The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Comforter” or “Counselor” in the Bible, primarily in the Gospel of John. This name reveals the Spirit’s role in the lives of believers. The Holy Spirit comforts, encourages, counsels, and advocates for Christians.
- The name “Comforter” comes from the Greek word “Paraclete” meaning one called alongside to help or advocate.
- Jesus promised his disciples he would send the Holy Spirit as a replacement after his ascension.
- The Holy Spirit comforts believers by assuring them of God’s love, care, and presence.
- The Spirit counsels and teaches believers, guiding them into truth.
- He advocates for believers before God the Father.
- The Holy Spirit also empowers, strengthens, and encourages believers for ministry.
- Experiencing the Spirit’s comfort allows Christians to comfort others.
The Meaning of “Comforter”
The title “Comforter” used for the Holy Spirit originates from the Greek word “Paraclete.” This word appears 5 times in the Gospel of John (14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, 1 John 2:1). The Greek word “paraclete” literally means “one called or sent for to assist another” (Strong’s G3875). So the Holy Spirit is our divine helper and advocate.
The King James Version translates “Paraclete” as “Comforter,” while other translations use “Counselor”, “Advocate”, or “Helper.” All of these terms accurately convey the meaning. The Holy Spirit comforts and counsels us, gives advice, and pleads our case before God. Let’s look at some key Scripture passages using this name.
Jesus Promised the Spirit as a Replacement
Jesus spoke extensively about the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s role in his Farewell Discourse in John 14-16. Here Jesus prepares his disciples for his imminent death, resurrection, and ascension.
He comforts them by promising to send the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would come after Jesus departed to continue His work on earth.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16 NKJV)
Jesus says the Father will send “another Helper.” This Helper, the Holy Spirit, would replace Jesus and take over His role of guiding, teaching, and empowering the disciples after His ascension.
The Spirit would dwell in them permanently, something Jesus’ physical presence could not do. Jesus continues…
“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 things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit would teach and remind them of Jesus’ words. This would include things they had forgotten and did not yet understand.
As the promised replacement, the Spirit would continue to reveal truth and wisdom to the believers just as Jesus did.
The Spirit Comforts Believers
One key way the Holy Spirit acts as Comforter is by reassuring believers of God’s love, care, and presence. Though Jesus went away, God did not leave His people all alone.
“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18 NKJV)
The Spirit’s presence brings comfort, so believers are not left orphaned. God dwells in Spirit in each of us.
Romans 8 describes how the Holy Spirit confirms we are God’s children:
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16 NKJV)
The Spirit assures us of our adoption into God’s family. We can come before God with confidence as dear children, not timid slaves. No need to be afraid!
This confidence allows us to cry out to Him as “Abba Father.” Abba is an intimate Aramaic term similar to “Papa.” The Spirit enables us to approach God closely as our doting Father.
The passage also says the Spirit “bears witness with our spirit.” This means the Holy Spirit’s presence within confirms God’s love and our relationship as His children. What comfort!
So the Comforter reassures Christians of their reconciliation with God. He secures our standing through an inner witness and cry of “Abba Father!”
The Spirit Counsels and Teaches Believers
The Holy Spirit also counsels, advises, and teaches believers. Jesus said He would send the Spirit to be our Counselor and Helper. As God Himself, the Spirit is the perfect counselor!
“But the Counselor, 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.” (John 14:26)
The Spirit teaches believers and illuminates God’s truth in Scripture:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.” (John 16:13)
The Bible says we have the “mind of Christ” through the Spirit’s presence within (1 Cor 2:16). He renewes our mind to be more like Jesus.
The apostle John says the Spirit teaches believers all things:
“The anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit…” (1 John 2:27)
Though we need human teachers, the Spirit enables us to discern truth. The Spirit leads each believer into a proper understanding of Scripture and godly wisdom.
The Spirit Advocates for Believers
The Holy Spirit also acts as an advocate, defender, and intercessor for believers. He pleads our case before God the Father.
Romans 8:26-27 describes the Spirit interceding for us:
“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Because of our human limitations, we don’t always pray correctly. The Holy Spirit steps in praying for us according to God’s perfect will.
This intercessory ministry reveals the Spirit’s role as divine legal counsel. He knows the will of God and prays accordingly on our behalf.
In 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called our advocate before the Father. The Holy Spirit essentially continues Jesus’ advocacy:
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
So the Comforter advocates for believers in God’s presence both through intercession and by revealing our righteousness in Christ.
The Spirit Empowers and Strengthens
An additional comfort the Holy Spirit provides is empowerment and strength. Jesus promised the disciples they would receive power from the Spirit to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).
In Zechariah 4:6, the Lord says:
“‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
The Holy Spirit gives believers supernatural power to live for Christ, fulfill our callings, and do the works of Jesus on earth.
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened in their spirits by the Holy Spirit:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…” (Ephesians 3:16)
When we are weak, the Holy Spirit provides divine inner strength. This allows us to endure hardship and walk faithfully with God.
The Spirit encourages believers for ministry. He inspires and empowers the use of spiritual gifts for building up the church. All good fruit produced in our lives comes from His power working within us.
An important result of the Spirit’s work in our lives is that He enables us to effectively comfort and counsel others. Paul writes:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Experiencing the Spirit’s aid makes us more compassionate toward others. The comfort He imparts overflows to those around us.
So the church becomes a community of comfort in which believers encourage each other. We suffer together and bear each other’s burdens – just as the Spirit does for us (Galatians 6:2).
To summarize, the Holy Spirit’s name as Comforter or Counselor highlights His ministry to believers. He continues the work of Jesus on earth after His ascension. The Spirit reassures us of God’s love and care. He teaches, guides, and advocates for us. The Comforter also strengthens and empowers believers for living victoriously and sharing Christ’s comfort with others. We are blessed to have such a wonderful Helper and Encourager!
The Holy Spirit’s identification as the Comforter reveals His supportive role as helper, teacher, encourager, and advocate. He mediates God’s presence and comfort, guiding believers into truth and interceding on their behalf.
The Spirit assures us of our relationship with God, gives strength for godly living and ministry, and enables us to comfort others. Through His work, believers are empowered to walk in victory and share the gospel. We have a remarkable divine Paraclete ministering to our spirits!
The Spirit’s comforting work is essential to the Christian life. May we rely on the Comforter’s help in every situation. And may the Spirit inspire us to extend Christ’s compassion to the hurting world.