive of λυπεω, 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 γυνη). "The woman," any woman.

When she is in travail (οταν τικτη). Indefinite temporal clause, "whenever she is about to bear (or give birth)," οταν and present active subjunctive of τικτω, common O.T. image for pain.

Her hour is come (ηλθεν η ωρα αυτης). 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 γεννηση το παιδιον). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and first aorist active subjunctive of γενναω. "But whenever she bears the child."

The anguish (της θλιψεως). Genitive case after μνημονευε of θλιψις, usual word for tribulation (Matthew 13:21).

Is born (εγεννηθη). First aorist (effective) passive indicative of γενναω.

Verse 22

And ye therefore now (κα υμεις ουν νυν). See John 8:38 for like emphasis on

ye (υμεις). The "sorrow" (λυπην) 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 οψομα υμας). Future middle of οραω, to see. In verses John 16:16; John 16:19 Jesus had said "ye shall see me" (οψεσθε με), 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 (χαρησετα). Second future passive of χαιρω.

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

Verse 23

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

If ye shall ask (αν τ αιτησητε). Third-class condition, αν like εαν with first aorist active subjunctive of αιτεω. Note John 14:26 for "in my name."

Verse 24

Hitherto (εως αρτ). 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 (η πεπληρωμενη). Periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of πληροω in a purpose clause with ινα. See John 15:11 for some verb (first aorist passive subjunctive with ινα) and 1 John 1:4 for same form as here, emphasizing the abiding permanence of the joy.

Verse 25

In proverbs (εν παροιμιαις). See on John 10:6 for this word.

Shall tell (απαγγελω). Future active of απαγγελλω, to report, correct text and not αναγγελω (verses John 16:13; John 16:14; John 16:15), as in 1 John 1:2.

Plainly (παρρησια). See on John 7:13 for this word.

Verse 26

I say not (ου λεγω). "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 αιτεω and ερωταω used in practically the same sense as in verse John 16:23.

Verse 27

Loveth (φιλε). Present active indicative of φιλεω, the word for warm and friendly love, here used of God's love for the disciples, while in John 3:16 αγαπαω occurs of God's love for the world.

Ye have loved me (πεφιληκατε). Perfect active indicative of φιλεω, "loved and still love me warmly."

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

Verse 28

I came out from the Father (εξηλθον εκ του πατρος). Definite act (aorist), the Incarnation, with repetition of εκ (out of), while in verse John 16:27 we have παρα του πατρος εξηλθον) with no practical distinction between εκ and παρα in resultant idea.

Am come (εληλυθα). Perfect active indicative of ερχομα, 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 αφιημ (I leave) and πορευομα (I go) are futuristic present indicatives.

Verse 29

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

Verse 30

Now know we (νυν οιδαμεν). 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 (ερωτα). Present active subjunctive with ινα in original sense of asking a question.

By this (εν τουτω). In Christ's supernatural insight into their very hearts.

From God (απο θεου). Compare παρα του πατρος (verse John 16:27) and εκ του πατρος (verse John 16:28), απο, εκ, παρα all with the ablative of source or origin.

Verse 31

Do ye now believe? (αρτ πιστευετε;). For αρτ (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 (ερχετα). Futuristic present middle indicative of ερχομα.

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

That (ινα). See verse John 16:2 for this same use of ινα (not οτε) with ερχομα ωρα.

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

To his own (εις τα ιδια). "To his own home" as in John 1:11; John 19:27. So Appian VI. 23.

Shall leave (αφητε). Second aorist subjunctive of αφιημ with ινα.

And yet (κα). Clear case of κα in adversative sense, not just "and."

Verse 33

That in me ye may have peace (ινα εν εμο ειρηνην εχητε). Present active subjunctive of εχω, "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 (θαρσειτε). Imperative active from θαρσος, 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 κοσμον). Perfect active indicative of νικαω, 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 τετελεστα ( It is finished ) in John 19:30 as Christ died and with Paul's υπερνικωμεν (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". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.