I recently spoke on this subject during my weekly Facebook/YouTube video teaching, but most who receive my Weekly Thoughts do not watch those videos, and for those that do, this can go into more detail than a 9 minute video.
Many years ago I was in a particular city to minister in an 'auditorium' church. As the pastor and I talked he kept referring to the Father as 'daddy': "We will see what daddy thinks about that", and "Daddy has been so gracious to us" and so on.
I have to be honest - it didn't feel right inside, in fact the Holy Spirit in my spirit was horribly grieved, and I didn't know why. After all, the teaching going around was that 'abba' meant 'daddy' in Hebrew, so why not address the Father God as daddy; Jesus did, didn't He?
I set about to study and think through why the Spirit and my spirit were grieved when that pastor and through the years, many others, used 'daddy' to talk of the heavenly Father.
In English, daddy is used by young children who do not have an intellectual understanding of what it means to be a father. My daddy can do anything. My daddy is the strongest man in the world. My daddy is perfect. It's just me and my daddy.
All those uses of daddy are typical in English, and again, it is used by a young child who knows nothing of what it is to be a father. Daddy is part hero, part perfection, part playmate, part absolute authority, but always the one who can make you feel like you are the only one in the world in his eyes. Daddy.
The word father however, carries with it an intellectual understanding of the man, their father. Father is a husband. Father works hard for a living to provide the roof over my head and food on the table. Father is absolute authority. Father is someone I don't want to get on his bad side. Father carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. The word father carries with it an understanding of what it means to be a man and provider and the essence of responsibility.
Somewhere in my teen years the distinction between 'dad' and 'father' came into my understanding, and I would use either at the appropriate time. 'Sure dad' meant I would jump up to empty the trash in response to him asking me to do so. "Yes Father" meant he was commanding me to empty the trash, or disciplining me, for a couple of examples.
The answer to that is, no, He did not call His Father, 'daddy'.
When teaching, Jesus never referred to His Father as 'abba Father'. He did not tell us to pray, 'Our Abba Father, who art in heaven..." He never said the Abba Father wants us to bear much fruit, just the Father wants us to bear much fruit.
None of Paul's prayers are to Abba Father. In Ephesians 1: 17, 3: 14-20, it is to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not Abba Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. When speaking of the act of salvation the Father brought, Paul never speaks of the Father as 'Abba Father' who brought salvation. Not even John 3: 16 says, "For Abba Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."
If 'abba' means 'daddy', why not use it in prayer? Why not refer to the Father as Abba Father when teaching of salvation?
The word 'abba' is used only 3 times in the New Testament: Mark 14: 36, Romans 8: 15, Galatians 4: 6.
It is an Aramaic word - not Greek, not Hebrew. In each place it is used it is followed by the Greek: pater (Father).
"...to redeem those who were under the law so you could be adopted as sons into His family. Because you are His sons, God the Father sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, 'Abba, Father!' For you are no longer a slave (under the law), but a son..." Galatians 4: 5-7
"..for you did not receive the spirit of slavery again (the law) to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption as sons, therefore we (joyfully) cry out, 'Abba! Father!' Romans 8: 15
"...and He said, 'Abba, Father', all things are possible for you. Take this cup from me, nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will!" Mark 14: 36, Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His (voluntary) arrest.
Those are the 3 uses of 'Abba, Father' in the New Testament. Notice that 'abba' is always followed by 'father', meaning 'Father' is there to help modify and provide context and definition of 'abba'. Abba never stands alone. It's always with Father.
There is no direct translation of 'abba' to English
So we need to look at the word historically, how it was used in Jewish culture, and then put that in the contexts of the above 3 verses to gain an accurate understanding.
In the Talmud the word 'abba' was used when speaking of respected rabbi's who held positions of honor and authority. A lesser ranked or esteemed rabbi would never refer to their superior as 'daddy', but abba was used with 'father' as a term of endearment. It carried with it the intellectual element of understanding which is why 'father' was used with it.
In Jewish society adult children called their own father 'abba father' as a term of endearment once again. Not just the core 'father' meaning a classification of who that man is in their life, but 'abba' father meaning he is their father, their dear father.
The closest translation of 'abba' to our understanding is: 'Dearest' or 'Precious'. (My dearest, My precious)
Notice in scripture both times Paul uses the terms he is contrasting the difference between being in bondage to the Mosaic law versus being a child of God. Both times he says we have been adopted, THEREFORE we, or our spirit-man, calls out 'abba father'.
Change 'daddy' in those verse to 'dearest' or 'precious' to understand abba father.
"...because we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons...our spirit cries out, '(My) precious Father!' '(My) dearest Father!'
"...you have received the adoption as sons, therefore we (joyfully) cry out, 'Precious and dearest Father!'
And Jesus in the Garden: "(My) Dearest Father. (My) Precious Father, all things are possible with you. Take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will."
Say that, call out to Him like that - My dearest Father, my precious Father! See how that resonates with your spirit, feels right in your spirit....if you will follow this as I have these (as of this writing) now 44+ years walking with the Father, your world can change....
He is not daddy, He is yours and mine, our, dearest Father, our most precious Father...abba embodies child-like faith coupled with intellectual understanding of Who He is, and who we are...
New subject next week, blessings,
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