|Barnes' Notes on the Bible|
I will pray the Father - This refers to his intercession after his death and ascension to heaven, for this prayer was to be connected with their keeping his commandments. In what way he makes intercession in heaven for his people we do not know. The fact, however, is clearly made known, Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-15; Hebrews 7:25. It is as the result of his intercession in heaven that we obtain all our blessings, and it is through him that our prayers are to be presented and made efficacious before God.
Another Comforter - Jesus had been to them a counsellor, a guide, a friend, while he was with them. He had instructed them, had borne with their prejudices and ignorance, and had administered consolation to them in the times of despondency. But he was about to leave them now to go alone into an unfriendly world. The other Comforter was to be given as a compensation for his absence, or to perform the offices toward them which he would have done if he had remained personally with them. And from this we may learn, in part, what is the office of the Spirit. It is to furnish to all Christians the instruction and consolation which would be given by the personal presence of Jesus, John 16:14. To the apostles it was particularly to inspire them with the knowledge of all truth, John 14:26; John 15:26. Besides this, he came to convince men of sin. See the notes at John 16:8-11. It was proper that such an agent should be sent into the world:
1. Because it was a part of the plan that Jesus should ascend to heaven after his death.
2. Unless some heavenly agent should be sent to carry forward the work of salvation, man would reject it and perish.
3. Jesus could not be personally and bodily present in all places with the vast multitudes who should believe on him. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and can reach them all. See the notes at John 16:7.
4. It was manifestly a part of the plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform his appropriate work the Father in sending his Son, the Son in making atonement and interceding, and the Spirit in applying the work to the hearts of men.
The word translated "Comforter" is used in the New Testament five times. In four instances it is applied to the Holy Spirit - John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7. In the other instance it is applied to the Lord Jesus - 1 John 2:1; "We have an advocate (Paraclete - Comforter) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." It is used, therefore, only by John. The verb from which it is taken has many significations. Its proper meaning is to call one to us Acts 27:20; then to call one to aid us, as an advocate in a court; then to exhort or entreat, to pray or implore, as an advocate does, and to comfort or console, by suggesting reasons or arguments for consolation. The word "comforter" is frequently used by Greek writers to denote an advocate in a court; one who intercedes; a monitor, a teacher, an assistant, a helper. It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to fix the precise meaning of the word. It may be translated either advocate, monitor, teacher, or helper. What the office of the Holy Spirit in this respect is, is to be learned from what we are elsewhere told he does. We learn particularly from the accounts that our Saviour gives of his work that that office was:
1. to comfort the disciples; to be with them in his absence and to supply his place; and this is properly expressed by the word Comforter.
2. to teach them, or remind them of truth; and this might be expressed by the word monitor or teacher, John 14:26; John 15:26-27.
3. to aid them in their work; to advocate their cause, or to assist them in advocating the cause of religion in the world, and in bringing sinners to repentance; and this may be expressed by the word advocate, John 16:7-13. It was also by the Spirit that they were enabled to stand before kings and magistrates, and boldly to speak in the name of Jesus, Matthew 10:20. These seem to comprise all the meanings of the word in the New Testament, but no single word in our language expresses fully the sense of the original.
That he may abide with you for ever - Not that he should remain with you for a few years, as I have done, and then leave you, but be with you in all places to the close of your life. He shall be your constant guide and attendant.
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
I will pray the Father - After having made an atonement for the sin of the world, I will become the Mediator between God and man; and through my mediation and intercession shall all the blessings of grace and glory be acquired.
Another Comforter - The word παρακλητος signifies not only a comforter, but also an advocate, a defender of a cause, a counsellor, patron, mediator. Christ is thus termed, 1 John 2:1, where the common translation renders the word advocate. Christ is thus called, because he is represented as transacting the concerns of our souls with God; and for this cause, he tells us, he goes unto the Father, John 14:12. The Holy Spirit is thus called, because he transacts the cause of God and Christ with us, explains to us the nature and importance of the great atonement, shows the necessity of it, counsels us to receive it, instructs us how to lay hold on it, vindicates our claim to it, and makes intercessions in us with unutterable groanings. As Christ acted with his disciples while he sojourned with them, so the Holy Ghost acts with those who believe in his name.
For ever - As the death and atonement of Christ will be necessary to man till the conclusion of the world, so the office of the Holy Spirit must be continued among men till the end of time: therefore says Christ, he shall continue with you for ever, teaching, comforting, advising, defending, and interceding for you and for all my followers to the end of time.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will pray the Father,...., Here Christ speaks as Mediator, and promises his disciples, that he would intercede for them with the Father; which is designed as an encouragement to them to ask for what they want, in his name, and to comfort their hearts, which were troubled at the news of his departure from them;
and he shall give you another Comforter. This is no inconsiderable proof of a trinity of persons in the Godhead; here is the Father prayed unto, the Son in human nature praying, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter prayed for; who is the gift of the Father, through the prevalent mediation of the Son, and is another "Comforter"; distinct from the Messiah, to whom reference is here had! One of the names of the Messiah, with the Jews, is (u), "a Comforter"; such an one Jesus had been to his disciples; and now he was about to leave them, and for their support under their sorrows, he promises to use his interest with his Father, that he would give them another Comforter, meaning the Spirit, who performs this his work and office, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to his people; by shedding abroad the love of the Father, and of the Son, into their hearts; by opening and applying the precious promises of the Gospel to them; by being a spirit of adoption in them; and by abiding with them as the seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory; and with this view Christ promises to pray for him,
that he may abide with you for ever: not a few years only, as I have done, but as long as you live; and with all those that shall succeed you in the work of the ministry, and with the church, and all true believers unto the end of the world: this is a proof of the saints' final perseverance. When we consider these words, in connection with the preceding exhortation, to keep the commands of Christ, and as an encouragement so to do, it brings to mind a saying of R. Eliezer ben Jacob (w);
"he that does one commandment gets for himself , , the very word here used, "one advocate", or "comforter"; and he that transgresses one command, gets for himself one accuser.''
But though the word signifies both an advocate and a comforter, the latter seems to be the meaning of it here, as being more suited to the disconsolate condition of the disciples.
(u) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 5. 1. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2.((w) Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11.
Vincent's Word Studies
I will pray (ἐρωτήσω)
See on John 11:22.
Only in John's Gospel and First Epistle (John 14:16, John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7; 1 John 2:13. From παρά, to the side of, and καλέω, to summon. Hence, originally, one who is called to another's side to aid him, as an advocate in a court of justice. The later, Hellenistic use of παρακαλεῖν and παράκλησις, to denote the act of consoling and consolation, gave rise to the rendering Comforter, which is given in every instance in the Gospel, but is changed to advocate in 1 John 2:1, agreeably to its uniform signification in classical Greek. The argument in favor of this rendering throughout is conclusive. It is urged that the rendering Comforter is justified by the fact that, in its original sense, it means more than a mere consoler, being derived from the Latin confortare, to strengthen, and that the Comforter is therefore one who strengthens the cause and the courage of his client at the bar: but, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, the history of this interpretation shows that it is not reached by this process, but grew out of a grammatical error, and that therefore this account can only be accepted as an apology after the fact, and not as an explanation of the fact. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, by the word παράκλητος, of which Paraclete is a transcription, represented as our Advocate or Counsel, "who suggests true reasonings to our minds, and true courses of action for our lives, who convicts our adversary, the world, of wrong, and pleads our cause before God our Father." It is to be noted that Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit is represented as Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is to be another Paraclete, and this falls in with the statement in the First Epistle, "we have an advocate with God, even Jesus Christ." Compare Romans 8:26. See on Luke 6:24. Note also that the word another is ἄλλον, and not ἕτερον, which means different. The advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, but another similar to Himself. See on Matthew 6:24.
With you (μεθ' ὑμῶν)
Notice the three prepositions used in this verse to describe the Spirit's relation to the believer. With you (μετά), in fellowship; by you (παρά), in His personal presence; in you (ἐν), as an indwelling personal energy, at the springs of the life.
Geneva Study Bible
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
People's New Testament
14:16 I will pray the Father. Rather, request. The Greek word eratao is not the one used when we are bidden to pray; proseuchomai is. The creature prays; the Son requests.
He shall give you another Comforter. The Holy Spirit; the Helper. The latter word more nearly expresses the idea of the Greek term parakletos than the word Comforter.
Abide with you for ever. The Lord had been with them over three years, but is about to depart. Henceforth he will abide with them, not in person, but by the Holy Spirit that he shall send. Through this agency he will be with his people always.
14:16 And I will ask the Father - The 21st verse , Joh 14:21, shows the connection between this and the preceding verse s. And he will give you another Comforter - The Greek word signifies also an advocate, instructer, or encourager. Another - For Christ himself was one. To remain with you for ever - With you, and your followers in faith, to the end of the world.
Scofield Reference Notes
G. Parakletos, "one called alongside to help." Translated "advocate," 1Jn 2:1. Christ is the believer's Paraclete with the Father when he sins; the Holy Spirit the believer's indwelling Paraclete to help his ignorance and infirmity and to make intercession Rom 8:26,27.
(See "Holy Spirit," N.T. doctrine,) Mt 1:18. See Scofield Note: "Acts 2:4".
Margin And I will
See Scofield Note: "Lk 11:13".
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.
Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary
Christ not only proposes such things to them as were the matter of their comfort, but here promises to send the Spirit, whose office it should be to be their Comforter, to impress these things upon them.
I. He premises to this a memento of duty (v. 15): If you love me, keep my commandments. Keeping the commandments of Christ is here put for the practice of godliness in general, and for the faithful and diligent discharge of their office as apostles in particular. Now observe, 1. When Christ is comforting them, he bids them keep his commandments; for we must not expect comfort but in the way of duty. The same word (parakaleoÁ) signifies both to exhort and to comfort. 2. When they were in care what they should do, now that their Master was leaving them, and what would become of them now, he bids them keep his commandments, and then nothing could come amiss to them. In difficult times our care concerning the events of the day should be swallowed up in a care concerning the duty of the day. 3. When they were showing their love to Christ by their grieving to think of his departure, and the sorrow which filled their hearts upon the foresight of that, he bids them, if they would show their love to him, do it, not by these weak and feminine passions, but by their conscientious care to perform their trust, and by a universal obedience to his commands; this is better than sacrifice, better than tears. Lovest thou me? Feed my lambs. 4. When Christ has given them precious promises, of the answer of their prayers and the coming of the Comforter, he lays down this as a limitation of the promises, "Provided you keep my commandments, from a principle of love to me." Christ will not be an advocate for any but those that will be ruled and advised by him as their counsel. Follow the conduct of the Spirit, and you shall have the comfort of the Spirit.
II. He promises this great and unspeakable blessing to them, v. 16, 17.
1. It is promised that they shall have another comforter. This is the great New-Testament promise (Acts 1:4), as that of the Messiah was of the Old Testament; a promise adapted to the present distress of the disciples, who were in sorrow, and needed a comforter. Observe here,
(1.) The blessing promised: allon parakleÁton. The word is used only here in these discourses of Christ's, and 1 Jn. 2:1, where we translate it an advocate. The Rhemists, and Dr. Hammond, are for retaining the Greek word Paraclete; we read, Acts 9:31, of the parakleÁsis tou hagiou pneumatos, the comfort of the Holy Ghost, including his whole office as a paraclete. [1.] You shall have another advocate. The office of the Spirit was to be Christ's advocate with them and others, to plead his cause, and take care of his concerns, on earth; to be vicarius Christi-Christ's Vicar, as one of the ancients call him; and to be their advocate with their opposers. When Christ was with them he spoke for them as there was occasion; but now that he is leaving them they shall not be run down, the Spirit of the Father shall speak in them, Mt. 10:19, 20. And the cause cannot miscarry that is pleaded by such an advocate. [2.] You shall have another master or teacher, another exhorter. While they had Christ with them he excited and exhorted them to their duty; but now that he is going he leaves one with them that shall do this as effectually, though silently. Jansenius thinks the most proper word to render it by is a patron, one that shall both instruct and protect you. [3.] Another comforter. Christ was expected as the consolation of Israel. One of the names of the Messiah among the Jews was Menahem-the Comforter. The Targum calls the days of the Messiah the years of consolation. Christ comforted his disciples when he was with them, and now that he was leaving them in their greatest need he promises them another.
(2.) The giver of this blessing: The Father shall give him, my Father and your Father; it includes both. The same that gave the Son to be our Saviour will give his Spirit to be our comforter, pursuant to the same design. The Son is said to send the Comforter (ch. 15:26), but the Father is the prime agent.
(3.) How this blessing is procured-by the intercession of the Lord Jesus: I will pray the Father. He said (v. 14) I will do it; here he saith, I will pray for it, to show not only that he is both God and man, but that he is both king and priest. As priest he is ordained for men to make intercession, as king he is authorized by the Father to execute judgment. When Christ saith, I will pray the Father, it does not suppose that the Father is unwilling, or must be importuned to it, but only that the gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, purchased by his merit, and taken out by his intercession.
(4.) The continuance of this blessing: That he may abide with you for ever. That is, [1.] "With you, as long as you live. You shall never know the want of a comforter, nor lament his departure, as you are now lamenting mine." Note, It should support us under the loss of those comforts which were designed us for a time that there are everlasting consolations provided for us. It was not expedient that Christ should be with them for ever, for they who were designed for public service, must not always live a college-life; they must disperse, and therefore a comforter that would be with them all, in all places alike, wheresoever dispersed and howsoever distressed, was alone fit to be with them for ever. [2.] "With your successors, when you are gone, to the end of time; your successors in Christianity, in the ministry." [3.] If we take for ever in its utmost extent, the promise will be accomplished in those consolations of God which will be the eternal joy of all the saints, pleasures for ever.
2. This comforter is the Spirit of truth, whom you know, v. 16, 17. They might think it impossible to have a comforter equivalent to him who is the Son of God: "Yea," saith Christ, "you shall have the Spirit of God, who is equal in power and glory with the Son."
(1.) The comforter promised is the Spirit, one who should do his work in a spiritual way and manner, inwardly and invisibly, by working on men's spirits.
(2.) "He is the Spirit of truth." He will be true to you, and to his undertaking for you, which he will perform to the utmost. He will teach you the truth, will enlighten your minds with the knowledge of it, will strengthen and confirm your belief of it, and will increase your love to it. The Gentiles by their idolatries, and the Jews by their traditions, were led into gross errors and mistakes; but the Spirit of truth shall not only lead you into all truth, but others by your ministry. Christ is the truth, and he is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit that he was anointed with.
(3.) He is one whom the world cannot receive; but you know him. Therefore he abideth with you. [1.] The disciples of Christ are here distinguished from the world, for they are chosen and called out of the world that lies in wickedness; they are the children and heirs of another world, not of this. [2.] It is the misery of those that are invincibly devoted to the world that they cannot receive the Spirit of truth. The spirit of the world and of God are spoken of as directly contrary the one to the other (1 Co. 2:12); for where the spirit of the world has the ascendant, the Spirit of God is excluded. Even the princes of this world, though, as princes, they had advantages of knowledge, yet, as princes of this world, they laboured under invincible prejudices, so that they knew not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Co. 2:8. [3.] Therefore men cannot receive the Spirit of truth because they see him not, neither know him. The comforts of the Spirit are foolishness to them, as much as ever the cross of Christ was, and the great things of the gospel, like those of the law, are counted as a strange thing. These are judgments far above out of their sight. Speak to the children of this world of the operations of the Spirit, and you are as a barbarian to them. [4.] The best knowledge of the Spirit of truth is that which is got by experience: You know him, for he dwelleth with you. Christ had dwelt with them, and by their acquaintance with him they could not but know the Spirit of truth. They had themselves been endued with the Spirit in some measure. What enabled them to leave all to follow Christ, and to continue with him in his temptations? What enabled them to preach the gospel, and work miracles, but the Spirit dwelling in them? The experiences of the saints are the explications of the promises; paradoxes to others are axioms to them. [5.] Those that have an experimental acquaintance with the Spirit have a comfortable assurance of his continuance: He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you, for the blessed Spirit doth not use to shift his lodging. Those that know him know how to value him, invite him and bid him welcome; and therefore he shall be in them, as the light in the air, as the sap in the tree, as the soul in the body. Their communion with him shall be intimate, and their union with him inseparable. [6.] The gift of the Holy Ghost is a peculiar gift, bestowed upon the disciples of Christ in a distinguishing way-them, and not the world; it is to them hidden manna, and the white stone. No comforts comparable to those which make no show, make no noise. This is the favour God bears to his chosen; it is the heritage of those that fear his name.