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May I Call God Daddy? – Does Abba mean Daddy?

No comments | Author: Randy

In a growing trend I have seen Christians referring to God as Daddy, and this use is justified by the explanation that it is a term of endearment, and the claim is made that Jesus and Paul used the equivalent of our English word “daddy”. In this short article we will examine this question and ask what the Bible says. Scripture is our rule of faith!

We will first go to Scripture and look at the use of the term by Jesus:

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36, KJV).

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, He called out to His Father saying, “Abba Father”. Why did He use this term. Some claim that it means daddy but in the context that doesn’t really fit. Also, there is both Greek and Hebrew words that are equivalent to “daddy”, but Jesus didn’t use them. Before we explain the Biblical meaning of Christ using Abba, let’s look at the history.

Where did it all start?

In the late 1960’s a man by the name of Joachim Jeremias wrote a book entitled The Prayers of Jesus, and in this book he states that the use of abba was “the chatter of a small child. . . . a children’s word, used in everyday talk”. It is upon this work that almost all insinuation of abba as daddy stem. Sadly, Jeremias’ view of scripture is that of a higher critic. He sees the usage of “our Father” in the gospels as “unauthentic” and claims that Jesus usage is completely new. Not only that but he claims that it was “disrespectful”, and “irreverent” to the Jews.

Now, let us examine this logically. When Jesus claimed to be God the Jews wanted to stone Him. When Jesus’ disciples picked grain on the sabbath and ate it, they were rebuked by the pharisees. Remember now, that the Jews held the name of God in such reverence that it was not even spoken. Do you think that if Jesus used a term that was considered “disrespectful”, and “irreverent”, that the Jews would not have said something? At least the disciples would have questioned Him on why He would use such an irreverent term. No friends, Jeremias has made this up in his head, through critically dissecting Scripture to fit his fancies. His views hold no Biblical weight.

On page 96 of his book he states that Jesus “spoke with God as a child speaks with his father, simply, intimately, securely, childlike in manner.” At first glance this may sound nice and cozy, but it brings both Christ and God down to our level, making Christ childlike. Even though Jeremias makes questionable claims, does not support his views with Scripture, and is critical of Scripture he disagrees with, he does not state in the book that abba is equivalent to daddy. Others have taken his work and make this assumption based on his used of words such as “childish” and “childlike”.

Where does the word “abba” originate?

“Abba” is a transliterated Aramaic word meaning “father.” Transliteration is not the same as translation. For instance, in the Bible we read of Noah, but in the gospels his name is transliterated as Noe. “Abba” is the determinative
form of the noun ‘ab. What exactly does that mean? Determinative means to settle or define. So we look to the determinative form to define what follows it.

In defining the word determinative, let us not forget the key point that abba is a form of the word ab. Where do we see ab in Scripture? The word ab is used over 1,200 times in the Old Testament and is almost always personalized and preceded by my, our, their your, thy or his. This gives us a very interesting perspective of the meaning of the transliterated abba. Even when preceded by the word the it still denotes a personal connection such as Genesis 4:20

“And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father[ab] of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.” (Genesis 4:20, KJV).

This point is going to make sense when we come full circle in a moment. But first I don’t want us to miss a very important point. Ab is Greek for Father, it is literally translated as Father every time in the Bible.

Abba, Father – the true meaning

As we come back to Mark 14 we are going to find something quite striking. Let’s quickly reread the verse:

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36, KJV).

Now, when we read the gospels we have several accounts and as we compare the gospels we get different perspectives which give us a much broader meaning of the context. If we look at the parallel passages we find clarity:

“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39, KJV).

Notice that when Matthew records what Mark writes as abba, he uses the personal word “my” showing a deep personal relationship with the Father. But we must be careful not to miss the most important part here. Some wish to make this term out to be some childish chatter, which destroys the beauty. The last part of the verse shows that the term, the address, shows a sign of obedience and submission. So it makes complete sense that the two remaining times the word abba is used in the Bible it is speaking to the believers submission to God.

Does it matter? “You do you… don’t be a Pharisee!”

The cool thing to do these days when truth is presented seems to be to call the person a pharisee. But if is truth shouldn’t we follow it? And if it is not truth, should we not seek to love the individual and bring them to the truth? How does Scripture tell us to address God? When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, they weren’t asking because they did not pray. They saw Jesus spend long hours in the early morning and at times all night long in prayer with His Father. They saw the deep connection and they saw that the power attending His work came from this connection and they longed to have that kind of prayer life. So when Christ gives us this answer, should we not accept it?

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9, KJV).

Just as ab in the Old Testament tends to denote a personal relationship, and abba is shown to mean “My Father” (from Matthew 26:39), when Jesus teaches us to pray He tells us to call God “Our Father”. Note, He does not say to call God His Father but ours. We are to have a personal relationship with God… but friends, this gives us no license to call God what we please. It says plainly and clearly to call God our Father. Not daddy! Does it matter? Yes! If it didn’t matter, when Jesus was asked of the Disciples to teach them to pray, He would have simply replied “pray however you like, God doesn’t care how you address Him.” But He didn’t say that, instead He gave us clear instructions how to address God. And the Bible is plain that we are to reverence God:

“God is greatly to be feared[reverenced] in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” (Psalm 89:7, KJV).

The word fear means to reverence, to obey. When Christ was in the garden He submitted to the death on the cross. We too are to submit our worldly ideas and reverence God by addressing Him as He has requested us to do. How are we to serve God?

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” (Hebrews 12:28, KJV).

If there is an acceptable way to serve and worship God then there is an unacceptable way. And if God has given direction to us, then to ignore that direction means our worship is unacceptable to God. The very next verse in Hebrews says for (or because of these things) “Our God is a consuming fire.” Not only does God demand our reverence but He deserves it. Through Creation and Redemption He has bought us twice over.

What is really interesting is that the The Swahili word Bwana, meaning “mister”, “sir”, or “lord”, is derived from the Arabic Abuna (أبونا), “our father”. If we dig deeper we find that contrary to being a childlike chattering term, it is one of sincere personal relationship, one of submission to the Father, willing to obey.

Final reason I believe Paul uses the same term

We have seen the connection of a personal God by the use of Abba. He is our Father too! And to express this idea to its fullest Paul uses the phrase Abba Father:

“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:5-7, KJV).

In Galatians 3:28, Paul has just asserted that there is neither “Jew nor Greek”, meaning that when it comes to salvation Christ died for all, no matter your race. In the very next chapter he speaks to the “adoption” whereby we become sons of God. In this context as Paul uses the phrase “Abba, Father”, we see a connection with Galatians 3:28. When we cry out “Abba Father”, it is not in some childish jibberish, it is not a casual cry of daddy, but a deep and personal cry to a loving and majestic God who cares for us and who has adopted ME as His child. Here is denoted a personal and deep relationship that the term daddy destroys. God is not your daddy, He is your father. He deserves our respect and reverence.

I pray this article was a blessing to you. It is intended to uplift God and Scripture. If you have questions or thoughts please feel free to comment.


Harold Camping and the new date, Oct 21st… it really is going to happen this time!

No comments | Author: Randy

Harold Camping just announced that his dates were maybe not “worked out as accurately as I could have.” – he said that the day was actually a spiritual judgment day and essentially has stated that it is over and nobody will be saved past this point who has not heretofore been saved.

But what is more fascinating and even more scary is that Harold Camping set this date from something that “dawned” on him… no mention is made of studying the Bible and seeing his error just that something dawned on him. I’m sorry but I base my faith on the Bible and the Jesus of that Bible. The Bible says let every man be a liar but God be true.

Now again as I mentioned in my first article about Harold Camping, my fear is that the secular world and even the Christian world will begin to scoff at the notion of the Lord returning for a people.  2 Peter 3:4 says they will say:

Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

As I stated before Harold Camping has no light in him, while very sincere (I believe) he is obviously not getting his inspiration from heaven because God inspired the Bible and it is the foundation of our faith. Harold Camping doesn’t use the Bible to prove anything… he periodically quotes from the Bible but always a verse or two which he misconstrues and manipulates to fit his interpretation. Again I believe unintentional as it may be, it is still very dangerous. In this article we will discuss why October 21st is not the day… and our authority, as usual will be the Bible alone!

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Why Harold Camping was wrong and why the rapture did not occur May 21st 2011

4 comments so far | Author: Randy

As May 21st, 2011 came and went thousands hung their heads in disappointment and shame. While some Christians reached out to those disappointed by the claims of Mr. Camping many so-called Christians railed against Mr. Camping with rage making statements such as “I hope he burns in hell forever” instead of praying for his salvation.

While I believe Harold Egbert Camping was a very sincere man (based on his interviews and his statements I must give him that benefit of the doubt) he was sincerely mistaken in his views. Not because looking back we can see it didn’t happen but because the Bible said it wouldn’t happen. His views of interpreting the Bible were based on his own ideas and had no true foundation in scripture although he held this to be “super important” to him. In this article I will explain why I knew May 21st 2011 was not the date, not because I am smarter than anyone else but because my Bible told me it wasn’t.

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Why Genesis must be a literal 7 day creation week

2 comments so far | Author: Randy

Question from a reader:

“Can a Christian believe in theistic evolution and is it possible that God used evolution and that the 7 day creation week is really symbolic of a evolutionary period? Look forward to your answer.”

Many Christians now days are accepting or at least acknowledging the possibility that God used evolution in the Creation of the world. My basis in this article is not to disprove evolution, instead I wish to show why from a completely Biblical perspective evolution cannot be the vehicle God used to create the world. In other articles I may get into more arguments more focused on the scientific reasoning of atheistic evolutionists but this article is targeted at theistic evolutionists who sincerely believe the two views are compatible… that is God used evolution.

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The Rich Man and Lazarus – Is it Literal or Symbolic?

1 comment so far | Author: Randy

“What about in Luke 16:19-31 when Jesus is talking about the rich man and Lazarus the poor man outside his gateway? god bless you and grace be to you thank you for this article. but i just had this one question”

This question was user-submitted in response to the article: Do you go straight to Heaven when you die?

I know some of you are thinking about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus and wondering how that relates to our previous article on what happens after death. Well lets read that parable and see what is going on… first of all, if your reading this article after clicking a link from a blog or from a search result off Google or Bing then please read the first article that spawned this article. It lays serious ground work for this article and it is all based on scripture. Want to know where your loved ones are? The Bible has encouragement and presents the only true picture:

Do you go straight to Heaven when you die?

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Do you go straight to Heaven when you die?

18 comments so far | Author: Randy

Probably one of the most controversial topics among people today is what happens to a person after they die. Are the dead really dead? Do they know anything, do they go straight to heaven when they die,  are they sent to purgatory or even s0me other place… maybe even hell? The fact is we all know that our bodies are terminal, we will someday die, but these are questions we all desire an answer to. What consolation and insight does the Bible give to us on the subject of death? Does the Bible clearly give an answer to the above questions? Can we truly be certain what happens to the dead? I firmly believe we can, so join me in this study as we uncover the truth about death.

As always I ask that you pray before you study, ask God to lead and guide you as you study this important topic. That His light will clearly show the truth… the Bible says His word is a light unto our path. And He has promised that the truth will set us free. So as we study this topic let us be open to the truth of God and what the scriptures say.

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The Mark of the Beast and the Sunday Law

No comments | Author: Randy

Hello everyone, before we begin I would like to ask a few favors of you. First, before we begin I suggest you read the previous articles from the Sabbath Truth series, they will lay a groundwork upon which this article stands, otherwise you may wonder when I make references what I am referring to.   You can view the whole series here, Sabbath Truth Series –  Secondly, please pray that God will guide you as you read this article and lead you to study His word and that nothing you have been taught previously will stand against His truth. This site is not here to indoctrinate you with my beliefs, it is here to promote the reading and studying of the Bible for yourself, the Bible teaches that we should test everything with the scriptures, don’t test it with your pastor but with the scriptures. Men may make mistakes, God doesn’t. I strongly believe that God has inspired the Bible to be written in such a way that if we search the scriptures diligently we can be sure of each of the truths it contains.

So lets get started… in this article we will be discussing what I believe to be a very important issue at the end of time.  Actually THE issue of the end times… and that is the test of worship. We will be going to the Bible and as always it will be our only rule of faith. God bless you as you study this subject with me. Questions and comments are welcome!

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What does the bible say about abortion?

2 comments so far | Author: Randy

You’d be surprised how many people come to the Bible hoping for some scriptural proof for their decision to commit an abortion, some verse in the bible backing the abortion of their child. I am going to be honest with you right now, its not there. But if you want to know and follow what the Bible says about abortion and the sanctity of life please read this article and look up the numerous bible verses on this subject. What does the Bible say about abortion? Believe it or not there are pastors and writers who distort the bible and what it says into what they believe is support for abortion. As always I am not interested in what man says, and I could care less what the laws of our country say about abortion and whether they consider it a life or not, I want to know what the Bible calls it and I want to know what the holy standard of God calls it. And that is obviously what you want as well or you wouldn’t be at this site… so lets get started studying this issue.

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Does the sabbath really matter?

1 comment so far | Author: Randy

Whats the big deal anyways? God doesn’t care which day I keep as long as I keep it to Him, does He?
I submit to you that it does matter, it matters a great deal and the Bible says so. I also submit to you that the test at the end of time will be this very issue, who will keep the sabbath and have the seal of God or who will keep Sunday. This is a very important issue, if you want to know what the bible says then keep reading. I don’t know about you but I want to know the truth, it doesn’t matter what I believe if it contradicts what the Bible says.

I am going to, after I finish this article begin a series on Revelation, the mark of the beast, the seal of God, the three angels messages and how they all fit together and what they all mean. This isn’t popular stuff but it is the truth and if you allow me the opportunity I would like to show you this from the Bible. If you don’t understand something feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. So with that lets begin.

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Let no man therefore judge you in your sabbath days

1 comment so far | Author: Randy

In our previous article Sabbath, Saturday or Sunday? we discussed what the bible really has to say about the sabbath, the history of the sabbath and a few of the popular arguments sunday-keepers give and what the bible has to say about those arguments. In this article I would like to look at some popular verses in the bible which are used to argue that the sabbath was dtone away at the cross and we no longer need to keep it holy. Part of this also deals with the fact that many Christians feel that the sabbath is somehow associated with the mosaic or ceremonial laws. Is this true? Was the sabbath nailed to the cross?

If you want to see what the bible says about this please join me in this discussion. Your comments are welcomed!

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