It is easy to become so involved with scripture study that we forget the nature of its true origin. Dissecting the words and phrases of the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts can help enlighten us as to the depth and multifaceted meaning of a particular passage but it can also cause us to lose sight of it’s most important aspect: the inspiration and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
Another facet of bible study can cause confusion. It is the different times that things were written down. Scholars will argue about whether Mark or Matthew was the first Gospel to be put in writing. It is agreed that the Gospel of John, not the book of Revelation which he also wrote, was the last book to be written, somewhere around the end of the first century. Then there are those “other” gospels of Peter, Thomas and Mary Magdalene that were excluded. Why?
It wasn’t until the fourth century, roughly 350 years after the Paschal Mystery and Christ’s Ascension to heaven, that the list of books was finally determined. There was more than one criteria including authenticity and elements of contradiction to the Truth that helped Church leaders make the decision but the one element that was the umbrella over the whole process was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus tells the Apostles in today’s Gospel that the Holy Spirit “will remind you of all that I told you,” how can we be certain those were His exact words? John wrote his Gospel some 70 years after Christ’s resurrection. Can we trust his memory? Yes, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised to remain with us till the end of time. He promised that the Church would prevail to the end of time. He promised that the Holy Spirit would remain with the Church and protect her and guide her till the end of time. If we trust Jesus—and we should—then the Holy Spirit is with us always, sanctifying and teaching us through the Church.