The Holy Spirit our Helper: Parakletos

The Holy Spirit our Helper

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is our Helper. In this article we will examine what the word translated as ‘helper’ means, so that we can fully benefit from this aspect of His ministry.

John 14:16-17

:16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–
:17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Here we see Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as ‘another Helper’

This phrase in itself contains some amazingly powerful revelations of the Holy Spirit and His ministry in our lives.

Both of these words: ‘another’ and ‘Helper’ contain important truths for us.

Lets examine each word:

1) ‘Another’

There are two Greek words which to us have similar meanings and are often both translated as ‘another’ but there is a subtle difference between them which is important, especially when speaking of the Holy Spirit here.

The 2 words are:

a) ‘allos’ – which speaks of ‘another one but of the same sort / kind’

b) ‘heteros’ – which speaks of ‘another of a different sort / kind’

Chairs

Image courtesy of adamr (see photo credit below for website)

If I have a chair and I change it for ‘another’ chair, I can either get one exactly the same – and although it is still ‘another chair’, it is another one of the same kind; or I can get ‘another chair’ that is completely different.

It is still another chair but it is another one of a different kind.

In the English we use the same word ‘another’ in both instances, but in the Greek there were two words to show this subtle difference.

The first of these, allos, is the one that is used in John 14:16 in reference to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit is another of the exact same kind as me: He’ll be to you what I have been to you!

Jesus was saying that The Holy Spirit will be in your life everything He was to the disciples while on this earth, however it will be better for you because He will be in you and with you at all times.

We do not lose out by Jesus physical departure, rather we gain with the presence of the Holy Spirit with and in us now.

Just like Jesus’ disciples asked Him questions, fellowshipped with Him, looked to Him for advice and guidance, so too we can look to the Holy Spirit within.

The fact that Jesus uses the word ‘another’ means that He is sending One like Himself – a personality.

This is further proof that the Holy Spirit is a Person and not just a force or ‘thing’

We should relate to the Holy Spirit just as the disciples related to Jesus. We can learn about our relationship with the Holy Spirit by examining Jesus relationship with His disciples.

Really it is up to us how much we take advantage of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
If we learn to look to Him and lean upon Him more we will gain more from His Help. If we choose to go on with our lives without looking to Him then we will do without His Help. He won’t force Himself and His Help upon us.

There are those who have learned to look to and lean upon The Holy Spirit within and they have greatly benefited from His ministry and there are multitudes of Christians who have simply neglected Him, sometimes through ignorance of Him being with them other times simply through not taking the time to learn how to draw from and respond to Him.

On the earth, Jesus was restricted to a body. He could only be in one place at a time. The Holy Spirit can be in ALL believers at the same time.

It’s like having your own personal Jesus IN YOU!

This is therefore better than what the disciples had! We have moment by moment access to the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

2) The Helper

The second of these 2 words – Helper – begins to expand upon His ministry in our lives, bringing us to a place where we can see just how much He wants to do in, for and through us.

Many people think they don’t need any help in life.

We like to think we can do it all alone, or that we have all the tools we need to be a success in life, but in truth the evidence speaks for itself. A lot people are simply not making the success that they thought they would.

We do need help, and God has made available to us the Greatest Helper there is. What a shame it would be to go through life without drawing from His help.

The Greek Word translated ‘Helper’ in the New King James Bible is: ‘Parakletos’ which means:

‘summoned, called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid, one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defence, legal assistant, an advocate, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor, in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant, Comforter, one called alongside to help

(definitions taken from Strongs, Vincents, Thayers)

Really ‘Helper’ is a good word which sums up all of these. Each of these things is help. The Holy Spirit is called alongside us to help us.

We have already seen that the Holy Spirit is ‘another’ Helper to us.

Jesus is also (still) our Helper, and this same word ‘parakletos’ is used in reference to Jesus ministry toward us now:

1 John 2:1-2

:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Speaking in reference to Jesus, The word ‘Parakletos’ is used here in the Greek, translated as ‘Advocate’

Right now, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20) where He is taking up to role of our ‘Parakletos’ before the Father. He is helping is in heaven, speaking up for us before the Throne of God, like a legal assistant or advocate speaks up in a persons defence.

Notice that 1 John 1:1 tells us that ‘if’ we sin we have an Advocate.

Most people think that when they sin is when God turns away from us and keeps us at a distance and as a result we keep our distance from Him in guilt. But God has provided us with an Advocate in heaven who speaks up FOR us (not against us) when we sin.

He points to His shed blood and speaks in our defence, gaining our forgiveness, so that when we come before the Father and confess our sins (1 John 1:9) Jesus has already secured forgiveness.

This is not an excuse to sin more (because He says that these things are written so that we may not sin – 1 John 1:1), rather an encouragement to know that even when we do miss it, there is guaranteed forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with God.

So we have 2 ‘Parakletos’: Jesus in heaven at the right hand the Throne of God, and the Holy Spirit down here with and in us.

What more could we hope for? God has gone the full distance for us and provided us with all the Help we need to be a success. Just as Jesus promised, He has not left us alone in this Christian walk.

It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is our ‘Helper’. He provides us with help. In other words He does not do everything for us, He helps us to do things.

If I asked you to come and help me move a table, then I stood by and watched you do it, you would not be helping me move it, instead you would be doing all the moving! No to be helping me, I would have to be lifting as well and you helping or assisting me to do it.

The Holy Spirit comes alongside to help.

He helps us in spiritual things, like prayer, our relationship with God, preaching etc; but He also helps us with natural things. We can learn to lean on His help in our jobs and our families – with everything we do we can learn to lean upon His Help and have His input, giving us an advantage over circumstances and what we face, enabling us to come out on top of life.

Once again it comes down to how much of His help you are willing to draw from, or whether you simply neglect and ignore the Helper within and try to get by on your own resources and wisdom.

The depth of the meaning of Parakletos:

The Amplified Bible brings out what we call ’the seven fold meaning’ of this word Parakletos used in John 14:16

‘Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby’
It is well worth the time to look into what each of these words means to us, as it will help us get a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives.

1) Comforter

The Word ‘Comfort’ speaks of giving strength or support in times of pain or distress, to relieve from depression or trouble, to console or encourage.

People need comfort when they are going through hard times, feeling lonely or afraid, when they have had a great loss – like the death of a loved one etc.

There are times when we all need comfort, and long for someone who will come alongside us, put an arm around us and comfort us in our pain and distress.

The good news is that even when there is no one else to comfort us, we have the Holy Spirit within and if we look to Him we will find that He brings words of comfort and encouragement to us. He is the best comforter there is and knows the right things to say at the right time.

2 Corinthians 2:3-4

:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
:4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Notice that comfort is something we need in times of tribulation (trouble, pressure, anguish or persecution).

We serve the God of all comfort! God is not One who stands off in the distance, unmoved and unaffected by our pains and troubles. He is not a God who just leaves us to fend for ourselves, not understanding or even caring about the pains we go through in life. Instead He brings comfort, strength and encouragement to us through these times.

Acts 9:31

:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

There is a comfort of the Holy Spirit that we can walk in, bringing peace and edification to our lives and churches.

2) Counsellor

To counsel someone means to give advice or instruction, helping to direct a person in what to do or to make the correct choices.

Proverbs 12:15

:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

We all need counsel but a fool thinks he can get through life without any advice, counsel or input from other people.

A wise person sees his need for counsel and benefits from it, making him a better person and enabling him to make the right choices in life.

Sometimes there are things we are saying or doing that are hindering our lives, hindering our relationships and we cannot see the effect of what we are saying or doing. Someone else can see it and if we would listen to their advice it can help us begin to progress in areas that we have been hindered in.

Proverbs 11:14

:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Many people are stumbling in life because they are not getting input, counsel and advice from others.

Often pride will keep a person from listening to counsel and advice. We as humans like to think we have it all together or that we know it all, but that kind of thinking will hinder you. There is always something we can learn from the input and advice of others.

We also have access to more than just human counsel. We have the Holy Spirit, who is our Counsellor, living within us.

We can learn to listen to Him and take His advice and counsel at anytime and in all circumstances. He always knows the right thing to do or say. He knows the correct changes that are needed, and is willing to share with us if we will look to Him.

He is not just going to speak out loud above all the other things we listen to in life, rather we have to learn to quiet ourselves and take the time to listen. If we are not getting His counsel it is because we are not looking to Him. He can show us the right choices to make in every situation that will make us a success and bring us out on top.

Isaiah 11:2

:2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

The Spirit of the Lord IS the Spirit of counsel.

He is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Just like he came upon Jesus, He is also given to us today to live within us and give us access to these tremendous resources that He has. God gave Him to us to benefit us because He wanted us to have His wisdom, knowledge, understanding and counsel available to our lives.

Psalm 16:7

:7 I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

3) Helper

As mentioned previously, everything the Holy Spirit does for us helps us in some way or other.

We could spend hours just talking about what He can and will do to help us. To help is to aid or assist. Once again we all need help, and can greatly benefit from the help of the Holy Spirit every day.

Romans 8:26

:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Here we see the Holy Spirit helps us in prayer.

From other scriptures we know that He helps us by bringing the Word to our remembrance and by leading us.

4) Intercessor, Advocate, Standby

An intercessor mediates between 2 parties, in this case the Holy Spirit intercedes between God and us.

An Advocate is one who speaks up on the behalf of another. They defend another by argument. It is a legal term used in court. The Holy Spirit speaks up for us and defends the work Jesus did on the cross, defending our right for forgiveness and cleansing by the blood of Jesus.

This works with Jesus role before the Father’s Throne on our behalf. The Holy Spirit stands by us.

5) Strengthener

To strengthen is to add strength or make stronger. There are times each of us feels week and needs a boost of strength. Often just getting physical strength is not enough, we need inner strength. People get worn down and worn out on the inside. Our spirits need strengthening, our emotions need strengthening. The Holy Spirit is our Strengthener – He is a tremendous source of strength in our lives.

Ephesians 3:16

:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

I encourage you to learn more and more about the Holy Spirit and His ministry in your life. Learn to draw from Him. Don’t just ignore Him and His input into your life.

What he has to offer you is more valuable than anything you can come up with yourself. He has amazing resources of truth, wisdom, help, counsel, strength etc that you can benefit from very day of your life if you will draw from Him.

Become more aware of His indwelling presence and learn to look to Him for the HElp He provides you each day

This article, along with others by the same author can be found at www.exceedingfaith.com

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Images courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

(C) 2008 Exceeding Faith Ministries International & O. Walton.

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