The Witness of the Spirit

Romans 8:16

Principle for Bible Reading

The Holy Spirit has a massive role in Romans 8, and in the rest of the Bible, but he is often overlooked. In this lab, John Piper highlights the work of the Holy Spirit, specifically three ways he testifies that we are the children of God.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–00:37)

Three Ways the Spirit Testifies (00:37–08:51)

God has given us a Spirit of adoption, not a spirit of slavery (Romans 8:15). Paul puts a name on that Spirit in Romans 8:16.

  1. The first way the Spirit testifies that you are a child of God is a heartfelt cry to a Father (Romans 8:15).
  2. The second way the Spirit testifies that you are a child of God is a hatred in our hearts for our sin and a desire to kill it (Romans 8:13).
  3. The third way the Spirit testifies that you are a child of God is by highlighting the centrality and sufficiency of Jesus (John 15:26).

Study Questions

  1. What does “testify” mean? Step back and define the work of testifying before you narrow in specifically on how the Spirit testifies. What’s another example of testifying, and how does it work?
  2. Looking back on the last few verses in Romans 8, how does the Spirit testify that we are children of God? What specific ways does he work to show that we are God’s?
  3. Read John 15:26. Does that help you define the Spirit’s work in Romans 8? Reread Romans 8:1–4. Do you read it differently after reading John 15:26?
Piper: “The Spirit’s witness is not a whisper in your ear, but a changed heart and a changed life.”

‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series

This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit this page to see all the labs in this series.