Paraclete Notes and clippings
Gleanings from the Sermon
Par•a•clete \ˈpa-rə-ˌklēt\ noun
[Middle English Paraclyte, from Late Latin Paracletus, Paraclitus, from Greek Paraklētos, literally, advocate, intercessor, from parakalein to invoke, from para- + kalein to call—more at LOW] 15th century: HOLY SPIRIT
Paraclete. Transliteration of a Greek word meaning “one who is called to someone’s aid” or “one who advocates another.” Thus the term may be used technically for a lawyer. More generally the word denotes one who acts in another’s behalf as a mediator, an intercessor, or a comforter.
Variety of translation in single words can throw light on important doctrines. For paracletos it is so difficult to find a single satisfactory word that there is something to be said for transliterating it as Paraclete. Wyclif’s rendering, “Comforter,” was intended not as Consoler but in the original Latin sense of Strengthener. Both KJV and RSV at 1 John 2:1 render the term “Advocate,” a Latin word which is the precise etymological equivalent of paracletos. It means “called to one’s side.” This is what the ancient Paraclete was, a friend called in to plead one’s case. “Advocate” today has a little too much the suggestion of a professional who does this for pay. “Helper,” “Counselor,” “Friend at Court” are other terms that have been used.
Defender: the advocate. It was competent for someone to aid a party in a court action. This was the role of the kinsman-redeemer mentioned above. It is also the role of the Paraclete of the NT, the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16, 26). The Roman prototype was qualified both forensically and oratorically.
The Meaning of Paraklētos. In Greek the word is formally a passive verbal adjective, “one called alongside” (especially to offer assistance in a court), and so an “advocate” (though not with the professional legal sense of the Latin advocatus), and indeed later Rabbinic Judaism came to use peraqliṭ (a loan word) for “advocate” (cf. Pirqe Aboth 4:11)
“He who performs one good deed has gotten to himself one advocate [paraclete], and he who commits one transgression has gotten to himself one accuser” (Abot iv. 11)