King James – Comforter
NIV – Advocate
ASV – Comforter
Bible Basic – Helper
Weymouth – Advocate
World English Bible – Counselor
When I was in seminary, I used to bristle when students would get up to preach and during the message they would show off their Greek class by saying “the English says this but the Greek says….”
How confusing is it when we read different translations and get different words? Translations are generally very reliable. If you look at the six translations above, they all translate the same word which is used to describe the Holy Spirit.
So now I’m going to do what made me bristle in seminary. The Greek word used in John 14:26 is “parakaleo.” It’s actually two words put together to make one word. “Para” means “by the side of” and “kaleo” means “called or summoned” If you put them together you get the meaning of the word which is “summoned or called to be by the side of”. Shorten that and you get Comforter, Advocate, Helper.
The Holy Spirit is all that, but the real beauty is he is summoned to be by our side. He offers comfort, he advocates to and for us and he is our helper.
Just imagine how this affects our lives. We have God walking beside us every day, 24/7. He does all the things the word implies.
The question is never, “does He do it?” The question is always, “do we listen?” In times of trial, do we trust the God called to be beside us? In times of joy, do we rejoice at what the person summoned to be beside us has done for us? In times of quandary, do we seek the advice of the very God who is next to us?
It took me quite some time to get over people telling me what the Greek word was. Then I came across John 14:26 and saw the beauty of what some words meant. I was wrong in my bristling. I had the wrong attitude. People weren’t using the Greek to show how much they knew. They were using it to help me understand more about God.
John 14:26 taught me that. The Holy Spirit is called to walk beside me, not occasionally, all the time. He is my Comforter, my Advocate, my Helper. Long before Siri and Watson, there was a Comforter, Helper and Advocate.
Ken Lont (our Executive Director) and his wife, Judy, have been attending GRC since it first opened its door in 1999.