The Bible identifies the Holy Spirit as the third member of the Trinity, along with the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. The Spirit has an inseparable unity with the Father and Son, yet he also has a unique role in the Godhead. In a foundational passage about the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him “the Helper” (John 15:26, ESV). This title for the Holy Spirit makes many readers wonder how he helps people.
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit helps people at the time of their conversion to Jesus Christ by convicting them of sin, facilitating their adoption, and more. The Spirit also helps Christians after their conversion by giving them strength, guidance, hope, deliverance from sin and Satan, and more.
Why did Jesus call the Holy Spirit a “Helper”? What does the Greek word for “Helper” mean? What are four ways the Spirit helps people before or during their conversion? What are seven ways he helps Christians after their conversion? What does the Old Testament say about God being a helper? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see What Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? to learn more.
Why did Jesus call the Holy Spirit a Helper?
Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit as a “Helper” perfectly describes his ministry in the lives of Christians. He is God’s presence in people’s lives, not an outside observer. John tells Christians that the Holy Spirit abides in you and with you (John 14:17), and Paul tells them that the “the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Rom. 8:9). One result of the Spirit’s indwelling is that he is constantly helping believers.
The name “Helper” comes from the Greek word parakletos. Some translations render the word “Helper” (ESV, NASB, NKJV), while others use words like “Advocate” (NIV, NLT) and “Comforter” (KJV). Whatever the English word translators use, readers need to understand that parakletos carries the meaning of someone who supports, aids, or assists a person in various ways.
|Part of speech||Noun|
|Definition||called to one’s aid|
|ESV, NASB, NKJV (Jn. 15:26)||“Helper”|
|NIV, NLT (Jn. 15:26)||“Advocate”|
|KJV (Jn. 15:26)||“Comforter”|
“Helper” in the New Testament
The Greek word parakletos occurs five times in the New Testament, all in the writings of John.
- John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (ESV)
- John 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 have said to you.” (ESV)
- John 15:26, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (ESV)
- John 16:7, “Nevertheless, 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.” (ESV)
- 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (ESV)
In relation to people, the Bible describes the Holy Spirit helping people before, or at the time of, salvation. It also teaches how he helps believers resist sin and grow in Christlikeness. The comforting truth for Christians is that the third person of the Trinity has been effectively working in their minds and hearts since they first heard about Jesus and has stayed faithfully committed to them in their lives.
Also see How To Be Filled With the Holy Spirit to learn more.
4 Ways the Holy Spirit helps people at their conversion
The organization of the verses below isn’t to draw strict black-and-white boundaries lines of what the Holy Spirit does during and after conversion. Instead, it’s an attempt to frame a discussion regarding verses that describe his work and ministry. So, for example, readers should feel free to put “The Spirit’s Indwells People” under the category of post-conversion, not simply at-conversion, as it appears below.
1. The Spirit Regenerates Sinners
|John 3:5-6||Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.|
|John 16:8||And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.|
|Titus 3:5||He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.|
2. The Spirit Guarantees God’s Promises
|1 Corinthians 1:21-22||And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.|
|Ephesians 1:13-14||In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,e to the praise of his glory.|
3. The Spirit Facilitates A Believer’s Adoption
|Romans 8:15||For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!|
|Galatians 4:6||And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”|
4. The Spirit Indwells New Believers
|Romans 8:9||You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.|
|John 14:17||And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.|
Also see What Is a Familiar Spirit? to learn more.
7 Ways the Holy Spirit helps people after their conversion
The Holy Spirit’s work and ministry in the life of a Christian is one of unceasing help. Believers are never alone, as the Spirit is the ever-present fulfillment of God’s promise never to leave or forsake his children (Heb. 13:5).
1. The Holy Spirit helps Christians in prayer
|Jude 20||But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.|
|Romans 8:26||Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.|
2. The Holy Spirit gives Christians strength
|Ephesians 3:16||that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being|
|Colossians 1:11||being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy|
3. The Holy Spirit guides Christians in life
|Romans 8:14||For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.|
|Galatians 5:16||But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.|
4. The Holy Spirit instills hope
|Galatians 5:5||For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.|
|Romans 8:19||For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.|
5. The Holy Spirit delivers from sin and Satan
|Romans 8:2||For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.|
|Ephesians 6:17||and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God|
6. The Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture
|1 Corinthians 2:4||and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power|
|1 Thessalonians 1:5||because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.|
7. The Holy Spirit promotes holiness and Christlikeness
|Romans 14:17||For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.|
|2 Corinthians 3:17-18||Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,e are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.|
Also see What Are the 12 Gifts of the Holy Spirit? to learn more.
What does the Old Testament Say About God as a Helper?
The Old Testament is filled with descriptions of God as a helper to people. The Hebrew word for “helper” is ezer. Sometimes ezer describes people helping each other. For example, Genesis 2:18 reads, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”
Yet, two-thirds of the time that ezer appears in the Old Testament, it refers to God. For example, Psalm 121:1-2 read, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
|Part of speech||Noun|
|Definition||a help, helper|
|Translation||“help” (NIV, ESV, KJV, NASB)|
Also see What Did Jesus Say About the Holy Spirit? to learn more.
 Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. p. 332.
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