The Holy Spirit–The Helper

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18). 

The Paraklētos

Keith ThomasIn the passage we are studying today, the One that the Father sends is called the Paraklētos.  This Greek Word describes the Holy Spirit and is translated in the New International Version as the Advocate [See scripture above], who will be with us forever. The English King James Version of the Bible translates Paraklētos as Comforter. The word Comforter has changed significantly since John Wycliffe first used it in the first translation of the Bible from Greek into English. William Barclay, the commentator, says:

“The word comes from the Latin fortis which means brave; and a comforter was someone who enabled some dispirited creature to be brave. Nowadays comfort has to do almost solely with sorrow; and a comforter is someone who sympathizes with us when we are sad. Beyond a doubt the Holy Spirit does that, but to limit His work to that function is sadly to belittle Him. We often talk of being able to cope with things. That is precisely the work of the Holy Spirit. He takes away our inadequacies and enables us to cope with life. The Holy Spirit substitutes victorious for defeated living.[1]

The Greek word paraklētos is found in the Bible only five times, and only in the New Testament. John’s gospel uses it four times (John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7), and it is also used once in the First Letter of John (1 John 2:1). In ancient Hellenistic texts, the word paraklētos was used to denote an advocate, but not in a professional sense as we use it today. It was used to describe a friend or patron who comes alongside a person to speak up for them when he or she is accused. When one reads the New Testament, the description of how the Holy Spirit comes alongside us is so varied that He cannot be called just an Advocate, Counselor or Comforter. One word to describe what He does limits Him in our minds. We should think of the paraklētos as our helper alongside of us, which is exactly how the New American Standard Version Bible (NASB) translates it. Now that Jesus was leaving the disciples, He comforts them by telling them about this Divine Helper. He is the One who gives us help in every situation, every trial. He is the Holy Spirit. He will give strength when we are weary (2 Corinthians 12:9). He will give insight when we are counseling someone. He will remind us of God’s promises when we are in a tight spot (John 14:26). He gives encouragement when we are weary. He will speak through us when we are hauled before the judge for being a Christian (Luke 12:11-10).

I want you to stop a moment and consider the change that came over the disciples after they opened their lives to God and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2).  Remember their demeanor at the trial of Jesus, how they were hiding in the shadows? Think of how Peter denied Jesus when confronted with the statement that he had been with Jesus. Yet now, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, we see boldness and bravery displayed. No longer are the disciples huddled together in the upper room, away from the world, searching for answers and trying to grasp what had happened. After Pentecost, they were sent back into the world. The Holy Spirit was sending them, with God’s Word, back into the world and endorsing the message by accompanying the Word with His Spirit:

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4: 29-31).

Maybe today you need the Holy Spirit to empower you and give you His grace, power and strength in the middle of whatever trial you are going through. The Bible says that we have not because we do not ask God in the midst of need. Call upon your Helper, the Holy Spirit–He wants to come and help you in whatever your need is–ask Him! If you have never turned your life over to Him, do it sincerely, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and be your Helper.

Keith Thomas

If you would like to study further the topic of the Holy Spirit, go to the Inductive and Topical Studies tab at the top of the Home Page, click the line that says, Topical Studies, when you get there, scroll down to the series at the bottom, The Holy Spirit at Work in the Believer, choose and click on any of the six free studies.

[1] The Daily Study Bible, William Barclay. The Gospel of John, Volume 2, Page 167. Printed by Saint Andrews Press.