Ever heard this one?
Abba is a child’s word, one of the first words a little Jewish boy would say. Kind of like our word pappa. It’s a term of endearment, not an official title. This shows that God is our Daddy! How comforting! How joyous! He’s not a big scary God! He’s Daddy!
As a pastor, it saddens me to be lumped in with pastors who take liberties with facts. So many cookie cutter sermon illustrations are flat-out wrong. The “abba means daddy” one is no different.
It’s complete hooey.
I am preaching out of Romans 8 this Sunday and the verse that says, “ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” In looking up some info on the internets I came across this article from The Gospel Coalition written recently about this very issue.
Abba doesn’t mean daddy. In fact, after doing some more researching, “Abba” is a Syrian word for father. When the Bible says “Abba Father” it is using the Syrian word and then the Hebrew word for “father.”
There are some who think Paul’s usage of it in Romans is showing there is a unified love God has for all His children–Gentile and Jew by using both a Gentile and a Hebrew word for “father.”
It’s not a child’s word, it’s a Syrian word, a different language. The term means “father,” maybe even “my father.”It was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father.”
Certainly there is a father’s love at work with God, but in order to accentuate the fatherliness of God, there is no need to lie and overdo things.
Fathers are an authority, ones who discipline their children. Yes, there is a unique display of love going on there, one very descriptive of God’s love, but lets not trivialize it.