Word Study Comforter

Parakletos Word Study in theWord G3870

Parakletos Word Study in theWord is a post about a study I am doing for Discipleship, and this post has images of how I am using theWord Free Bible Software program to do the study. Parakletos Word Study in theWord is for an appendix in this book I am writing. Parakletos is the Greek word for Comforter.

Word Study Comforter

How I do the study: (1) I searched for the English word in the KJV for “Comforter”. (2) I then clicked into the Bibleview window (center pane) and press a simple “s” (not control s nor alt s). That brings up the Strong’s numebrs and I find “comforter” in a verse. The Greek Strong’s number is G3870. (3)

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Parakletos Word Study in theWord

The Greek word for Comforter is Parakletos, the verb “comfort” is G3780. In the majority of the times in the New Testament that this word is used, it is in a simple “exhortation” or “I beseech you” form. The concept turns on an “exhortation”, an expression of the will of one person to another. I want or desire something, and I want you to do something. There is an obligation (moral or legal) for you to do this, or very simply it is strongly my will for you to do this thing I want.

A Parakletos is also the word in Greek for a lawyer, so a lawyer is a person who you invoke (call to your aid to authorize him to advise and represent you) to give you an orientation to how something SHOULD BE. This has a legal or moral sense. The advice or position of the lawyer is not necessarily YOUR POSITION nor YOUR WILL but what is best or legal, or even moral in the situation.

There is a dual idea here, in that the very same advice is (1) a rebuke if you are doing wrong, (2) confirmation and comfort that you are doing right when the advice is being given you. So the actual tone of the advice takes on one or the other of these characters depending on whether you were previously abiding by the advice (it is a comfort to you then) or not abiding by the advice (an exhortation to change and act).

Sense #1 to Beseech

By far the most common use of this verb is to “beseech” somebody else. This is where your will is that somebody else does something that you want. We have extreme cases of the demons beseeching Christ to not cast them out completely (with the idea of being permanently restricted to hell perhaps) and many cases of the common word “beseech” one person to another. There are examples where the idea to beseech the Lord is just simply prayer.

Sense #2 to Summon somebody

In these cases, the word is used to “summon somebody” to your aid, presence, etc. Paul summoned Titus to come to him. The idea does not take us any further than just arriving and then whatever the person would normally do.

Sense #3 to Exhort somebody

In these cases, the idea is more to move somebody towards something or some position morally.  Acts 20:2 when Paul had gone over those areas giving them much exhortation. This is the more formal idea of something like preaching. To digress and address this concept, preaching should be an exhortation. Today’s Christianity and preachers have twisted the idea of sermons into something more akin to entertainment or chatting one with another than purely a preacher moving the congregation to take and hold a moral position, i.e. this means applying spiritual principles in their own lives.

Sense #4 to Comfort or be comforted

The idea of this use of the verb is that somebody makes somebody else “feel good” during a bad experience that they are having.

Matthew 2:18 Rachel weeping for her children and would not be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed those that mourn for they shall be comforted

So the idea here is first that a person is under duress, stress, suffering, affliction (mental or physical), and the other person does something to make that affliction and suffering less, or more tolerable in some way. This can be as simple as “mourning WITH a person that is mourning”, i.e. one person comforts another by being with the mourning person in their situation and sympathizing with them.

Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

In Paradise, Abraham says that Lazarus is now comforted. So this is a more complex idea that mourning with he who is mourning himself. The idea here is eternal bliss. In other words, the entirety of the life of suffering and affliction that Lazarus suffered is now being offset by blessing, peace, happiness, and bliss. It was as if the rich man requested that Abraham suspend what he was doing in Paradise and that Lazarus comes and serve the rich man a drop of water. Abraham retorts, “No, that is not possible.” It would seem that the comforting that God was giving Lazarus was not to be suspended even for a short period of time. The rich man also did not desire or was not worthy (because of the evil in his earthly life) to receive any kind of help, relief, bliss, etc. So the idea could be on both parts, Lazarus is eternally occupied in happiness, and taking a drop water to hell to relieve your suffering is not worthy of interrupting his eternal bliss, or you just don’t deserve any relief period.

But then “comfort” at this point is the causing affliction, suffering, and persecution to “disappear” or not be prominent in the other person’s mind.

2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforteth us in all our tribulation… we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort (G3874) wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God

Another case here is in that of somebody who was irritating Paul.

2 Corinthians 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.  7 ye ought to forgive him and comfort him… overmuch sorrow

It would appear that somebody opposed Paul, and the Corinthian church cut off fellowship from the fellow somehow. Maybe this person offended Paul. But Paul says that the church should forgive him and not cause him overmuch sorrow. In doing this, they would “comfort” the man. Here we have the elements of the actions and attitudes of the Corinthian church causing this man suffering or comfort. Again the idea of making a bad situation disappear or not be important or prominent any more is in full view and focus.

Additional Considerations on Parakleto “Comforting”

Acts 16:40 they comforted them (Paul on being released from prison)

Acts 20:12 they brought the young man alive and were not a little comforted

So the idea of comforting or being comforted enters in when Paul was released from prison. Why was this an occasion of comfort or being comforted? A parallel example of the young man that fell from the loft and had died, and Paul brought him back to life. Why are these examples of comfort?

So this helps us understand another facet or face of comfort. As Christians, we understand that whatever God decides in our life, it is for our ultimate good (Romans 8:23). When God intervenes to give us some kind of “good”, we should be comforted (here the common sense is to “feel good” or “feel happy” over the moment) over the event because God has seen fit to benefit us somehow. This is enwrapped in the idea of praising God for the good he has given us. If we express this verbally, it is praise, and if we feel this internally, “we are comforted.”

1 Corinthians 14:31 ye may all prophesy… that all may learn and all may be comforted

So Paul recommends to the Corthinian church which was wrapped up in the false practice of ecstatic speech that it is better to prophesy (understand preach) “so that everybody can be comforted.” Again the idea is expressed in a way that we must fight to try to understand it well. In this case, this “comfort” is coming from understanding the Word of God plainly and correctly. That event, that we understand the Word of God clearly should cause us to feel happy, to be happy, to be content. So in this passage, the idea may lean towards the simple meaning of “being happy”, or even satisfied and functioning in the will of God.

“Comfort” a Key Passage

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

The passage would appear to be key because of the flurry of occasions of the word comfort and its verbs and nouns. So the idea seems to be that God gives us affliction, and then comfort them so that we can exercise the ability to be able to “comfort other people”. Truly it is difficult for many young ministers to comfort families or individuals in mourning because they have never had a near family member or friend to die or be seriously ill. It is only after you have experienced this nasty thing yourself that you can understand the feeling enough to help somebody else going through it all. I think about this in that of cancer. People just won’t ever comprehend really the excess of chemotherapy or suffering the pain of cancer without at least sitting with such a person for long periods of time to “suffer with them”.

So to conclude here, we comfort others (a spiritual ability or gift or both) by feeling their pain, being present and observant of their situation, their pains, and what may help them feel better under the circumstances. That is what the Holy Spirit generally does with the believer, but it is a spiritual “thing” that God does here. Equally, it is a spiritual thing that we do when we do it with others.

The underlying foundation in these cases of the word or concept is that we accept God’s will in our individual lives as being accepted and good even though it is painful for us at the moment. This reflects an eternal idea that God will reward and restore all things to all believers. He is sitting on the throne of heaven and over earth to judge all things and make all wrongs and suffering right again.

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