Daily Archives: May 17, 2013

Does “Abba” mean “Daddy”?

You have heard it many times. Many of the things a preacher reads or hears sound good. So, he repeats it the next time he is speaking on a related topic. Then the members of the congregation begin to repeat it to their friends.

Child holding hand of adult.

But, is it true that Abba means something like daddy or papa?

In a series of posts beginning with the word FactChecker, Glenn T. Stanton  tracks down the origin of this idea to the German Lutheran New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias in 1971. He also shows that several other reputable scholar responded in a scholarly way to the claim.

One of the sources he cites is a 1988 article by James Barr:

But in any case it was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father.

Ministers should read Stanton’s blog (here) before completing Sunday’s sermon.

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 ESV)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV)

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV)

HT: BibleX