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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. JAMES MANN IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE NBST 655

LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY TAMELA ROCHELLE JOHNSON

MAY 5, 2013

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 2 THE BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION OF IDENTITY (JOHN 1:32-33) ............................. 2 THE NEW BIRTH THROUGH THE SPIRIT (JOHN 3:3-7) ..................................................... 3 THE WATER OF ETERNAL LIFE (JOHN 4:10-14) ................................................................ 5 THE NATURE OF TRUE WORSHIP (JOHN 4:23-24)............................................................. 6 THE QUICKENING OF THE SPIRIT (JOHN 6:63).................................................................. 7 THE RIVERS OF LIVING WATER (JOHN 7:37-39) ............................................................... 7 THE PARACLETE AND THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH (JOHN 14-16) ......................................... 8 THE IMPARTATION OF THE HOLY GHOST (JOHN 20:19-23)........................................... 10 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................ 11 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................ 12

INTRODUCTION Many scholars agree that when it comes to the mystery of Gods revelation concerning Jesus Christ, the Gospel of John penetrates more intensely than any other Gospel. Johns Gospel towers over the Synoptics as the theological pinnacle of the Gospel tradition and establishes Johns place as the first-century churchs foremost theologian together with Paul.1 Most evidently, the theological connotations, accounts, and discourses of Christ concerning the attributes and role of the Holy Spirit are cogently outlined throughout Johns Gospel, with numerous inferences that are unique to his Gospel. This research will trace Johns view of the Holy Spirits role in his Gospel and demonstrate how His portrayal of the gift of the Holy Spirit highlights Jesus as the vehicle and dispenser of that gift. THE BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION OF IDENTITY (JOHN 1:32-33) John the Baptist, who was called as a witness to testify concern the Coming One said I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and I testify that this is Gods Chosen One (John 1:32-34, NIV).2 The Baptist was well aware of his role, that he was not that light, but sent to bear witness of that light (John 1:8). He was prepared to receive with understanding the sign which gave him something more than his own personal surmises to go upon in declaring Jesus to the world as the Messiah.3 The Baptist acknowledged

Andreas J. Kostenberger, Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Encountering Biblical Studies) (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), Kindle Edition, Location 3232.
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All Scripture quotations are taken from the The Holy Bible: New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Marcus Dods, The Expositors Bible: The Gospel of St. John, Vol 1. (New York, NY: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1891), Kindle Edition, Location 498.

that he did not know him, but anticipated the sign that would identify the one to come.4 When he saw the Spirit descend from heaven as a dove and remain on Jesus, it was in that moment he received revelation that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Coming One, the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. What is the significance of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove? Carson writes: In the Synoptic Gospel, the descent of the Spirit as a dove was something Jesus himself witness, a symbol in tandem with the voice from heaven. Here in the Fourth Gospel, however, the dove assumes a different role: it identifies the Coming One to John the Baptist. For the Evangelist, then, the aspect of Jesus baptism that suited his purposes in writing was its role in bringing the Baptist to recognize who Jesus was, and therefore to bear witness specifically to him, and no longer to an unidentified Coming One.5 In tracing Johns view of the Holy Spirit in his Gospel, it is evident that he recognized one of the roles of the Holy Spirit as an identifier of the Coming One, manifesting himself in the presence of the Baptist, the one who would thus bear witness and testify to the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. THE NEW BIRTH THROUGH THE SPIRIT (JOHN 3:3-7) In John 3, we learn that the Holy Spirit works to bring the gift of new birth and renewal to men. Nicodemus, who approached Jesus by night, initiated the conversation by acknowledging that Jesus miraculous works could only come from and be endorsed by God. Jesus replied, Verily truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. How can someone be born when they are old? Nicodemus asked. Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mothers womb to be born! Jesus answered, Verily truly I tell

John the Baptists statement I knew him not does not mean that he did not know Jesus at all, but that he was not yet enlightened regarding the identity of Jesus. D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), Kindle Edition, Location 2752.
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you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3:3-7). While Jesus was referring to a spiritual birth, Nicodemus understood it in terms of a physical rebirth. However, Jesus emphasized again that one must be born again; one must the born of water and spirit,6 the prerequisite for entrance into the Kingdom of God. What does it mean to be born again as it relates to the Holy Spirits role of regeneration? Regeneration consists in a new, spiritual, supernatural, vital principle, or habit of grace infused into the soul, the mind, the will and affections, by the power of the Holy Spirit, disposing and enabling them in whom it is, unto spiritual, supernatural, vital actings and spiritual obedience7 Just as human life is produced by human generation, spiritual life is produced by spiritual regeneration.8 The Holy Spirit brings new life to man and has the power to impart a completely new nature to those whose nature is corrupted by sin. The new birth is made manifest through the work of regenerating a person, where Gods own nature resides in the believer. In Johns Prologue, the concept of regeneration is addressed. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God (John 1:11-13). Jesus insists that this new birth,

Carson notes that one born of water and spirit signals a new begetting, a new birth that cleanses and renews; renewal promised by the Old Testament prophets. Kostenberger signifies it as a single event: spiritual rebirth, metaphorically expressed by the analogy of washing with the clean water. R.A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 2011), Kindle Edition, Location 59. Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008), Kindle Edition, Location 5221.
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this new begetting, this new regeneration, must be the work of the Spirit, who comes from the realm of the above.9 THE WATER OF ETERNAL LIFE (JOHN 4:10-14) In the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at the well, Jesus uses water symbolism in his quest of declaring his ability to give eternal life. In the conversation, there are two waters represented: one that satisfies the natural body temporarily, and one that satisfies the soul eternally. Jesus affirms that He is the One who gives living water, which in this context, is a metaphoric term for the Holy Spirit. If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water (John 4:10). Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks that water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:13-14). Calvin writes By water is meant nothing more than the inward purification and invigoration which is produced by the Holy Spirit.10 Carson provides additional insight into Johns use of water or living water in his gospel: In Johns Gospel there are passages where Jesus is the living water as he is the bread from heaven, and other passages where he gives the living water to believers. In this chapter, the water is the satisfying eternal life mediated by the Spirit that only Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world, can provide.11 Parallels are mirrored in the Old Testament in relations to the water symbolism: With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3), Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters (Isaiah 55:1), and They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, (Jeremiah 2:13). In essence, the Holy Spirit, which is the living water, is a source of
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Carson, The Gospel According to John, 3593. John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel of John, (Edinburgh, UK: Bibliolife, 2009), Kindle Edition, Location

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1292.
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Carson, The Gospel According to John, 4263.

complete fulfillment and eternal life. But its only through Jesus Christ that one can receive such gift. THE NATURE OF TRUE WORSHIP (JOHN 4:23-24) As the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well continues, it is discovered that the Holy Spirit has a role in the nature of true worship. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). In order to worship God who is spirit, one must do so in the spirit and truth.12 In the Old Testament, worshipers were bound by ceremonial rituals that were carried out as instructed by God. Certain stipulations had to be in place in order for worship to be considered acceptable worship unto God The prophets spoke of a time when worship would no longer be focused on a single, central sanctuary, when the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.13 A time would come when the demands of ceremonial rituals and confinement to a specific location would be abolished, made possible by the finished work of Jesus Christ. There is no acceptable and true worship except that which is prompted by the Holy Spirit.14 Those who are not born of the spirit cannot worship God in Spirit and in truth, for the spirit of God cease to dwell in that individual. The gift of the Holy Spirit makes possible ones ability to offer a God-centered worship.

In spirit and in truth does not refer to two independent characteristics but signifies the kind of worship that is offered to God.
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Carson, The Gospel According to John, 4427. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, 90.

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THE QUICKENING OF THE SPIRIT (JOHN 6:63) To those who believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life and ensuing victory over sin. The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you they are full of the Spirit and life (John 6:63). The King James Version states it is the spirit that quickeneth. Quicken means to make alive or to come to life. Jesus gives a contrast between the spirit and the flesh, emphasizing that there are no benefits found in the flesh, only in the Spirit, for in and through the Spirit there is life. Jesus himself is the bearer of the Spirit, the one to whom God gives the Spirit without limit and who therefore speaks the words of God. That is why Jesus can now say, The words I have spoken to you are spirit (they are the product of the life-giving Spirit) and they are life.15 This proclamation took place during Jesus Bread of Life discourse where he declared I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35). The words that Jesus spoke are spirit and life. He has the words that produce eternal life, however, because these words were considered a hard saying; many could not receive and thus rejected him and consequently the promise of eternal life produced by the Spirit and the Word. THE RIVERS OF LIVING WATER (JOHN 7:37-39) In chapter 7, John writes in the most explicit terms, On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39). Jesus bids all that are thirsty come unto Him and drink. John clearly gives the reader an

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Carson, The Gospel According to John, 6132.

understanding into the nature of this drink, as he makes reference to the Holy Spirit. Those who receive Him, a source of life and power shall flow out of them. It is the glorified Jesus Christ who will give believers (later referred to as the Church) the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit becomes in that individual a well of living water ever springing up into everlasting life. 16 What is the significance of the water in this context? Water signifies a welcoming of the Holy Spirit and an anticipation of millennial blessings17 as signified during final ritual at the Feast of Tabernacle when the priest brought water from the pool of Siloam and poured it in the funnel beside the altar, amid the singing of worshipers.18 This event was glorious and joyous for in it was the expectation and anticipation of the Messiah. Jesus proclamation that all who believe in him shall have rivers of living water flow from within them is a fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles anticipation. Jesus is the dispenser of the Holy Spirit, through whom those who come to him for salvation will be abundantly blessed.19 The Holy Spirit is a gift from God, given with no conditions or stipulations other than faith and belief in Jesus Christ. THE PARACLETE AND THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH (JOHN 14-16) The farewell discourse has one major purpose: the preparation of Jesus followers for the time after his departure.20 Johns teaching of the Holy Spirit in this discourse revolved around Jesus forthcoming parting. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Comforter numerous times in the Scriptures. For example, we read, And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you

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Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit , 65. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, 5297. Ibid., 5303. Kostenberger, Encountering John, 2181. Ibid., 3232.

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another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever (John 14:16, KJV),21 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26, KJV), and But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26, KJV).22 The Greek word translated Comforter (Parakletos) means one called alongside. In other words, He is one called to stand constantly by ones side and who is ever ready to stand by us and take our part in everything in which his help is needed.23 The use of another emphasizes that the Holy Spirit would be a Helper of the same kind.24 Jesus himself had been their Paraclete, but upon his departure, he promised to send another who would dwell forever in every individual who believe in Him. The Holy Spirit could only be given subsequent to Jesus exaltation and glorification. He signified that the Spirit would take His own place, doing for the disciples, what He had done for them while He was with them on earth.25This was a promise not for the world, but the believers. The world cannot receive him for they neither know him nor the One who sent him (John 14:17). Jesus discussed other roles of the other Paraclete: He will teach you all things, and brings all things to your remembrance (John 14:26), testify and bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26-27), reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8), guide
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The Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV)

The Comforter refers to the Greek term Parakletos or Paraclete, which has been deemed difficult to translate in English. Translations such as Advocate, Helper, Guide, Consoler, and Counselor have been used. Although all of these words describe the role of the Holy Spirit in one way or another, no single word denotes the role and function of the Holy Spirit.
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Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, 40. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, 5115. A.W. Pink, The Gospel of John, (2012), Kindle Edition, Location 318.

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you into all truth (John 16:13), show you things to come (John 16:13), and glorify Jesus (John 16:14). In all of these functions, the ministry of the Spirit remains closely linked with the person of Jesus.26 The other Paraclete is referred to as the Spirit of truth; it is the work of the Holy Spirit to communicate and impart truth to those who receive Him. Furthermore, he will bear witness to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, Savior, and Redeemer of the world. The Spirits ministry in this respect was not to bring qualitatively new revelation, but to complete, to fill out, the revelation brought by Jesus himself.27 In essence, the central aim of the Paracletes role is to bring glory to and exalt Jesus. THE IMPARTATION OF THE HOLY GHOST (JOHN 20:22) The notion of breath is mentioned in John 20:22, And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. It is also mentioned in the Old Testament passages, Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7), and The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4). What is so significant about these passages is that the Spirit is the out-breathing of God, His inmost life going forth in a person form to quicken.28 When an individual receives the Holy Spirit, they partake in the innermost part of God Himself, as He dwells within that individual in a personal way. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit to renew, empower, and transform was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled by Jesus Christ. As written in Jeremiah 31:33-34 we find this promise, This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my law in their
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Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009), Kindle Edition, Location 3432.
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Carson, The Gospel According to John, 11384. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, 23.

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minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, Know the LORD, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. CONCLUSION Johns view of the Holy Spirit as found in his gospel bears similarities to that of the Synoptics. He includes 1) the witness and testimony of John the Baptist who proclaims Jesus as the Lamb of God and one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit; 2) the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, remaining on him, and confirming His identify; 3) the concept of being born again and the Holy Spirits role in regeneration, true worship, and new life. In Johns presentation of Jesus followers, his adoption of a post-exaltation vantage point regarding Jesus leads to a vastly different portrayal in the second half of his Gospel, most notably in the farewell discourse.29 We find teachings on the Holy Spirit that is exclusive to the Gospel of John, and are exposed to two descriptions distinctive to the Holy Spirit: the Paraclete and the Spirit of truth. The description of the role of the Holy Spirit is made manifest in a comprehensive way, as we gain insight into his role in the life of a believer. No longer will he just dwell with us, but will be in us. He is the invisible representation of Jesus, bearing functions that resemble that of Jesus during his earthly ministry. We learn that we have a Comforter, Advocate, Helper, Guide, Counselor, and Consoler teaching, guiding, witnessing, convicting, testifying, empowering, renewing, aiding, and dwelling because of the exaltation of Jesus Christ, who now sits at the right hand of the Father.

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Kostenberger, Encountering John, 3380.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Calvin, John. Commentary on the Gospel of John. Edinburgh, UK: Bibliolife, 2009. Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991. Dods, Marcus. The Expositors Bible: The Gospel of St. John, Vol 1. New York, NY: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1891. Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008. Kostenberger, Andreas J. Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Encountering Biblical Studies). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002. Kostenberger, Andreas J., L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles. The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009. Pink, A.W. The Gospel of John, 2012. Kindle Edition. Torrey, R.A. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 2011.

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