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 as TO COMFORT 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 1887 page 523 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 1881, 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, The Far Above All Translation 2011 and the New Matthew Bible 2016 - "and he will give you another COMFORTER".
Foreign Language Bibles
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”
John Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible - John 14:16 - “And he will, give you another Comforter. The word COMFORTER is here applied both to Christ and to the Spirit, and justly; for it is an office which belongs equally to both of them, TO COMFORT and exhort us, and to guard us by their protection. …He calls the Spirit another COMFORTER, on account of the difference between the blessings which we obtain from both. The peculiar office of Christ was, to appease the wrath of God by atoning for the sins of the world, to redeem men from death, to procure righteousness and life; and the peculiar office of the Spirit is, to make us partakers not only of Christ himself, but of all his blessings.”
John Gill’s Bible Commentary on John 14:16 - “and he shall give you another Comforter. This is no inconsiderable proof of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; here is the Father prayed unto, the Son in human nature praying, and the Holy Ghost the COMFORTER prayed for; who is the gift of the Father, through the prevalent mediation of the Son, and is another "COMFORTER"; distinct from the Messiah, to whom reference is here had! One of the names of the Messiah, with the Jews, is מנחם F21, "a Comforter"; such an one Jesus had been to his disciples; and now he was about to leave them, and for their support under their sorrows, he promises to use his interest with his Father, that he would give them another COMFORTER, meaning the Spirit”
Matthew Henry Bible commentary on John 14:167 - “It is promised that they shall have another COMFORTER. This is the great New-Testament promise (Acts 1:4), as that of the Messiah was of the Old Testament a promise adapted to the present distress of the disciples, who were in sorrow, and needed A COMFORTER. Observe here,
(1.) The blessing promised: allon parakleton. The word is used only here in these discourses of Christ's, and 1 John 2:1, where we translate it an advocate.... we read in Acts 9:31 of the paraklesis tou hagiou pneumatos, THE COMFORT OF THE HOLY GHOST, including his whole office as a paraclete."
Adam Clarke Bible Commentary - John 14:16 -“Another COMFORTER - The word παρακλητος SIGNIFIES not only A COMFORTER, but also an advocate, a defender of a cause, a counsellor, patron, mediator. …The Holy Spirit is thus called, because he transacts the cause of God and Christ with us, explains to us the nature and importance of the great atonement, shows the necessity of it, counsels us to receive it, instructs us how to lay hold on it, vindicates our claim to it, and makes intercessions in us with unutterable groanings.”
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible - “Another COMFORTER - Jesus had been to them a counsellor, a guide, a friend, while he was with them. He had instructed them, had borne with their prejudices and ignorance, and had administered consolation to them in the times of despondency. But he was about to leave them now to go alone into an unfriendly world. The other Comforter was to be given as a compensation for his absence, or to perform the offices toward them which he would have done if he had remained personally with them.”
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Critical Commentary - “And he shall give you ANOTHER COMFORTER. Since this word is used in the New Testament exclusively by John-five times in this discourse of the Holy Spirit it is important to fix the sense of it. Literally, the word signifies one 'called beside' or 'to' another, to 'aid' him. In this most general sense the Holy Spirit is undoubtedly sent 'to our aid,' and every kind of aid coming within the proper sphere of His operations. But more particularly, the word denotes that kind of aid which an Advocate renders to one in a court of justice. So it was used by the Greeks; and so undoubtedly it is used in 1 John 2:1 "If any man sin, we have an Advocate [ parakleeton with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
BUT IT ALSO DENOTES THAT KIND OF AID WHICH A COMFORTER AFFORDS TO ONE WHO NEEDS SUCH.
Taking all the four passages in which the Spirit thus spoken of in this discourse, that of a Helper certainly lies at the foundation; but that of a COMFORTER SEEMS TO US TO BE THE KIND OF HELP WHICH SUITS BEST WITH THE STRAIN OF DISCOURSE AT THIS PLACE. The COMFORT of Christ's personal presence with the Eleven had been such, that while they had it they seemed to want for nothing; and the loss of it would seem the loss of everything-utter desolation (John 14:18 “I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS; I will come to you.) It is to meet this, as we think, that He says He will ask the Father to send them ANOTHER COMFORTER; and in all these four passages, it is an all-sufficient, all-satisfying Substitute for Himself that He holds forth this promised Gift."
The King James Bible is right, as always.
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