Teacher’s Overview: Lifeway “Explore the Bible” John 14:16-29 “Peace I Leave”

A brief overview for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of John 14: 16-29 for Sunday, March 26, 2023, with the title, “Peace I Leave.”

A video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:

SAMPLE INTRODUCTION: Ask your group:??? When you think of the Holy Spirit, what comes to your mind???

(EXAMPLES: A picture of a dove; “goosebumps”; speaking in tongues; conviction of sin ….)

Then say: in today’s lesson, Jesus helps His disciples prepare for His departure, by sharing about the coming of the Holy Spirit, who will help them.

OR: you might begin by asking your group: ??? Of the Persons of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) which do you feel you are closest to/relate most closely to???

(I might say to ME, it is God the Father. Jesus is my Lord, the Holy Spirit convicts and leads me, but I feel like I am praying to, and most closely worshiping, God the Father. 

You/others may share your responses, and open the time just talking about that.

THEN say: we see the doctrine of the Trinity taught in several places in today’s passage. 


Jesus is continuing to speak to His disciples after He told them that He was leaving, and that He was the only Way to the Father. They’ve continued to ask Him questions:

(You could almost do a lesson on: “The Questions of the Disciples” from John 13-14:

  • 13:36 Peter asks Him: “Lord, where are You going?”
  • 13:37 Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now?”
  • 14:5 Thomas asks Him: “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how can we know the way?”
  • 14:8 (not exactly a question, but basically is) “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”
  • 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said: “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”

??? If you haven’t done it before/recently, you could start this section by asking: “If you could ask Jesus one question, what would it be?” (Some us used a similar question a week or two ago, so that probably wouldn’t work for you if you did)

But the point here is, Jesus has told His disciples that He is going to be leaving, and they are struggling with their response to that news, asking Him questions, and working through it.

THAT is the context for our lesson in John 14:16-29 this week.

I. The Doctrine of the Trinity

II. The Person of the Holy Spirit

III. The Work of the Holy Spirit (especially His peace)

I. The Doctrine of the Trinity

Notice the Presence of the TRINITY in several of these verses, including our first verse here:

— :16 (as =) “I, (JESUS) will ask the FATHER to give another HELPER (the Holy Spirit).” All 3 Persons are present in this verse.

—:26 “the Helper, the HOLY SPIRIT, whom the FATHER will send in MY (JESUS’) name …”. Again, all three Persons are present in this verse.

So I would spend some time on the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Trinity is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith. It separates Christianity from every other religion in the world. Many religions believe in some kind of “god.” But only Christians believe in the Trinity. And we do on the basis of God’s word.

The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is ONE GOD, who exists ETERNALLY as THREE PERSONS: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It is important that we understand each of these aspects:

— There is ONE GOD. We believe what Deuteronomy 6:4 says: “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is ONE.” ONE GOD.

When my sister went to China as a Journeyman missionary years ago to teach English at a school there, she was told she could not bring up religious topics — but if the students asked a question about religious things, she could answer it. So one day in class my sister was teaching a point on English grammar, when a Chinese student raised her hand and said: “Can you tell me about America and your three gods?” Of course she was talking about the Trinity! And it gave my sister the opportunity to share all about Christianity, which is of course her motivation to be there!  But one thing she made clear — and that WE should always make clear — is that we do NOT worship “three Gods”. We are “monotheists” — we believe in ONE GOD.

— But the Bible also teaches us that this one God exists eternally in THREE distinct PERSONS: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

CHART: You might find this helpful, to show or pass out to your class: it shows how each person is distinct, yet God.

They are THREE, and yet they are ONE. That is the mystery of the Trinity.  

How do we illustrate that? Some illustrations I have heard regarding the Trinity are just NOT helpful, for example: I’ve heard people say: “The Trinity is just three different names for God, just like my wife calls me ‘husband,’ my kids call me ‘dad,’ and my grandkids call me ‘Papa,’ yet I am still just one person.”  Well, NO, that is NOT a good illustration, because the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one, yet they are three distinct Persons. 

Look at :16: Jesus says “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper.” Jesus is asking the Father. He is not asking “himself.” He is speaking to another Person. And there are many instances in the scriptures like that. 

One of the errant teachings of the Trinity is what theologians call “modalism,” that there is just one God, who appears at different times in different ways, i.e, that He was the Father in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New Testament, and the Holy Spirit after Jesus left. 

Perhaps you can think of a scripture that contradicts that?
(Matthew 3, in the baptism of Jesus: there Jesus was being baptized, the Holy Spirit came down like a dove, and the voice of the Father came from heaven. ALL THREE WERE PRESENT AT THE SAME PLACE, AT THE SAME TIME.) 

So “modalism” is not an adequate explanation of the Trinity. They are three separate Persons, yet somehow still One God.  

Probably the best illustration of the Trinity I have come across is from one of THE best books I have ever read, Nabeel Qurishi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” — the testimony of a young man brought up in the Islamic faith, who is gradually won to Jesus. The process of his coming to faith is an amazing story; it shows us what speaks to people who are lost and what helps bring them to Jesus. At one point in his story, Qurishi is struggling with the doctrine of the Trinity, which Muslims reject as foolish. He writes of a time when he was sitting in a science class in college:

“We were studying resonance, the configuration of electrons in certain molecules. … Different arrangements of the electrons in certain molecules are called ‘resonance structures.’ Some molecules, like water, have no resonance while others have three resonance structures or more, like the nitrate on the board. …

Mrs. Adamski concluded her lesson by commenting, ‘These drawings are just the best way to represent resonance structures on paper, but it’s actually much more complicated. Technically, a molecule with resonance is every one of its structures at every point in time, yet no single one of its structures at any point in time.’ 

The rest of the class must have had the same expressions on their faces that I did because Mrs. Adamski repeated herself. ‘It’s all the structures all the time, never just one of them.’ …

It appeared I was the only one still thinking about the bomb she had just dropped.

How could something be many things at once? Many different things? …

My eyes rested on the three separate structures of nitrate on the wall, my mind assembling the pieces. One molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them. The three are separate but all the same, and they are one. They are three in one.

That’s when it clicked: if there are things in this world that can be three in one, even incomprehensibly so, then why cannot God?”

(Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, pp. 194-196)

I would emphasize: NO physical illustration perfectly illustrates the Trinity of God, but Qureshi’s testimony is a good one, and you might want to use it (even if like me, you don’t totally understand it!

If you don’t use the question about “Which Person of the Trinity do you feel like you relate most closely to, and why?”, in the introduction, you could do that here, for some class discussion.

II. The Person of the Holy Spirit

Not only do we see the doctrine of the Trinity taught here, Jesus gives us a special emphasis on the Person of the Holy Spirit.

He says: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another HELPER, that He may be with you forever.”

— “Helper” here is the Greek word “parakletos”. Maybe you’ve heard the Holy Spirit called the “Paraclete,” that comes from this word.  The Greek word, “parakaleo”, literally means, “along side” (para), “to call” (kaleo.) It is the picture of one who is “running alongside, calling out” words of help or encouragement.

This calls up a number of life pictures or illustrations:

— When my boys were in track, I would station myself at some point on the track, and when they came around the track to that point, I would run alongside side for as long as I could, calling out words of encouragement, to do their best, or to remember some strategy about the race, or “now is the time to kick it in,” etc.

— In football games, you’ve seen coaches who have a player who is running down the sideline with the ball, and the coach is running alongside them down that sideline, just hollering out words of encouragement to them to “Go! Go! Go!”

You may have a personal illustration like that, which you can use. 

But THIS is the picture of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives us here. He is God in us, who is in a sense, “running alongside us,” encouraging and instructing us.

That word “paraklete” can be translated “helper, encourager, comforter, Intercessor.” He is one “running alongside,” helping and encouraging us as we run the Christian race. 

Verse 17 Jesus explains more about Him:

— whom the world cannot receive (He is only for Christians)

— He abides with you and will be IN you (this is the big difference!)

??? When does He come in???

— He came for the first time at Pentecost in Acts 2. 

— Since then, He comes whenever a person receives Jesus as their Lord & Savior.  Ephesians 1:13 = “You also, after listening to the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed in Him, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” The moment you believe, He comes into your life. 

— And notice the word: “HE”! The Holy Spirit is a PERSON. He is not an “it.” 

Mahatma said God like a “force,” like “the force” of Star Wars.

But the Holy Spirit is not a “force,” He is a PERSON. 

— You grieve a Person (Eph. 4:30 “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …” 


— :16 shows the Spirit is a SEPARATE PERSON:  “another” helper: Greek word is “allon” = “another of the same kind.” So He is of the “the same kind” as Jesus, but He is a separate Person.

— Several verses indicate He & Jesus are ONE:

:17 Jesus = this Spirit “abides with you” NOW! (But He will be IN them) 

:20 “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” It is the Holy Spirit in us, but He and Jesus as one. 

:23 Jesus = “WE will come to him and make OUR abode with him.” 

So John 14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit and Jesus are somehow separate, and somehow one, just as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches.  And what does He do? We see this in our next section:

III. The WORK of the Holy Spirit

:26+ What things do we see here that Jesus says the Holy Spirit will do for us:

— :26 “He will teach you all things”

+x I John 2:26-27 “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teachers you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 

Now, let’s be clear: this does NOT mean that we don’t need teachers in the church. Ephesians 4 says GOD gave “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors AND TEACHERS.” We see the gift of teaching listed in Romans 12. So teachers are a Biblical thing. 

But it is God’s Holy Spirit who is the ultimate teacher. Have you ever wondered: Why did that certain lesson, or scripture, stay with you?

??? IN fact, you might share with your class here, is a scripture that all of the sudden just hit you hard or came alive to you, or a lesson that you remember from many years ago, that still impacts you today — and ASK THEM: what is one that has stuck with YOU from years ago??? (We all have those we can share.)

I used to wonder: WHY do certain things stay with us, and some things do not? And what can we do as teachers to make them “stick” with the people we are teaching? 

Well, the Bible tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things. It is HIS work that makes something really “stick” in us. If you want something to “stick,” then PRAY for God’s Spirit to impact your people’s lives with it! HE is the ultimate Teacher, who impacts our lives with the truth of God’s word. 

— :26 “bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”

This tells us something about the inspiration of the New Testament. How did the disciples remember all these things, to write them down? How do we know they got it right? Jesus says here that the Holy Spirit would help them remember. 

+x II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God …”. HE brought these things to remembrance in them.

— :27 (implied) “Peace I leave with you”

??? What all do we learn about peace from this verse???

— Jesus gives us to us (“Peace I leave with you/I give to you”)

— It is different from the peace the world gives (“not as the world gives”)

— It is something that WE have to take some responsibility for: “Do not LET your heart be troubled, not LET it be fearful.”

Too many times we allow troubled thoughts to just STAY in our heads. We need to chase those out with scriptures, and Christian songs, and truths, and lean hard on the Lord. But we have a responsibility. We can’t just sit there and let those things dwell in us. We have to not LET our hearts be troubled, and we have to purposefully TRUST Jesus, that what He said, He will do!  

+x Philippians 4:6 is a great cross-reference here: “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God — and the PEACE of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And then he goes on to say in the next verses: you have the responsibility to make your mind dwell on what true, and honorable and right, and so on. We can’t just LET these things continue to “tumble around” in our minds like we so often let them do. “Take your thoughts captive” with better things – especially the promises of the Lord, and He will give you peace.

But He will do that, He said, through His Holy Spirit, who would be with us, and IN us, just like He showed us here in John 14.  

Just as a sidenote: :28 may be very applicable to some of us, regarding our friends and relatives who have gone to be with the Lord: “If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father …”.

I can’t remember who used the illustration, of a village of impoverished orphans in Africa, who suddenly see one of their number snatched away from them and taken away. They mourn for them, and think, how sad that they are taken away! Little knowing that their friend was adopted by a rich family in the United States, and will live a far, far better life than they have ever known before. 

Of course, THAT is the picture of death for the Christian, isn’t it? We are being taken by the Lord to a far, FAR, better place! So Jesus says here our attitude should be: “If you loved Me (or that loved one) you would have rejoiced, because they go to the Father.”  This is yet another reason we can have peace, in what the world might call the worst of times.

— If you’ll put your email in the “Subscribe” box on the home page of this blog, WordPress will automatically send you next week’s overview and you won’t have to search for it.

— And if you write something in the Comments below, I’ll be sure to pray for your and your group by name this week.

Per my licensing agreement with Lifeway:

– These weekly lessons are based on content from Explore the Bible Adult Resources. The presentation is my own and has not been reviewed by Lifeway.

– Lifeway resources are available at: goExploretheBible.com  and: goexplorethebible.com/adults-training

– If you have questions about Explore the Bible resources you may send emails to explorethebible@lifeway.com

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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1 Response to Teacher’s Overview: Lifeway “Explore the Bible” John 14:16-29 “Peace I Leave”

  1. Lynda Mitchell says:

    Thanks again for your lesson helps and illustrations. The chart on the Trinity is helpful. I always appreciate your help and your prayers as I teach this lesson next week.

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