Bible Study

John Bible Study, Day 29: The Advocate

Today’s passage: John 16:6–15

Focus verse: “When he comes, he [the Advocate] will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Jesus tells his disciples he will soon leave. This dismays them. But he says his departure is for their good. Unless he leaves, the Advocate can’t come. Why must Jesus go before the Advocate can arrive?

From a practical standpoint, maybe while Jesus is with them, they don’t need the Advocate’s help. Another thought is that the full release of the Advocate won’t occur until Jesus redeems humanity’s death sentence through his sacrificial death. Regardless, Jesus leaves, and the Advocate will appear.

Who is this Advocate? We mentioned him in Day 26, “Holy Spirit Power.” There we confirmed the Advocate is none other than the Holy Spirit of God, whom John calls the Spirit of truth. John 16:7 uses the name Advocate.

Other translations of the Bible provide other helpful labels. These include Comforter, Helper, Intercessor, Counselor, Companion, Strengthener, Paraclete, and Holy Ghost. These help us better grasp the work, range, and power of the Holy Spirit.

Not only is the Advocate for our benefit, but Jesus also says the Holy Spirit will speak to the world. He will convict them and reveal truth to them about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Jesus explains each of these three items.

First, the Advocate will show people their sinful nature. This is because they don’t believe in Jesus. Left on our own, we fall short of Father God’s perfect standard. But Jesus bridges that gap, providing a path to reconcile us with his Papa.

Next, the Advocate will instruct people about righteousness. This is the opposite of sin. For those convicted of wrongdoing, we want to do better. Left to our own strength, we may make progress in moving from sinful living toward right living, but we can only do so much.

Regardless of how hard we try, we’ll never live perfect lives and satisfy Old Testament expectations. Instead, we need Jesus to save us and the Advocate to guide us. This is the New Testament solution to the limits of the Old Testament, which can’t save us.

Third, the Advocate will address judgment. Just as the prince of the world, Satan, stands condemned, so too are those who don’t place their trust in Jesus to save them from the sentence they have earned through their less-than-perfect behavior.

Our wrong actions (sin) prods us to repent, which then moves us toward holy living (righteousness). In doing so, the condemnation we deserve turns into the salvation that we can’t earn.

Our rescue only comes from trusting in Jesus. And the Advocate—God’s Holy Spirit—will guide us into that.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit.


  1. What does sin mean to you? 
  2. What does righteousness mean to you?
  3. How do you reconcile sin with righteousness?
  4. What does judgment mean to you? 
  5. How does the Advocate influence who you are and what you do?

Discover more about judgment in Romans 2:1–10. Read about sin and righteousness in Romans 3:21–26 and Romans 6. What insights can you glean from these passages?

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Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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