When our family moved from Montreal, Canada to the Upstate of South Carolina I discovered that our new home was located in what’s known informally as “the Bible Belt”. The Bible Belt refers to the southeastern and south-central States, where conservative evangelical Protestantism has a dominant role in politics and in society in general, and church attendance is higher than the national average. I have also observed that many people here seem to take seriously the Scripture verse that states, “And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven,” (Matthew 23:9, NIV). Surprisingly, to me, many of the children address their earthly fathers as “Sir”, which seems rather formal. On the other hand, our children grew up calling their father “Daddy”, which is informal and reflects the bond of closeness.
Thus, as we look at the meaning of “Abba”, we discover that it means “Father”, the equivalent of a child’s use of “Daddy” and the most intimate of the names of God. The close-knit bond revealed in the use of “Abba” is emphasized in the New Testament. In fact, the name Abba only occurs three times (in the KJV)—in Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; and Galatians 4:6--and is only used by Jesus and the apostle, Paul. This reflects the intimate relationship that Jesus had with His Father-dad, but also demonstrates, via Paul’s usage of Abba, that we may also experience that closeness with our heavenly Father-dad.
The name. Abba”, reveals the facet of His character as our loving Father. When we informally chat with Him, when we tell Him how our day has gone, our successes and our excitement, or our failures and disappointments, we don’t address Him as ‘Sir’. We approach Him as our Heavenly Father-Dad, laying our lives before Him, sharing our most guarded secrets and dreams. He listens and responds to our heart’s desires and to our heartaches. He guides us, watches over us, and supplies our needs. Furthermore, Jesus taught His listeners, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). How much more will your ABBA in heaven give you good gifts when you ask Him? Go ahead: ask Him!
Thank You, Abba!
Suggested Daily Scripture Readings:
Saturday- Mark 14:36
Sunday- Romans 8:14-17
Monday- Galatians 4:1-7
Tuesday- Matthew 7:7-11
Wednesday- John 14:1-13
Thursday- Ephesians 1:3-10
Friday- 2 Corinthians 6:16-18
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)