Updated: Dec 14, 2019
This word occurs 3 times in the New Testament and is of Semitic (Hebrew) origin.
Mark 14:36 - “ 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”.
Romans 8:15 - “ For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”.
Galatians 4:6 - “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father”.
Much discussion has occurred over the meaning of the double, “Father, O Father”, as the three scriptures above indicate. It could be that Abba was the original word used here and its interpretation of Father was put behind it to tell us what was meant, while leaving the original word intact. It could be that it was repeated to show the urgency, or importance of the “crying out” to the Father. Still other commentaries say that Abba means the more intimate expression of the father of the home, like Daddy or Papa.
Here is what we do know. The Hebrew word for father is Av (Ab). While it can certainly refer to the father of the home, it can also refer to our Heavenly Father or it can refer to a male person of authority such as a king. It would be used as a title of respect.
The Hebrew word Abba comes from the above Hebrew word but it is the more commonly used word when one desires to show more intimacy with their father.
So, in Mark 14:36 when Y'shua (Jesus) is crying out to His Father in heaven, He cries out to Him as Av, which would identify the Heavenly Father as having authority which requires respect; the Almighty. Then Y'shua cries out to Him as Abba, a term showing endearment, closeness, intimacy as shared between a father and son.
The two scriptures from the writings of the Apostle Paul would show the same occurrence of referring to the Father above.
Surely He is our Abba, Father! He is NOT our “homeboy” as some refer to Him today. This is very disrespectful!! He deserves all respect as He is King of kings and Lord of lords and Creator and Savior of the world and all that is in it. He is also our Abba. Our Father and God who desires that we know Him personally and intimately as our loving Daddy and the Father of the family of God.
(All scripture is from the KJV)