John 14:16, 26 - “Comforter, Advocate, Helper, Counselor, Companion or Friend”?
John 14:26 KJB - “But THE COMFORTER, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things”
NIV (NRSV, NASB, NET) - “ But THE ADVOCATE, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
ESV (NKJV, ISV) - “But THE HELPER, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Holman Standard (RSV) - “But THE COUNSELOR, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”
Common English Bible 2011 - “The COMPANION, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.
The Message (The Voice) - “The FRIEND, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you.”
The Concordant Version 2006 - “Now THE CONSOLER, the holy spirit, which the Father will be sending in My name, that will be teaching you all, and reminding you of all that I said to you.”
A friend writes: “Hi Will. Some modern critics have stated that the translation for the Holy Spirit as the 'Comforter' (John 14:26 e.g.) is a poor translation. New versions say Helper or Counselor. One person said is should have been translated 'Advocate.' Have you written anything on this? God bless, Ron”
King James Bible critics are a pretty amazing group of fellas. Not one of them actually believes that ANY Bible in any language is the inerrant and 100% true words of God.
And each of them seems to think that he is some kind of expert who is capable of basically writing his own bible version. They have made themselves their own little “final authority”. And Oh, how they love to criticize and correct this one Book among books - the King James Bible.
These self appointed Bible critics seem really desperate to find just “SOMETHING” that is wrong with God’s Book; so they throw all kinds of stuff at the wall, in the hopes that something will stick.
More often than not, they end up looking like ignorant fools.
In any event, those who suggest that the King James Bible translation of this Greek word as COMFORTER is in any way wrong or inferior or poorly translated have absolutely NO clue what they are talking about, as we shall soon see.
The Greek word in question here has two noun forms and one very common verb form. One noun form is parakleesis and means “comfort” (6 times), “consolation” (15 times), and can even be translated as “exhortation” (7 times).
The NIV itself translates it as COMFORT 8 times. The NASB as COMFORT 13 times. And the ESV has it as COMFORT 10 times.
The other noun, and the one in question here in John 14:26, is parakleetos (ο παρακλητος). It is found 5 times in the Greek texts and is translated in the King James Bible, and in MANY others as well, as “COMFORTER” (4 times) and as “Advocate”, one time in 1 John 2:1 “we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The reason it is translated as "ADVOCATE" in 1 John 2:1 is because it fits the context of the subject matter there. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father. Jesus Christ the righteous."
When we sin, we are in need of an Advocate, to come to our defense and plead His righteousness in our behalf.
Then we have the verb form of this word - parakaleo. This word is used about 110 times and has such diverse meanings as “to COMFORT” (24 times), “ to exhort”, “to beseech” and “besought”.
The NIV translates it as TO COMFORT” 10 times.
The NASB as TO COMFORT 18 times.
And the ESV 14 times.
Matthew 5:4 - "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be COMFORTED", Luke 16:25 “but now he is COMFORTED here, and you are in anguish.” (ESV)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all COMFORT, who COMFORTS us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able TO COMFORT those who are in any affliction, with THE COMFORT with which we ourselves are COMFORTED by God.” (ESV 2011)
The particular word we are looking at here in John 14:26 and translated in the KJB as COMFORTER is ο παρακλητος.
All the references to THE COMFORTER are found in the gospel of John. John 14:16 “he shall give you another COMFORTER”; 14:26; 15:26 -“when THE COMFORTER is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father” and 16:7 - “for if I go not away, THE COMFORTER will not come unto you”
Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon tells us the word Parakleetos (παρακλητος) means “the Helper, the COMFORTER.”
Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words tells us concerning the word Parakleetos (παρακλητος) that “It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defence, an advocate, as in 1 John 2:1. In the widest sense, it signifies a succorer, COMFORTER, when speaking of the Holy Spirit, John 14:16, 26; 15:26, 16:7. He calls Him “the COMFORTER”.
Not only does the King James Bible correctly refer to the Holy Ghost as THE COMFORTER in places like John 14:16, 26; 15:26 and 16:7, but so do the following Bible translations -
Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, The Beza N.T. 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Worsley Version 1770, Thomas Haweis N.T 1795, The Revised Translation 1815, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Longman Version 1841, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Revised N.T. 1862, the Noyes Translation 1869, The Alford N.T. 1870, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Sharpe Bible 1883, Darby 1890, Young’s 1898, the Revised Version 1885, the ASV 1901, Godbey N.T 1902, The Clarke N.T. 1913, the Living Bible 1971, Amplified Bible 1987, The Word of Yah 1993, KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Lawrie Translation 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, The Tomson New Testament 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, Bond Slave Version 2009, Jubilee Bible 2010, The New European Version 2010 and The Far Above All Translation 2011.
Foreign Language Bibles Likewise translating this Greek word as COMFORTER are the Spanish Reina Valera 1909 - 1995, and the NIV Spanish Version, Nueva Versión Internacional 1999 - “Pero el Consolador, el Espíritu Santo”, the French Louis Second - “Mais le consolateur, l'Esprit Saint”, the Italian Diodati 1991 and the Riveduta 2006 - “ ma il Consolatore, lo Spirito Santo”, and the Portuguese Almeida Corregida 2009 - “Mas aquele Consolador, o Espírito Santo”
The King James Bible is right, as always.
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