International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
kum'-fer-ter: This is translation of the word patakletos, in the Johannine writings. In the Gospel it occurs in John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7, and refers to the Holy Spirit. The word means literally, "called to one's side" for help. The translation "Comforter" covers only a small part of the meaning as shown in the context. The word "Helper" would be a more adequate translation. The Spirit does a great deal for disciples besides comforting them, although to comfort was a part of His work for them. The Spirit guides into truth; indeed, He is called the Spirit of truth. He teaches and quickens the memory of disciples and glorifies Christ in them. He also has a work to do in the hearts of unbelievers, convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 14-16). The Comforter remains permanently with disciples after He comes in response to the prayers of Christ. The word parakletos does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures except in 1 John 2:1. In Job 16:2 the active form of the word (parakletos is passive) is found in the plural, where Job calls his friends "miserable comforters." The word "Comforter" being an inadequate, and the word "Helper" a too indefinite, translation of the word in the Gospel of John, it would probably be best to transfer the Greek word into English in so far as it relates to the Holy Spirit (see PARACLETE).