Translation (consistently in NRSV and JB) of the Greek work parakletos [paravklhto"], which is used five times in the New Testament. Parakletos [paravklhto"] is found in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7 in the words of Jesus with reference to the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 2:1 it refers to Christ. Most English translations have "advocate" in 1 John 2:1, although the New International Version renders it as "one who speaks in our defense." To determine the meaning we need to consider the word's etymology, its usage outside the New Testament, and its context in the New Testament passages. By derivation the word means "one called alongside, " but the Gospel emphasizes that the Holy Spirit, as Parakletos [paravklhto"], is "sent" from the Father. In earlier Greek the word signified one called in to a person's defense, a helper in court. In two Greek translations of Job ( 16:2 ) it is used for Job's "comforters." Clearly the work of the Holy Spirit is more than either of these: the Spirit is more than a "Counselor" and stronger than a "Comforter" (in our modern sense of the word). The Gospel passages certainly mean that the Holy Spirit is Helper, "another" Parakletos [paravklhto"] ( John 14:16 ), because Jesus had truly been that. The Spirit was promised to remain with Jesus' disciples always ( 14:16 ), to "teach" ( 14:26 ), to "testify" about Christ and to enable them to testify ( 15:26 ), and to "convict the world of guilt" ( 16:7 ). Then 1 John 2:1 speaks of Jesus as our continuing advocate with the Father, because we who are sinful find in him the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and thus have our acceptance with the Father.
See also Holy Spirit
Bibliography. J. Behm, TDNT, 5:800-14; G. Braumann, NIDNTT, 1:88-91; L. Morris, The Gospel according to John.
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(Gr. parakletos), one who pleads another's cause, who helps another by defending or comforting him. It is a name given by Christ three times to the Holy Ghost ( John 14:16 ; 15:26 ; 16:7 , where the Greek word is rendered "Comforter," q.v.). It is applied to Christ in 1 John 2:1 , where the same Greek word is rendered "Advocate," the rendering which it should have in all the places where it occurs. Tertullus "the orator" ( Acts 24:1 ) was a Roman advocate whom the Jews employed to accuse Paul before Felix.
or Paraclete , one that pleads the cause of another. ( 1 John 2:1 ) Used by Christ, ( John 14:16 ; 15:26 ; 16:7 ) to describe the office and work of the Holy Spirit, and translated Comforter , i.e. (see margin of Revised Version) Advocate, Helper, Intercessor. This use of the word is derived from the fact that the Jews, being largely ignorant of the Roman law and the Roman language, had to employ Roman advocates in their trials before Roman courts. Applied to Christ, ( 1 John 2:1 )
Found in 1 John 2:1, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The Greek word has several shades of meaning:
(1) a legal advocate;
(2) an intercessor,
(3) a helper generally.
In the passage before us the first and second meanings are included. Christ in heaven intercedes for Christians who sin upon earth. The next verse declares that He is the "propitiation for our sins" and it is His propitiatory work which lies at the basis of His intercession. The margins of the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version give as alternative readings Comforter, Helper, Greek Paraclete. Beyond doubt however, "advocate" is the correct translation in the passage in the epistle. The same Greek word also occurs in the Gospel of John (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7) referring not to Christ but to the Holy Spirit, to whom Christ refers as "another comforter" whom He will send from the Father. In the Gospel various functions are ascribed to the Spirit in relation to believers and unbelievers. The word in the Gospel is inadequately translated "Comforter." The Spirit according to these passages, is more than Comforter and more than Advocate.
E. Y. Mullins
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