As a fairly new Christian, I have been studying what the Scriptures reveal about God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I have a hunger for God’s Word and want to understand as much of it as I can in order that I will be able to share my faith as God gives me the opportunity. I have been reading through the Gospel of John and am currently in John 14, where Jesus speaks of the role of the coming Holy Spirit. Verse 16 reads: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” I have looked up the word “helper” and found that NASB & NKJV use “helper,” while the NIV uses “Counselor,” and the KJV has “comforter.” Help me to understand these differences and the role of the Holy Spirit as Helper/Counselor/Comforter.
Thank you for such an in-depth question; would that every new Christian desire to understand the Word as you seem to want to!
The word used in this passage is the Greek word parakletos, which means “comforter, helper, encourager, or counselor.” “Para” means “to come along side of.” The promise here is that the “Comforter” or “Helper” would come and abide with us forever, and since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been carrying on His ministry in the lives of believers.
What are some of the activities of the Holy Spirit as “helper or comforter?” Let me suggest several to you and include Scriptural references for you to study. More certainly could be added, but these are the basics.
- He guides us into all truth. John 16:13—”But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth for He will not speak on His own initiative but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” The role of the Holy Spirit is to show us that we are sinners and to point us to, and guide us to, a clear understanding of who Jesus Christ is, leading us to a commitment to Him. He also helps us to understand God’s Word and its application in our lives. Notice: He is the “Spirit of Truth” and will only reveal truth to us.
- He assures us that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16—”The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” It’s like having an eternal, binding contract with God that the Holy Spirit seals, confirming that we are secure in our family relationship with the Father.
- He gives us hope. Romans 15:13—”Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The expression “the God of Hope” means the God who inspires hope and imparts it to His children. He can be counted on to fulfill what still remains to be accomplished in us. He is not finished with us!
- He strengthens us. Ephesians 3:16—Paul tells us to be “strengthened with the power through the Spirit in the inner man.” The strengthening of the inner person comes when Christ takes up His permanent residence in us. So the secret of strength is the presence of Christ in our lives. Christ desires to bring us His strength if we will let Him. To be honest, there are times when I feel weak, and I ask the Lord to be strength through me and He has always provided that needed strength.
- He equips us to serve others. Ephesians 4:11 & 12—”And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” The role of the Holy Spirit is to equip us for the work that we have been called to do in God’s Kingdom. For example: some can sing in the choir, or teach preschoolers, help keep the church clean, go out on visitation, participate in short-term mission trips, etc. I know that God has given each of us one or more gifts to be used in the work of the Kingdom. It is up to each one of us to discover our gifts then use them in “the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
Hope this is helpful in your understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Rev. Sam Harris studied theology at the Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA. He was a contributing guest author to The John Ankerberg Show in the late 1990's and early 2000's. His ability to concisely and clearly present the Gospel in a easy to understand, relatable manner has continued to be an asset to the ministry. Sam is currently retired in Lookout Mountain, Georgia and lives with his wife of 50 years, Sandy Lee.
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