Bible Study - The Holy Spirit - Our Helper


Bible Study Series: Holy Spirit - Roles, Types and Imagery

The Holy Spirit - Our Helper


Holy Spirit Bible Study - The Helperby I Gordon


Welcome once again! We are going to carry on our series looking at the Holy Spirit, this time focusing on His role as 'the Helper'. I mentioned in the introduction to this series that Jesus said it was good that He goes away. So why was that again? Yeah you got it! Because if He goes the Helper will come. The specific verse we began with last time is this:

Joh 16:7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

But this is not the first time Jesus spoke of the Helper. The first mention is a couple of chapters earlier where Jesus says:

Joh 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (17) that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

So let's explore this theme of the Helper today. Specifically... 

  • We'll drill down into this verse in John 14:16 where Jesus spoke of this Helper that will be with believers forever
  • We'll explore two Old Testament types/pictures of the Helper
  • We'll look at what Jesus said the Helper would do
  • We'll see how the Helper worked in the early Church and can do in your life

Here comes another... just like the other!

Joh 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

So let's break this verse down a little. It's ok... we'll put it back together. 

  • I will ask the Father and He will give... We see first of all that the Holy Spirit is a gift from the Father. It was the Father's love that led Him to give his only begotten Son (John 3:16) to save the world. Here we see that He also gave the Holy Spirit. The first gift enabled the way for the second. The first gift cleansed the temple of our bodies so that it could be filled with the second gift. He gave the first to set us free from the penalty of sin. He sent the second to set us free from the power of sin. Both blessings were from the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift comes from!

  • He will give you another Helper... This word 'another' is interesting in the Greek. There are two prominent words for 'another' in Greek.
    i) 'heteros' – speaks of another of a different sort or kind
    ii) 'allos' – speaks of another of the same sort or kind
    So, for example, let's say that I break my tennis racket and mention that I'm going to get another one. In English you now know that I'm going to get another one but you wouldn't know whether I am going to buy the same type of racket or not. But if I said it in Greek you would know. Well, if you spoke Greek you would. Otherwise you'd look at me slightly odd wondering what was all that?
    So when Jesus said that the Father would give another Helper which Greek word did He use? Yes, that's right... 'Allos' - another of the same kind. If the Holy Spirit is another of the same kind, who was the first that the Spirit would be like? That is obviously an easy one... it is Jesus. What Jesus had been to the believers, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, would now be. Yet this new Helper would not be restricted to time and space as Jesus was in His humanity. He could be with believers in Jerusalem, Bethany, Samaria and to the outer parts of the world (like New Zealand... thankfully!)

  • Give you another Helper.. A Helper... the Greek word for Helper is 'paraklētos' and is only used by the Apostle John in the Bible (John 14:16, John 15:26, John 16:7, 1John 2:1). It has the thought of 'encourage, comfort and exhort'. Someone who 'comes alongside'. Here is how the Amplified Bible expounds on this word:
    Joh 14:16 AMP And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever.
    So Jesus was saying to His disciples that what I have been to you - your comforter, your counselor, your teacher, your helper, your advocate, your strengthener, the One who stands with and alongside you... the Holy Spirit will be for you, all of you, for all time!

So easy quiz starter - How many helpers 'Parakletos' are mentioned in scripture for the believer in this age of grace? There are two:

  1. We have Jesus before the Father - 1Jn 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (paráklētos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
  2. We have the Holy Spirit with us - Joh 14:26 "But the Helper (paráklētos), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

And both act as a paráklētos (helper / one alongside) interceding for us. Can you think of any scriptures about this?1 

Abraham's Servant - Old Testament example 1.0

Now you probably know by now that God likes to picture what is to come in the stories of the Old Testament. Especially in Genesis! So where would you go to see a picture of the Holy Spirit, especially as the Helper, in the book of Genesis? Oh... you've already noticed the section header. Yeah ok... in the life of Abraham and his servant. Most Christians will (or at least should) know the story of Abraham offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice in Gen 22. Can you remember it? It is a fantastic story which pictures how the Father (God/Abraham) was willing to give his own Son (Jesus/Isaac) as a sacrifice for sin. I won't insult your knowledge by thinking that I've said something new there! 

So the next question would be where is the Holy Spirit in this story? If Abraham represents God the Father and Isaac represents Jesus, should not the Holy Spirit be seen soon in this story? I mean, we've read above that Jesus said that following the cross the Father would send the Helper. So do we see a picture of the Holy Spirit after Isaac was offered up? We do! Only two chapters later we see the work of Abraham's servant helper.  

Gen 24:1-4 Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. (2) He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh. (3) I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, (4) but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac."

Genesis chapter 24, with 67 verses, is the longest chapter in the entire book. It is the story of Abraham (picturing God the Father) sending his chief servant (picturing the Holy Spirit) to go and find a bride (the Church) for his Son (Jesus). There are 67 verses in this chapter as mentioned and the servant of Abraham plays a very prominent role in the whole chapter... yet is not named in it! The servant goes and does the work instructed by Abraham perfectly but never draws attention to himself. It is all about the Son, not himself. His joy is to find a bride that desires the Father's son Isaac (Jesus). Sound familiar? Do you know the name of the Holy Spirit? And please don't say yes! The Holy Spirit doesn't have a name, only a title. Like Abraham's servant, He doesn't draw attention to Himself, but only to the Son. That is why Jesus said:

Joh 16:13-15 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (14) He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. (15) All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

What is the name of Abraham's servant?

Though Abraham's servant is not named in Genesis 24, can we know his name? Do you know his name? If so do you know what that name means? 

Most commentators agree that the chief servant in Genesis 24 is that same servant that would have inherited his entire estate had Abraham not had a child, as mentioned earlier in Genesis 15.

Gen 15:1-2 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. " (2) But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"

Eliezer is the name of servant sent by the father to receive a bride for his son. So... next question... what then does Eliezer mean? It is the Hebrew word 'eliyezer' which is derived from two words 'El' (God/Almighty) and 'Ezer' (help). So Eliezer means the God of Help. There is the Helper again! I really like that. What great pictures God places in His word to confirm what He would do even thousands of years later! The very one that is sent from the father to receive a bride for his son, has a name that points to God as our helper. What a perfect pointer to the person and role of the Holy Spirit!  

Helper - Prophetic Pointer

This is a bit of a side note but while we are speaking about the word 'ezer' (help) it is worth pointing out that this is the same word used of Eve as a 'helper' for Adam. Remember the verse? 

Gen 2:18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper ('ezer') suitable for him."

Eve would be a helper to Adam. As a picture, Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:31-32) and just as Eve was to help Adam, so the bride of Christ is a 'help' to the Lord in His work both in this age and the one to come. When Jesus is ruling and reigning over this Earth in His Kingdom, the church will be helping in that rule and reign with Him. So the Holy Spirit is a helper to us, so that we, in return, can help in the work of the Lord.2 

Moses & Sons - Old Testament example 2.0

Now this isn't the only prominent 'Eliezer' in scripture. Do you know another? Oh... you're looking at the title again aren't you? Stop it! : ) 

Exo 18:2-4 After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father- in-law Jethro received her (3) and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, "I have become an alien in a foreign land"; (4) and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "My father's God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh." 

This passage mentions the two sons of Moses, Gershom and Eliezer. These sons were born to Zipporah after Moses left Egypt and dwelt in Midian. I believe that the names of Moses, Gershom and Eliezer have meaning for our time, as Christians, having left 'Egypt' and being not of this world. 

Name meaning Type / Picture / Meaning
Moses
'Drawn or taken out'
Moses was named because he was 'drawn or taken out' of the Nile (Exodus 2:10). He would later be 'taken out' of Egypt when he escaped for his life. Later he would return to take all of Israel out of Egypt. Moses' name speaks of our position as believers in Christ. While still living in this world (for the meantime!) we have been chosen from amongst the many in this world. We are not of the world. And the day is coming when we too, at the rapture of the Church, will be 'taken out' completely from this world.  
Gershom
'A stranger here'
Gershom was named because Moses, after leaving Egypt, felt like a stranger in Midian. As believers, we too are called 'strangers, aliens, exiles' (Heb 11:13, 1 Pet 2:11).  We are not at home living here and our heart should be for another place - the heavenly home that is being prepared for us. Is that how you feel? Living in this world at this time especially can certainly mess with your head! Everything is reversed and confusion and ungodliness reigns. As believers, this feeling of being a stranger isn't something strange. It comes from the inner voice of the Helper reminding you that this is not your home3. For this the men and women of old were commended and so are we:

Heb 11:13-16 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Eliezer
'God of help'
Though he had left the worldly attractions of Egypt, and felt for a time like a stranger in Midian, what did Moses find? Though separated from 'the world' Moses found God to be his helper. God was with Moses and helped him through. And thus he names his next son 'Eliezer' - in honour of the 'God of help'. This also is a pointer to our life as believers. We are strangers here as mentioned above but have been given the 'Helper' - the precious Holy Spirit, who comforts, strengthens and encourages us on our path. Then one day, like Rebekah leaving her home and finally seeing Isaac, we will be 'taken out' of this world to be with our Lord and we shall no longer be exiles or strangers... we shall feel (and be) right at home! Home at last! 

7 things Jesus said the Helper would do...

“I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn't find it out for many months.”
A. W. Tozer,

So when we speak of the Holy Spirit being 'the Helper', what do we mean? Let's explore this through what Jesus said and what we see in the early church. When you read through John chapters 14-16 we see Jesus mentioning the Helper several times and He specifically speaks of the role that the Helper will play when He comes. There are seven points concerning what Jesus said the Helper would do:

  1. Brings comfort, encouragement & help: 
    Joh 14:16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
  2. Teaches us and remind us of what Jesus taught:
    Joh 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
  3. Witnesses to Christ and helps us witness:
    Joh 15:26-27 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, (27) and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
  4. Convicts the world of sin:
    Joh 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
  5. Guides believers into truth:
    Joh 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak;
  6. Gives understanding of future events:
    Joh 16:13 ...and He will disclose to you what is to come.
  7. Brings glory to Jesus:
    Joh 16:14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

The Helper in the Early Church

We've seen above that the word Helper contains the thought of one who stands with you and is a comforter, counselor, intercessor, advocate and strengthener. So how did this work out for the early Church? Have you thought what role the Holy Spirit played in the formation and development of the early Church? Here are some quick examples of the Helper's presence and work from the book of Acts:

  • Empowered believers with spiritual gifts: Act 2:4
    And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
  • Gave boldness in speaking God's word:
    Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
  • Gave wisdom over their adversaries;
    Act 6:10 But they (Jewish leaders) were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he (Stephen) was speaking.
  • Comforted believers and brought increase:
    Act 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
  • Gave direction in where to go and who to trust:
    Act 11:12 "The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man's house.
  • Gave knowledge of future events:
    Act 11:28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.
  • Set apart certain people for the Gospel work:
    Act 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
  • Brought joy to the disciples:
    Act 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
  • Instructed the leaders with important teaching:
    Act 15:28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
  • Opened and closed doors on where and where not to minister:
    Act 16:6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;
  • Compelled believers forward even when afflictions and trials awaited:
    Act 20:22 "And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. Act 21:11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'"

Have you experienced the Helper's help?

Now sometimes we read of the great acts in the early Church and wonder why we don't see more of this today. Let me just say that in some parts of the world, especially in persecuted countries, amazing acts of God are being seen and the presence of the Holy Spirit is prominent. Looking at my own life I have seen and had experiences like Acts chapter 2. I have seen my best friend totally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was an event that had all the hallmarks of Acts 2. I've also seen and had long periods of trials and difficulty where I have wondered where God was. And yet I can honestly look back on the hardest times of my life and also now see the One who was 'alongside' encouraging and strengthening, giving me what was required to press on. When thinking of the Holy Spirit we often think of supernatural power. But always remember that it takes supernatural power to simply endure, be joyful and thankful to the Father. As Colossians reminds us: 

Col 1:10-12 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (11) being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

But we all need the Helper no matter what we are experiencing. There have been times when I was really desperate and cried out to hear God's voice - and the Spirit, our helper, spoke. He has spoken with words of encouragement, words of hope for the future, words of wisdom for decisions and strength for the day. I can certainly testify to also receiving the Spirit's help in gaining some little insight into God's word that I can then pass on to others, God has been incredibly faithful to me over the years as I have tried to give back to His body. And we need truth and discernment from the Spirit to navigate through this world of fog. The fact is we all live in a world that is changing rapidly. Whether we are talking financial, health, moral or technological changes, sometimes it is hard to keep up. There is no doubting that we all need the Helper more and more - even just to get through the day it seems sometimes!  

What I have seen in my life, and you probably have experienced the same, is that the Helper helps when we see our need for His help and cry out for that help. He doesn't help the self-sufficient and the often expressed phrase 'God helps those that help themselves' is not a helpful (or Biblical) phrase. The reality and truth is that the Helper helps those that see their need of His help.  

“The sign that the Holy Ghost is in us is that we realise, not that we are full, but that we are empty, there is a sense of absolute need.”
Oswald Chambers, If Ye Shall Ask: A Book Of Devotional Readings

You have probably heard people say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. While that isn't a Biblical phrase as such it does express the Biblical idea that the Holy Spirit does not force Himself upon anyone, but looks to our desire and requests for His help. So again... A lot of the time we live self-sufficient lives, doing all that we can to make sure we have all that we need in every area. But God's grace, which is dispensed through the Helper, is perfected in weakness. It is the opposite of what our natural flesh wants and thinks. 

“The Holy Spirit has not only power, but He has the Spirit of love. He is troubled over this dark world and is troubled over our country. He is concerned about every sphere of work within it, and He is willing to bless. Why isn't there more blessing? There can only be one answer. We have not honored the Holy Spirit as we should have done. Is there anyone who can honestly say that we have? Every thoughtful and sincere heart should be ready to cry out, 'God, forgive me that I have not honored the Holy Spirit as I should have done, that I have grieved Him, that I have allowed self and the flesh and my own will to work where the Holy Spirit should have been honored. May You forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will to have the place that You intended for the Holy Spirit.”
Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender

Conclusion

So what have we seen? We've seen that Jesus promised that the Father would send another (of the same type as Himself) Helper for believers. This helper was pictured in Genesis where Abraham sent His servant Eliezer ('God is helper') to obtain a bride for his son Isaac. We also saw a picture of our need for the helper in the meaning of Moses and his two sons. Believers have been chosen and called to come out of this world. Soon we will be taken out of this world. Until then we are aliens and strangers in this world. But until then we have the God of Help with us... which we all need. 

As we move closer to the coming of the Lord, the days will get darker. I have said before and will say again that there is a blessing in this. God will use it to draw (um... force?) us closer to Himself, and the work of the Helper in our midst will become all the clearer as the current earthly props and comforts slip away.  Instead of worrying and being fearful in what you see happening in this world, thank the Lord that it will present more opportunity to know Him and see His will be done... through His precious Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is in our midst.



  1.  i) Heb 7:24-25 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
    ii) Rom 8:26-27 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

  2. Not that God needs our help. He can achieve His purposes without any of us helping at all. And yet He has chosen to include us, and the angels for that matter, right in the middle of those plans and use us in this great plan and work. And by doing so we get to learn so much more about this incredible God!  

  3. And to be fair, the 6 o'clock news is also a good reminder that you were made for somewhere else and something better! C.S Lewis said "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." Too true but it is not just unsatisfied desires that tell us this. When we look at what the world believes and loves and promotes, it is easy to see and think "ok, I'm clearly in the wrong place!"