Is παράκλητος (paraklētos) of John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7 the proper (given) name of The Holy Spirit?

If not, what is ? And if so, are there others and what, if any, is the hermeneutic significance of παράκλητος use only within John rather than in wider Scripture?

John 14:26 — (NIV)

26 But the Advocate [παράκλητος], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 15:26 -(NIV)

26 “When the Advocate [παράκλητος] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

John 16:27 (NIV)

27 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [παράκλητος ]will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

2 Answers 2


John 14:16 eliminates the possibility of παράκλητος being a proper name.

 κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον δώσει ὑμῖν,* ἵνα ⸂μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾖ⸃, (John 14:16, NA28)

Not only is παράκλητον anarthrous (no article), but he is ἄλλον (another of the same kind). Just as Jesus has been a paraclete, being with them during his ministry, when he went back to heaven, the Holy Spirit became a paraclete working alongside, even within, Christians. The article with παράκλητος in the following verses in John signifies that Jesus referred back to the same person Jesus called a paraclete in this verse (14:16), the Holy Spirit.

The proper name for the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, or the Spirit.

τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας 14:17 τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον 14:26 τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας 15:26 τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας 16:13 πνεῦμα ἅγιον 20:22

  • Very good answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 10:42
  • On what basis might you defend the translation of pneuma as "spirit"?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 22:46
  • @Ruminator the context
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 22:59
  • So, like a Holy Ghost?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 13:38
  • Neither ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine, Latin or even German had the word or concept of "spirit." It never existed in English until modern times, because of Trinitarian English translators. But, tradition writes the books.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 13:49

The proper name for the third person within the Trinity is "The Spirit," or "The Holy Spirit."

As to the use of, "παράκλητος," These are the passages that use the term:

  • “«16» κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον δώσει ὑμῖν, ἵνα μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾖ, «17» τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὃ ὁ κόσμος οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, ὅτι οὐ θεωρεῖ αὐτὸ οὐδὲ γεινώσκει· ὑμεῖς γεινώσκετε αὐτό, ὅτι παρ’ ὑμῖν μένει καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται.” (Ἰωάννην 14·16-17 THGNT-T)
  • “«25» Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρ’ ὑμῖν μένων· «26» ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν.” (Ἰωάννην 14·25-26 THGNT-T)
  • “«26» Ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὁ παράκλητος ὃν ἐγὼ πέμψω ὑμῖν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται, ἐκεῖνος μαρτυρήσει περὶ ἐμοῦ· «27» καὶ ὑμεῖς δὲ μαρτυρεῖτε, ὅτι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστε.” (Ἰωάννην 15·26-27 THGNT-T)
  • “ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ τὴν ἀλήθειαν λέγω ὑμῖν· συμφέρει ὑμῖν ἵνα ἐγὼ ἀπέλθω· ἐὰν γὰρ μὴ ἀπέλθω, ὁ παράκλητος οὐκ ἐλεύσεται πρὸς ὑμᾶς· ἐὰν δὲ πορευθῶ, πέμψω αὐτὸν πρὸς ὑμᾶς.” (Ἰωάννην 16·7 THGNT-T)
  • “«1» Τεκνία μου, ταῦτα γράφω ὑμῖν ἵνα μὴ ἁμάρτητε· καὶ ἐάν τις ἁμάρτῃ, παράκλητον ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, Ἰησοῦν χριστὸν δίκαιον, «2» καὶ αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν· οὐ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου.” (Ἰωάννου α 2·1-2 THGNT-T)

As we look at the passages in which the word is used, we quickly notice that John also uses the word to speak about Jesus. So, at the very least, "Paraclete" isn't just a name for the Holy Spirit. It's also a name for Jesus.

But, like Messiah/Christ, it might more properly be used as a title and office, rather than a name. That context works best here.

As soon as we recognize that the word is used for both the Holy Spirit and for Christ, though the work just begins. For what does the word actually mean in context? That's the more difficult question. In trying to grasp at an understanding for the word, BDAG gives us this:

παράκλητος, ου, ὁ (παρακαλέω) originally meant in the passive sense (BGU 601, 12 [II AD] παράκλητος δέδωκα αὐτῷ=‘when I was asked I gave to him’, but π. is restored from παρακλος, and the restoration is uncertain), ‘one who is called to someone’s aid’. Accordingly Latin writers commonly rendered it, in its NT occurrences, with ‘advocatus’ (Tertullian, Prax. 9; Cyprian, De Domin. Orat. 3, Epist. 55, 18; Novatian, De Trin. 28; 29; Hilary, De Trin. 8, 19; Lucifer, De S. Athanas. 2, 26; Augustine, C. Faust. 13, 17, Tract. in Joh. 94; Tractatus Orig. 20 p. 212, 13 Batiffol. Likew. many [Old Latin] Bible mss.: a c e m q J 14:16; a m q 14:26; e q r 15:26; e m q 16:7. Eus., HE 5, 1, 10 παράκλητος=advocatus, Rufinus. Field, Notes 102f; cp. the role of the ‘patronus’ in legal proceedings: J-MDavid, Le patronat judicaire au dernier siècle de la république romaine ’92). But the technical mng. ‘lawyer’, ‘attorney’ is rare (e.g. Bion of Borysthenes [III BC] in Diog. L. 4, 50; SEG XXXVIII, 1237, 18 [235/36 AD]). Against the legal association: KGrayston, JSNT 13, ’81, 67–82. In the few places where the word is found in pre-Christian and extra-Christian lit. as well it has for the most part a more general sense: one who appears in another’s behalf, mediator, intercessor, helper (Demosth. 19, 1; Dionys. Hal. 11, 37, 1; Heraclit. Sto. 59 p. 80, 19; Cass. Dio 46, 20, 1; POxy 2725, 10 [71 AD]; cp. π. as the name of a gnostic aeon Iren. 1, 4, 5 [Harv. I 38, 8]; Hippol.; s. also the comments on 2 Cor 5:20 s.v. παρακαλέω 2). The pass. idea of παρακεκλῆσθαι retreated into the backgound, and the active idea of παρακαλεῖν took its place (on the justification for equating παράκλητος with παρακαλῶν s. Kühner-Bl. II 289). Jews adopted it in this sense as a loanw. (פְּרַקְלֵיט. Pirqe Aboth 4, 11.—SKrauss, Griech. u. latein. Lehnwörter in Talmud, Midrasch u. Targum 1898/99 I 210; II 496; Dalman, Gramm.2 185; Billerb. II 560–62). In Job 16:2 Aq. and Theod. translate מְנַחֲמִים (=comforters) as παράκλητοι; LXX has παρακλήτορες. In Philo our word somet. means ‘intercessor’ (De Jos. 239, Vi. Mos. 2, 134, Spec. Leg. 1, 237, Exsecr. 166, Adv. Flacc. 13; 22), somet. ‘adviser’, ‘helper’ (Op. M. 23; 165). The Gk. interpreters of John’s gosp. understood it in the active sense=παρακαλῶν or παρακλήτωρ (s. Lampe s.v. παράκλητος, esp. Eusebius of Caesarea, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Ammonius; s. also Ephraem the Syrian in RHarris, Fragments of the Comm. of Ephrem Syr. 1895, 86). In our lit. the act. sense helper, intercessor is suitable in all occurrences of the word (so Goodsp, Probs. 110f). τίς ἡμῶν παράκλητος ἔσται; 2 Cl 6:9. πλουσίων παράκλητοι advocates of the rich B 20:2; D 5:2.—In 1J 2:1 (as AcJ in a damaged fragment: POxy 850, 10) Christ is designated as παράκλητος: παράκλητον ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν δίκαιον we have Jesus Christ the righteous one, who intercedes for us. The same title is implied for Christ by the ἄλλος παράκλητος of J 14:16. It is only the Holy Spirit that is expressly called παρ.=Helper in the Fourth Gosp.: 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.

(BDAG, s.v. “παράκλητος,” 766.)

Notice, then, the options:

  • One who "is called aside" (passive use)
  • One who "calls us aside" (active use)
  • Defense attorney (Latin = advocatus)
  • One who comforts/consoles (מְנַחֲמִים)
  • One who goes on behalf of someone else (intercessor)

In the context of the rest of scripture, though we do receive some help. In my Dogmatics notes, this is one of the entries:

  1. Christ is our only Intercessor.
        a) He is Paraclete in a different manner from the Spirit.
            cf 1 Jn 2:1.
            cf Jn 14:16,26—Jn 15:26; 16:7 coll Ro 8:26,27; Ga 4:6.

In the 1 John section, the emphasis is on Jesus as our "defense attorney," who pleas his sacrifice and his faithfulness in our place whenever we sin.

In the references to the Holy Spirit (within John's gospel), if we take the larger context of the Pauline passages, (Ro 8:26,27; Ga 4:6), the context seems to be more of the H.S. praying on our behalf to the Father and "partners alongside us" to strengthen our faith and the new person inside of us.

  • How might you justify the rendering of pneuma as "spirit"?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 22:48

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