John 16

John 16:2 the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service

"One by one the Apostles chosen by Christ were killed, as he had predicted (see John 16:1-4). James, the brother of John, was the first member of the Quorum of the Twelve that we know of to be executed, sometime around A.D. 44 (see Acts 12:1-2). Others followed. James the Just, the brother of the Lord, may have been martyred in A.D. 62. And then during the Neronian persecutions of Christianity in Rome (A.D. 64-67), 'the Church suffered the greatest loss it had yet sustained in the death of the apostles Peter and Paul.' Thus, as scholars point out, no tradition about the early Church is more firmly held than that 'all the Apostles except John were martyrs.' The Apostolic Age came to an end, and the keys of the kingdom were gone." (Andrew C. Skinner, "Apostasy, Restoration, and Lessons in Faith," Ensign, Dec. 1995, 29)

John 16:7 if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you

During Christ's ministry the gift of the Holy Ghost was not given to the disciples. The influence of the Holy Ghost was operative during his ministry but there was no need for the disciples to have two members of the Godhead testifying to them at the same time. There was no need for this sort of divine redundancy. Therefore, in order for them to benefit from the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, they had to first lose the privilege of the constant companionship of Jesus. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon them, as promised, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). See also John 7:39.

" the New Testament, the full powers and gifts of the Holy Ghost were not given in the Old World meridian Church until the day of Pentecost...While the Bridegroom was present with his disciples in the flesh, he was their Comforter, their Revelator, their Testator. He was their Life and Light, their source of power and might. 'Hence, as long as Jesus was with the disciples in person, there was not the full need for them to have the constant companionship of the Spirit that there would be after Jesus left.' But because of the vital role that Spirit would play thereafter in the growth, development, and expansion of the early Christian Church, Jesus said: 'It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you' (John 16:7)." (Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 194.)

John 16:8-11 he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

To correctly understand these verses, we must rely an alternate translation provided by the Prophet, who said, "It ought to read thus: 'And he shall remind the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.' This comforter reminds of these things through the servants of the Lord." (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, p. 139, italics added)

The mission, then, of the Holy Ghost is to remind the world of sin-one of the greatest of which is unbelief in Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is to remind the world of the righteousness of Jesus Christ who was indeed the Son of God as evidenced by his return to his Father. And the Holy Ghost is to remind the world of a final judgment, 'to teach them of a judgment which is to come' (DC 84:87) upon the prince of this world (Satan) and all of his followers.

Bruce R. McConkie

"When you receive the companionship of the Spirit, so that you speak forth what he reveals to you, then your teachings will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. The world will be convicted of sin for rejecting me, for not believing your Spirit-inspired testimony that I am the Son of God through whom salvation comes. They will be convicted for rejecting your testimony of my righteousness-for supposing I am a blasphemer, a deceiver, and an imposter-when in fact I have gone to my Father, a thing I could not do unless my works were true and righteous altogether. They will be convicted of false judgment for rejecting your testimony against the religions of the day, and for choosing instead to follow Satan, the prince of this world, who himself, with all his religious philosophies, will be judged and found wanting." (Doctrinal Commentary on the New Testament 1:754.)

John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now

Hugh Nibley

"In each of these sayings (and there are many others) it is apparent that something is being withheld, and it is also apparent that it is being held back not arbitrarily but for a good reason, namely, that people are not ready to receive it. It is also apparent that people are to be given knowledge as they are able to receive it, so that the mysteries of the kingdom are imparted by degrees. There are, as it were, automatic safeguards built into the teaching to protect sacred things from common misunderstanding and to protect the unworthy from damaging themselves with them." (Since Cumorah, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988], 94.)

John 16:13 when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth

Harold B. Lee

"Any Latter-day Saint who has been baptized and who has had hands laid upon him from those officiating, commanding him to receive the Holy Ghost, and who has not received a revelation of the spirit of the Holy Ghost, has not received the gift of the Holy Ghost to which he is entitled. Therein lies a very important matter. Let me refer to what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about revelation:

"A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation. For instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas so that by noticing it you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon. That is, those things that were presented into your minds by the Spirit of God will come to pass, and thus by learning the Spirit of God, and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.

"On what matters may you receive a revelation? Is it startling to you to hear that you-all members of the Church who have received the Holy Ghost-may receive revelation? Not for the president of the Church, not on how to look after the affairs pertaining to the ward, the stake, or the mission in which you live; but every individual within his own station has the right to receive revelation by the Holy Ghost.

"Listen to what President Joseph F. Smith said about that:

"I believe that every individual in the Church has just as much right to enjoy the spirit of revelation and the understanding from God which that spirit of revelation gives him, for his own good, as the bishop has to enable him to preside over his ward. (Conference Report, April 1912, pp. 9-10.)

"Every man has the privilege to exercise these gifts and these privileges in the conduct of his own affairs; in bringing up his children in the way they should go; in the management of his business, or whatever he does. It is his right to enjoy the spirit of revelation and of inspiration to do the right thing, to be wise and prudent, just and good, in everything that he does." (Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 141-142.)

Elder Delbert L. Stapley

"Revelation is God's plan of instructing his people and guiding his work and kingdom upon earth. The Holy Ghost, as a personage of spirit, has the power and capacity of touching the spirit of man (spirit to spirit) and influencing him for good and righteousness if he is tuned to its spiritual wave length. The Holy Ghost has the power to quicken one's mind and increase one's understanding and comprehension of divine and temporal things. Without it there can be no faith, hope, nor personal assurance of eternal life.

"The Holy Ghost inspires, uplifts, and motivates a sincere person to love truth and pursue righteousness. This feeling and power does not come without effort. One must ask of God after study and meditation if a thing is right. If true, one's bosom shall burn within him; but if it is not right, an individual will have no such feelings but a stupor of thought shall prevail his being. (D&C 9:7-9.)" (Conference Report, October 1966, Third Day-Morning Meeting 113 - 114.)

John 16:17 What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me?

While not speaking in parables, the Lord is speaking to the apostles in proverbs, 'These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs.' (v. 25) The Lord doesn't speak plainly to the disciples because they are to be tested this very night. The Shepherd is to be smitten and the test is to see whether or not the sheep will be scattered. If they were given a complete and full understanding of what was to transpire they would have been ready for it. But when life throws a curve ball, it is rarely with prior notification. One of life's tests is to see how we deal with the unexpected. Accordingly, the Lord teaches them in a manner which is just beyond their understanding because the test is yet to come. His other reasoning is as follows, 'these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them' (v. 4). Jesus knew what was going to happen, and it was important for them to understand that He would not be surprised by the upcoming trial and crucifixion.

John 16:22 your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you

Quentin L. Cook

"Just as the Savior's death brought sorrow, the vicissitudes of life, like death, disease, poverty, and injury, can and often will bring unhappiness. Separation from those we love invariably brings sorrow and mourning. Life is not easy, and it would be improper to diminish in any way the trials and tribulations that most experience.

"That having been said, the Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior's gift.

"Joy comes when we have the Spirit in our lives (see Alma 22:15). When we have the Spirit, we rejoice in what the Savior has done for us." ("Rejoice!" Ensign, Nov. 1996, 28)

Marion D. Hanks

"Thus the promise is that in times of sorrow and affliction, if we endure and remain faithful and put our trust in him and are courageous, the Lord will visit us in our afflictions, strengthen us to carry our burdens and support us in our trials. He'll be with us to the end of our days, lift us at the last day to greater opportunities for service, and exalt us at last with him and reunited loved ones, and he will consecrate our afflictions to our gain." ("A Loving, Communicating God," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 64)

John 16:23 whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you

See commentary for John 14:14.

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name

"In this verse Jesus did not state that his apostles had never prayed, or asked anything; rather, he said that his apostles had never before prayed in his name, that is, in the name of Jesus Christ. Without doubt the apostles were men of faith who prayed often, else how could they ever merit the high and holy honor of a call to the apostleship?" (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 166)

Bruce R. McConkie

"Perhaps as long as Jesus was personally with them many of their petitions were addressed directly to him rather than to the Father. Such was the course followed by the Nephites when the resurrected and glorified Lord ministered among them. They prayed directly to him and not to the Father. 'When they had all knelt down upon the earth,' the record says, Jesus 'commanded his disciples that they should pray. And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.' Then Jesus, in a prayer of his own to the Father, said, 'They pray unto me because I am with them.' (3 Ne. 19:17-18, 22.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 758.)

John 16:24 ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full

Elaine L. Jack

"How can our joy be full? Joy comes from what we receive when we ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. Our joy may be full as we accept the Savior and his teachings, as we pattern our lives after his example. We cannot do this by merely reading the scriptures about him. We must actually experience the situations he encountered, react in the way he did: by not judging, by loving the sinner, by serving when it is not convenient. Our Relief Society motto 'Charity Never Faileth,' encompasses this kind of action. We give charitable, Christlike service because we have accepted his teachings." (Eye to Eye, Heart to Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 25 - 26.)

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father...I leave the world, and go to the Father

Bruce R. McConkie

"It offends all sense and reason, and is an irrational wrenching of the plain meaning of words, to suppose that these repeated references to the Father and the Son as distinct individuals can be harmonized with the trinitarian creeds of modern churches. How the Father and the Son can be two manifestations of the same thing when they travel back and forth to each other is more than common logic can conceive." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1:759)

John 16:33 in me ye might have peace

Howard W. Hunter

"Peace can come to an individual only by an unconditional surrender to him who is the Prince of peace and who has the power to confer peace.

"One may live in beautiful and peaceful surroundings, yet, because of inner dissension and discord, be in a state of constant turmoil. On the other hand, one may be in the midst of utter destruction and the bloodshed of war, yet have the serenity of unspeakable peace. If we look to the ways of the world, we will find turmoil and confusion. If we will but turn to God, we will find peace for the restless soul. This was made clear by these words of the Savior: 'In the world ye shall have tribulation' (John 16:33); and in his bequest to the Twelve and to all mankind: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth.' (John 14:27.)

"We can find such peace in a world of conflict if we will but accept his great gift and his further invitation: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.' (Matt. 11:28-29.)

"This peace shelters us from the worldly turmoil. The knowledge that God lives, that we are his children, and that he loves us soothes the troubled heart. The answer to the quest lies in faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. This will bring peace to us now and in the eternity to follow." (That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 30.)

Harold B. Lee

"To the extent that we can overcome these things that are worldly around us, to that degree we are going to have peace. We can be in the midst of turmoil; we can be a soldier in battle with the imminence of death all about us-the gunfire, atomic threats, and all the rest-and yet if we have overcome the world, we are not concerned whether our time is today, tomorrow, next week, or next month. If we die in Him, we die unto the Lord; if we live in Him, we live unto the Lord, and those who have lived unto the Lord shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them (D&C 42:46)." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 370.)

David O. McKay

"Jesus said, '. . . In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33.)

"On the same occasion, he said, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. . . .' (Ibid., 14:27.) All through his life peace was on his lips and in his heart, and when he came forth from the tomb and appeared unto his disciples, his first greeting was, 'Peace be unto you. . . .' (Ibid., 20:21.)

"Peace as taught by the Savior is exemption from individual troubles, from family broils, from national riots and difficulties. Such peace refers to the person just as much as it does to communities. That man is not at peace who is untrue to the whisperings of Christ-the promptings of his conscience. He cannot be at peace when he is untrue to his better self, when he transgresses the law of righteousness, either in dealing with himself by indulging in passions or appetites, in yielding to the temptations of the flesh, or whether he is untrue to trust in transgressing the law.

"Peace does not come to the transgressor of law, Peace comes by obedience to law, and it is that message which Jesus would have us establish among men-peace to the individual that he may be at peace with his God; perfect harmony existing between his Creator and himself, perfect harmony existing between himself and law, the righteous laws to which he is subject and from which he never can escape peace in the home, families living at peace with each other and with their neighbors." (Conference Report, October 1965, First Day-Morning Meeting 10.)

John 16:33 be of good cheer

Neal A. Maxwell

"As in all things, Jesus is also our attitudinal Exemplar as to cheerfulness.

"When, just prior to the great intercessory prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus told Peter, James, and John to 'be of good cheer,' such an attitude was certainly not justified because of immediate circumstances. Instead, it was possible because Jesus had 'overcome the world.' Contemplate, however, the grim experiences that then lay immediately ahead, scarcely justifying an attitude of cheerfulness. Gethsemane was imminent. So were Judas's betrayal; the capturing of Jesus, who was Peter, James, and John's beloved leader; Peter's disheartening disavowal; and Jesus' unjust trial. The populace's chilling preference for Barabbas rather than Jesus would soon echo in the air. The Shepherd would be smitten and the sheep scattered. Then there would be those awful, final moments on Calvary.

"Therefore, what, pray tell, was there to be cheerful about? Yet in the face of all of this, Jesus told them to 'be of good cheer'!

"The glorious, irrevocable, and long-awaited Atonement was about to be accomplished. The adversary had failed to stop it. The resurrection was assured. Death was soon to be done away. Christ had overcome the world-not the reverse. These irrepressible realities, both then and now, give rise to gospel gladness, permitting us to be of good cheer even in the midst of tactical tribulation." (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 99.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Two of the basic things over which we are to be justifiably of good cheer are the transcendent blessings that our sins are forgiven and that Jesus has overcome the world. Additionally, we are assured that He is in our midst, He will lead us along, and He will stand by us. (John 16:33; Matthew 9:2; D&C 61:36; D&C 88:6, D&C 78:18.) Therefore, knowing that these major and everlasting things are in place, we can better endure such mundane trials as a frustrating traffic jam. And at those times we can be calm enough to ask ourselves how it can rain on the just and the unjust alike ("matt. 5:45Matthew 5:45) without occasionally raining on our parade." (A Wonderful Flood of Light [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 66.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"For the faithful, there is short-term tribulation but long-term joy." (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 91.)

Marvin J. Ashton

"Being of good cheer makes it possible for us to turn all of our sunsets into sunrises. With good cheer, carrying our cross can be our ladder to happiness. When Jesus comes into our lives, cheer lights the way. How powerful and comforting is the Savior's declaration. 'In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33.)

"He promises to stand by us. He invites us to bear record and witness of Him. What a joy and honor it is for me to declare in good cheer and without fear that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, that He was the Only Begotten of the Father, that He is, and that He will yet come again in God's name. I thank God for the Savior's life, His cheerful love, and His example. 'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.' (John 4:18.)" (Be of Good Cheer [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 7)

John 16:33 I have overcome the world

Bruce R. McConkie

"The struggle which we face is whether we will overcome the world or whether we will be overcome by the world. All men forsake the world when they come into the Church; they then overcome the world if they continue in righteousness and in diligence in keeping the commandments of God.

"No one has overcome the world, the world of carnality and corruption, until he has given his heart to Christ, until he uses all his talents, abilities, and strength in keeping the commandments of God, and in causing this great work to roll forth.

"The Lord has given us the agency, the talent, and the ability to achieve in this field. He sent his Son into the world to be the great Exemplar, to be a Pattern, to mark the way whereby we, like him, might attain glory and eternal reward.

"It was Christ who said: 'I have overcome the world,' (John 16:33) and it was also Christ who promised, 'To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.' (Revelation 3:21.)" (Conference Report, April 1955, Afternoon Meeting 115.)