Prepositions (3)

This is the third and final article considering some of the meaningful, “simple” prepositions used in our New Testament. Having looked previously at the opening of John’s Gospel let us turn to chapter fourteen, the upper room, where the Lord is teaching his disciples. We will consider the preposition “with,” in verses 17 and 23. Remember, all our prepositions are understood as being related to the object which we are comparing to an imagined “house,” and the three rules for interpretation of simple prepositions are: find the meaning of the word; know the case construction with which it is used, and learn the context where it is used.

There are some beautiful and important relationships expressed using the word “with” in these verses. Note first in verse 17; “The Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye (the object or “the house”), know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Generally we would consider this to say, the Holy Spirit comes alongside for a particular reason. The dative case here and in this section does indicate location, but “with” expresses the idea of an evident presence alongside, a relationship, an association which remains. This verse also reveals the Spirit as indwelling believers in this dispensation. Does this not bear out the wondrous condescending grace and character of the Spirit of God? He is thus the constant companion, security, and seal of believers.

In verse 23, we read of those who receive and walk in the truth of the Lord’s word (His “Words” being the object or the “house”), thus accepting them as divine and succeeding or fulfilling the law and the prophets. When the Spirit of God, the author of truth, is with and in one (the house) the Father and Son are likewise “with” alongside in presence and association. The word “abode” in this verse indicates the believer is a mansion (same word as Jn 14:2) fit for God’s presence. What amazing reality! May it ever fill our hearts with wonder and reverence and provoke us to a deeper knowledge of His person.

When the preposition “with” is used with an accusative, which relates to the object of the sentence (the house), the idea seems more to indicate reclining or at rest. An example of this is Luke 8:12. The seed is not beside the way but resting on the path. I mention this to caution that one cannot apply the same meaning on every occasion the preposition is used. Each must be kept with its case and context. My efforts in these writings are only intended to provoke brethren and sisters to thoughtful study of the treasure of the word of our great God. I do not pretend to know this expressive language with which holy Scripture was written, but it does command our diligence and is rewarding for every student.

Now to Him who loved us, gave us
Every pledge that love could give,
Freely shed His blood to save us,
Gave His life that we may live,
Be the kingdom and dominion
And the glory evermore.