Jesus says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” ~ John 14:16-17
We can see clearly that Jesus believed in what many people call the “Trinity” or “Godhead”, Romans 1:20. This view of God’s nature did not originate solely with the Apostle Paul, but as Jesus proclaimed his Messiahship and Deity to his disciples, he was not vague in the three-fold nature of God’s triune being. The Spirit of Truth was often referred to by Jesus as “the Comforter”, which comes from the Greek word παράκλητος (paraklētos). Finding an appropriate English translation for παράκλητος is a difficult task. No single English word has exactly the same range of meaning as the Greek word. “Comforter,” used by some of the older English versions, and it seems to be as old as the 14th century and used by Wycliffe. But today it can too easily suggest a sympathetic mourner at a funeral. “Counselor” is adequate, but broad, in contexts like “marriage counselor” or “camp counselor.” “Helper” or “Assistant” could also be used, but could awkwardly suggest a subordinate rank. “Advocate,” which is the word used in a few versions of the Bible, has more forensic overtones than the Greek word does, although in John 16:5-11 a forensic context is certainly present. Because an “advocate” is someone who “advocates” or supports a position or viewpoint and since this is what the “Parakletos” will do miraculously for the Apostles, it was selected. There is no conflict between these different English words, because overall, God Himself in Jesus was primarily a Servant! God has always been a type of comforting Helper for his children throughout history, see Exodus 18:4 & 1st Samuel 7:12 & Psalm 10:14, 54:4.
So this often used word, leads us to question what type of Comforter is the Holy Spirit? Within the New Testament we can learn the answer;
- He is a Spiritual Comforter for our soul, because Jesus calls him the Spirit of Truth, John 14:16. The emphasis is on our spiritual needs, not our physical needs.
- He is a Truthful Comforter for our mind, because of the same reason, Jesus gives us divine life giving truths that can defeat any deceit, helping us bring every thought under control, 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5.
- He is a Close Comforter for our everyday living, because Jesus says “He abides with you and will be in you”, Jn. 14:17, notice the present & future tense of his phrase. This came into reality for all disciples becoming Christians during the birth of the Church in Acts 2:37-39.
- He is a Consistent Comforter, because he is always able to help us testify of Jesus and/or glorify Christ, see John 14:26, 15:26 & 16:14.
- He is a Teaching Comforter, because Jesus says to the Apostles, “He will teach you all things”, Jn. 14:26. The Apostles gave us a living message, writing down what He taught them, and also describing what he showed them in their ministries, so we can learn the same lessons. These truths from the Spirit of truth, are all sufficient for anyone’s salvation, godliness and ability to grow in the grace & knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2nd Peter 1:3-4. How could anyone ask for more comfort than this? Who would dare think they deserve any more from God than what we already have in Christ?
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