About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Abba Your Daddy?
Christians call our heavenly Father "daddy" or
"poppa" these days. Is
there Biblical support for this, or is this trend based on Christian
pop-culture? To answer this
question we need to understand the meaning of the Aramaic word
"Abba" and how it's used in the Bible.
14:36 reads, "'Abba, Father'", He (Jesus) said,
"'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not
what I will, but what you will'".
4:6 reads, "because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son
into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father".
8:15 reads, "for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a
slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.
And by Him we cry Abba, Father".
word "Abba" is only used three times in the Bible, and in all
three instances "Abba" precedes the word "Father".
The word "Abba" in our English Bibles is a
is to say, instead of
inventing an English word to correspond with "Abba", Bible
translators simply translated "Abba" into English as
means "father", with the emphasis on an affectionate
relationship that a young child would have with his Father.
Thus the reason why some call Father God "daddy".
word "Father" in the above three verses is translated from the
Greek word "pater". "Pater"
means father, with the emphasis on a more intellectual relationship, as
an older child might have with his father.
The combination of "Abba" and "Pater" was
probably an attempt by Jewish Christians to combine Hebrew and Greek
sentiment which would demonstrate that one's relationship with God could
be personal, not just intellectual.
who actually called God "Abba" in the above verses.
In Matthew 14:36 Jesus cries "Abba Father" while in
agony. In Galatians 4:6 the
Holy Spirit cries "Abba Father".
In Romans 8:15 the Christian, enabled by the Holy Spirit, cries
is important to note that in the New Testament, "Abba Father",
or as Christian pop-culture puts it, "daddy or poppa God", is
only used three times. Out
of those three times, only once does a human being cry "Abba
Father", and that only
by the Holy Spirit's enabling. There
is no New Testament precedent that suggests we can flippantly, or even
casually, call Father God "Abba" or "daddy". According
to the above three verses "Abba" denotes the relationship that
Jesus and the Holy Spirit have with Father God, and only because of the
Holy Spirit can a human enter into that "Abba relationship".
second thing to note is that in all three passages, "Abba" is
not casually spoken. In
Matthew 14:36 Jesus cries "Abba Father" as he sweats blood in
severe anguish as He approaches a death that no human in history would
experience. In Galatians
4:6, the Holy Spirit cries Abba Father.
In Romans 8:15, the Christian, enabled by the Holy Spirit,
"cries" Abba Father.
that the word "cry" precedes the words "Abba Father"
in these passages. The word "cry" is translated from the Greek
word "krazo". "Krazo"
is literally a heart felt cry, often due to pain and suffering.
In Matthew 15:22 a desperate woman "cries out" (krazo)
to Jesus because her daughter suffers from demon possession.
In Mark 15:13 the crowd "cries out" in a hostile rage,
"crucify Jesus". In
Matthew 27:50 Jesus "cries out" to His Father in horrific
terror as He gives up His spirit while hanging on the cross.
I could go on, but I think you can see my point that crying to
"Abba Father is no flippant or casual thing. It's
sum up; the word "Abba" is only used three times in the New
Testament; one time by Jesus; one time by the Holy Spirit;, and one time
when the Holy Spirit enables the believer because he is unable to
express "Abba" on his own. That's
not many times to base a doctrine on.
In all three instances the word "Abba" is
used in an emotional Holy Spirit led plea to our heavenly Father.
There is no hint of any flippant, or even casual use, of the word
"Abba" in the Bible.
understand that "Abba" denotes an affectionate relationship
between a child and his father. By
virtue of this fact, I "might reluctantly" concede that
you could call your heavenly Father "daddy", but even as I say
that, I find no Scriptural support for this, and that's important in my
thinking. If you find
yourself in serious Holy Spirit inspired intercessory prayer, with tears
falling down your cheeks, then you can call God "Abba" or
"daddy" as the Holy Spirit enables you, but just remember, the
God you call "daddy" is a "consuming fire". (Hebrews