In light of tomorrow being Father’s Day in the United States, I wanted to share that Abba does NOT mean “daddy.” I know it is a popular teaching that God the Father is your heavenly daddy, but a closer look at the original languages reveals this is not the case.
Three times Abba Father is found in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). Each time the Aramaic Abba is accompanied by the Greek word Father. Abba Father is a term of respect and reverence. It is an intimate term but again not a term of infancy (“daddy”). “It is a cry of the heart, not a word spoken calmly with personal detachment and reserve, but a word we ‘call’ or ‘cry out'” (George, Galatians NAC, 1994, p. 307). Kenneth Bailey notes, “The Aramaic word abba (father) was used by an Aramaic-speaking person in talking to his or her earthly father. It was also used to address a respected person of rank. A student could use this word to address a teacher or a child his father (Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, 2008, p. 96).
All three times Abba Father is recorded in the NT is in conjunction with prayer. Jesus is praying (calling) to His Abba Father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36), Paul says the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of believers allows them to address God as Abba Father (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). The word Abba is Jesus’s normal way of addressing God. Because Jesus called His Father Abba we too as believers may do the same.
Abba Father, thank You for all that You have done for us. May we worship You in a way that pleases and honors You. May we bring You glory in all that we say and do. Lord, may we revere You and keep your name holy. May our conduct reflect You and give You the respect that You deserve. Lord, thank You that You do not abandon us when we sin. Thank You that Your grace is greater! Prepare us Lord to celebrate Father’s Day. For some this day is one of the most difficult Sundays to attend church. Lord, may we not view You like a Father but as the Father, the ultimate Father and the One in whom all fatherhood flows. Thank You Lord for this reader. Thank You Lord that You have designed and know all languages. No language is better than another, hence the Aramaic Abba alongside the Greek Father. Your Word is truly multilingual yet has one message, Christ crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended for the forgiveness of sins. Lord, may this reader search for themselves what Abba means in its original context. May anyone who reads this blog be a Berean, holding this writing up to the light of Scripture. Father God, thank You for Your care and provision for us. Thank You for being intimately involved in our lives. Thank You that You care for us beyond what we can understand. Thank You Father that we can come to You through Jesus Christ Your Son in the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.