Musings of a Servant

Archie Miller, D.Min.




Committed to Excellence in Communicating Biblical Truth and it’s Application!

Council for the Defense

John 14:16 (Douay-Rheims Bible}

And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever.

 Compare this text in various translations, and you will usually see “helper,” or “comforter.” It is only when we examine this word parakletos  in detail that we catch something of the riches of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It really means someone who is called in; but it is the reason why the person is called in which gives the word its distinctive associations.   In First John 2:1 Christ is called our Advocate (parakletos) as He pleads our case with God.

The Greeks used the word in a wide variety of ways.

A parakletos might be an advocate called in to plead the cause of someone under a charge which would issue in serious penalty.

A parakletos might be a person called in to give witness in a law court in someone's favor.

A parakletos might be an expert called in to give advice in some difficult situation.

A parakletos might be a person called in when, for example, a company of soldiers were depressed and dispirited to put new courage into their minds and hearts, like military chaplains.

Always a parakletos is someone called in to help in time of trouble or need.

Why Comforter?

Comforter was once a perfectly good translation. It actually goes back to Wycliffe, the first person to use it. But in his day it meant much more than it means now. The word comes from the Latin fortis which means brave; and a comforter was someone who enabled some dispirited person 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.

How do we apply it?

We often talk of being able to cope with things.

The word takes on fresh vibrancy  when we know that John calls Christ our “Advocate..”  The advocacy of Christ and the advocacy of the Holy Spirit are mutually compatible, defending us from the Evil One, and equipping us to live for Christ.  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.

So what Jesus is saying is: Think about that company of soldiers who are dispirited.  Our Lord says: "I am setting you a hard task, and I am sending you out on a very difficult engagement. But I am going to send you someone, the parakletos, who will guide you as to what to do and enable you to do it."

Shall we make Him known to Orcutt?