Father Figures: Abba Father

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

[Galatians 4:6]

Recommended Reading

Romans 8:15

In the West, English-speaking children refer to their male parent with a variety of words: Dad, Daddy, Papa, Father, Pop. In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, there was one primary word for “father”: Abba, an offshoot of Hebrew Ab. Besides being a term of respect, Abba was also a term of warm intimacy. Some modern English paraphrases of the Bible translate Abba as “Papa,” like a small child would say to a father he loved.

Abba is only used three times in the New Testament. Significantly, Jesus used it to address His own Father when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion (Mark 14:36). It was the prayer of a Son who called out to the only Person who could sustain Him—His own Heavenly Father. The apostle Paul suggests we do the same in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6. The Spirit in us gives us freedom to call out to our “Papa Father” in time of need.

When you pray, picture the God who Jesus called “Papa,” and pray the same way.

Prayer is the soul’s breathing itself into the bosom of its heavenly Father.

~ Thomas Watson ~

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