What does it mean that the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete?

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Jesus taught the disciples during His earthly ministry. But before His crucifixion, He told them that He would be leaving and promised them, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:16–17).

Jesus assured His disciples that the Spirit of God – the third person of the Godhead -would be sent from the Father to take His place. When the Holy Spirit was poured at Pentecost (Acts 2), He was given to empower the believers to spread the truth as Jesus promised. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The word comforter (Gr. Paraklētos), is a word used in the NT only by John (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1). It consists of the preposition para, meaning, “beside,” and the adjective klētos, which means “one called.” Hence, the literal meaning is “one called to the side of.”

The verb parakaleō, though translated “to comfort” 23 times in the NT, means also “exhort” 19 times. To call the Holy Spirit a “Comforter” is to stress only one facet of His ministry. For He is also an “Exhorter.” To exhort is the prominent facet of the ministry of the Spirit as given by John (John 16:8).

Elsewhere in pre-Christian and non-Christian literature, paraklētos have the more general meaning of “one who stands up in behalf of another,” “a mediator,” “an intercessor,” and “a helper.”

The Scriptures teach the multi facet ministry of the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit will teach and “bring all things to … remembrance” (John 14:26). He will testify of Christ (John 15:26). He will “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). He will guide into all truth (John. 16:13). He will glorify Christ and receive from Him and impart to the disciples (John 16:14). He will comfort the believers (John 14:16). He will inspire God’s people (2 Peter 1:21). He will witness to the believers (Hebrews 10:15). And He will intercede for God’s children (Romans 8:27).

Thus, the Holy Spirit ministers in the believers’ hearts as their Paraclete—Comforter, Guide, Advocate, Exhorter, Intercessor, and Counselor. And He will stay till the end of time, fulfilling Jesus’ words “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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