Let’s explore God’s vocabulary via a word study. What is the biblical meaning of helper? Our culture has it wrong. There are profound differences between God’s definition of helper and our cultural stereotype of that role. Much church teaching (and many Christian wives and husbands) get it wrong as well. When God says “helper” it’s not a put down but a revelation of expertise offered in love.
Check it out for yourself – do your own word study. I’ve listed below every bible verse that uses the noun “helper.” Savor what you see. Drink it in. You’ll discover that when God says “helper” He refers to someone with great skill – someone like Himself.
Helper: Verse Chart
The following verses will show you what God means when He refers to helpers. As you read each verse, look to see who is identified as the helper. Notice also how the helper is described. [Note: Sometimes English translates the original language as HELPER and sometimes translates it as HELP.]
|TEXT||WHO IS THE HELPER?|
|Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a HELPER suitable for him.||_____________|
|Genesis 2.20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a HELPER suitable for him.||_____________|
|Exodus 18:4 And the other [son of Moses and Zipporah] was named Eliezer, for he said “The God of my father was my HELP, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”||_____________|
|Deuteronomy 33:7 [Moses’ blessing to Judah] And this regarding Judah, so he said “Hear O Lord the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people. With his hand she contended for them, and mayest Thou be a HELP against his adversaries.”||_____________|
|Deuteronomy 33:26 There is none like the God of Jeshurun [Israel] Who rides the heavens to your HELP, and through the skies in His majesty.||_____________|
|Deuteronomy 33:29 Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your HELP, and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies shall cringe before you, and you shall tread upon their high places.||_____________|
|Psalms 20:2 May He send you HELP from the sanctuary and support you from Zion!||_____________|
|Psalms 33:20 Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our HELP and our shield. [v. 21 For our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name.]||_____________|
|Psalms 70:5 But I am afflicted and needy; hasten to me, O God! Thou art my HELP and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.||_____________|
|Psalms 89:19 Once Thou didst speak in vision to Thy godly ones and didst say “I have given HELP to one who is mighty. I have exalted one chosen from the people.”||_____________|
|Psalms 115:9-11 O Israel, trust in the Lord. He is their HELP and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord He is their HELP and their shield. 11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their HELP and their shield.||_____________|
|Psalms 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my HELP come? 2 My HELP comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.||_____________|
|Psalms 124:8 Our HELP is in the name of the Lord; Who made heaven and earth.||_____________|
|Psalms 146:5 How blessed is he whose HELP is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God;||_____________|
|Isaiah 30:5 Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them, Who are not for HELP or profit, but for shame and also for reproach.||_____________|
|Ezekiel 12:14 And I shall scatter to every wind all who are around him [the prince of a rebellious house], his HELPERS and all his troops, and I shall draw out a sword after them.||_____________|
|Daniel 11:34 Now when they [those who have insight] fall they will be granted a little HELP and many will join with them in hypocrisy.||_____________|
|Hosea 13:9 It is your destruction, O Israel, that you are against Me, against your HELP.||_____________|
|Hebrews 13:6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my HELPER, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”||_____________|
A Few Questions
Now that you’ve made your observations, think about these questions – they’ll help you figure out the biblical meaning of helper.
- How many times does this word describe Eve? ___ God? ___ Unnamed people? ___
- What do these numbers tell you about who best illustrates what it means to be a helper?
- How does our culture define “being a helper”?
- What do the descriptions of God reveal about “being a helper”?
- Before doing this word study, how did you respond to the idea of “being a helper”? Did you feel honored? Did you know that your relationship with your husband was being compared with God’s relationship with us?
- Has your response to the idea of being a “helper” changed? How?
- Would you be willing (with love and wisdom) to gift your husband with your skills?
Some Extra Information for the Curious
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, later translated into Greek, and even later translated into other languages such as English. The word “helper” which we read in our English Old Testaments started out as the Hebrew word “ezer.” In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for helper (“ezer”) became the Greek word “boethos.” The New Testament was written in Greek and later translated into English and other languages. The Greek word for “helper” (“boethos”) occurs only once in the Greek New Testament, in Hebrews 13:6. All other uses of the English word “helper” in the New Testament stem from different Greek words.
The Biblical Meaning of Helper
© Lynne Fox, 2013