What does the phrase “Abba Father” mean? 


By BibleAsk Team

Abba Father

“Abba” is a transliteration of Aramaic, the language generally spoken by the Jews in Palestine. “Father” is translated from the Greek, a language also known by many Palestinian Jews. The using of the word “Father,” first from Aramaic and then from Greek, shows the bilingual nature of the people to whom Christianity was preached. Some commentators say that the Greek was added by Paul and Mark merely to explain the meaning of the Aramaic term to their Greek-speaking readers. Other Bible scholars suggest that this repetition was made to show strong feelings.

Bible References 

Abba is always followed by the word Father in Scripture, and the phrase is found in three passages: 

Jesus prayed to the Father in Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). 

About the Spirit’s work of adoptions which makes the believers God’s children and heirs with Christ, Paul wrote, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).  

And the apostle Paul added, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6).   

Who Are the True Children of the Father? 

There is a false belief that simply because Christ died for all men, all will therefore be saved. The Bible teaches that the decisive factor lies with men themselves. Humans may choose to respond to God’s love or they may choose to reject it. Joshua urged the Israelites to make a spiritual choice, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Because of sin, man had lost all his rights and deserved the punishment of death (Romans 6:23). But through the plan of salvation, God gave man the chance to know and to choose Him (John 3:16). To become a son, or child, of God is to enter into the covenant relationship with Him (Hosea 1:10) by the new birth (John 3:3).

God does not arbitrarily make men His sons; He empowers them to become so only if they so choose (John 11:52; 1 John 3:1, 2, 10; 5:2).  The apostle John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). To believe on the name of Christ is to claim by faith God’s promises for forgiveness and victory over sin (1 John 1:9).

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s prayer starts with the words “‘Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9) which is similar to Abba Father. What an endearing word – Father! The Lord is our Father by both creation and redemption. We may be unworthy to call Him “Father,” but whenever we do so in honesty, He accepts us with rejoicing (Luke 15:21–24) and declares us to be His sons and daughters.  

In spite of the intimate, personal relationship between the “Father” in heaven and believers, they will nevertheless always be aware of His infinite majesty and greatness (Isaiah 57:15) and of their own utter insignificance (Matthew 6:5). John declared, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).

God’s gracious act is revealed in taking repentant sinners into His family and calling them His children. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this (John 15:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

Categories God

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