John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.
The Greek word for the Spirit in verse 16 is “Paraclete.” What does being a Paraclete mean? The various translations give us numerous options. The ESV has, “Helper.” “Helper” brings to my mind God’s recognition in Genesis 2, that Adam has no one to help him and proceeds to create Eve who is to be “a helper fit for him.”
Other translations use “Advocate” to describe the Spirit whom the Father will send in Jesus name. “Advocate,” carries something a judicial meaning. Someone to speak in our favor, to plead our cause, to defend us.
The NIV and RSV use the term “Counselor” which emphasizes the meaning of “Advisor.” “Comforter” is the choice of the King James Bible. The German Bible has Troster, meaning comforter who offers consolation.
So which is it?
When I asked that question in Bible Class, some chose Advocate, others helper, still someone liked counselor or comforter. All of those names relate to some aspect of what it means to be Paraclete.
I like the Common English Bible, “Companion.”
The Holy Spirit is one called upon to walk with us as a companion who helps us, counsels comforts, defends us speaking in our favor, because we are one who believes in Jesus Christ and thus receives his blessings of forgiveness, and salvation.
There is yet another matter which I noticed for the first time. Who is the other Paraclete Jesus is referring to in the passage above? He’s referring to himself. In I john 2:1 we read, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Jesus is the first Paraclete who walked alongside his disciples. Now Jesus is leaving for a while. He promises he will not leave them as orphans. He will ask the Father who will send another Companion, the Holy Spirit.