John 16:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 16:25, NIV: "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father."

John 16:25, ESV: "“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father."

John 16:25, KJV: "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father."

John 16:25, NASB: "'These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father."

John 16:25, NLT: "'I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father."

John 16:25, CSB: ""I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father."

What does John 16:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Teachers, especially for the young, know that stories and songs often serve as better teaching tools than a simple lecture. Rather than digging into technical terms or abstractions, they're an easier way to connect a person to broad ideas. However, good teachers also know that those stories and songs need to be explained, in the right context, in order to be applied correctly (Mark 4:34).

For the same reason, much of what Jesus has taught the disciples has come in the form of parables. He is preparing them for His impending death and resurrection (John 18:1–3; 19:18; 20:19)—part of that includes some last-minute teaching (John 16:4). However, the way Jesus has spoken over their long discipleship has also been a way of preparing them. Using parables also deflects those who aren't really interested in the truth, anyway (Matthew 13:13).

Another reason Christ taught using parables was His knowledge that some of those ideas would not be understood prior to His resurrection. After He is raised from the dead, many of these seemingly obscure stories will make sense (John 2:22; 6:60). At that time, when all these various predictions have been fulfilled, He will speak with these men in direct, plain language. Then, they will be ready to accept what He says without confusion, partly due to the influence of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12–13; 1 Corinthians 2:14–16).

This approach is echoed in a movie scene which is referenced often in American culture. In the film, a mentor promises to teach a bullied teen self-defense. But first, the boy is forced to perform menial tasks. Each chore involves repetitive, monotonous movements. Eventually, the boy is frustrated and demands to know when he'll begin learning. The mentor responds by dramatically demonstrating the purpose of his methods. He reveals that those chore-related movements were all components of self-defense techniques. The boy needed to absorb the movements, in general, before he was ready to fully understand and apply them, in combination. Jesus' parables were much less obscure, but still required time and perspective before they could be fully grasped.