|artwork by Kimberly Simmons|
Because I was so loved by my own sweet Daddy, Eston Willis, who led me to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and introduced me to an in-depth study of Romans Chapter Eight, I felt compelled to do a word study of Abba, Father from Romans 8:14-15…
Amplified: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
NLT: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Phillips: All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father.”
Wuest: For as many as are being constantly led by God’s Spirit, these are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again with resulting fear, but you received the Spirit who places you as adult sons, by whom we cry out with deep emotion, Abba, [namely] Father.
Young's Literal: for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God; for ye did not receive a spirit of bondage again for fear, but ye did receive a spirit of adoption in which we cry, `Abba—Father.'
Abba is transliterated as Abba into English from the corresponding Aramaic word which was used in the everyday language of families as a term addressing one's father. Children, as well as adult sons and daughters, used Abba when speaking to their fathers. And so Abba conveys a warm, intimate sense. Abba emphasizes the warm, intimate, and very personal relationship which exists between the believer and God. In Abba, filial tenderness, trust, and love find their combined expression.
Pastor Wayne Barber explains, “Abba is Aramaic and comes from the first word that a little child ever says…like our English "Da Da". The disposition of fear of punishment is gone and replaced by a reverential awe. And now our spirit can cry out Abba…Father…"I need help. Daddy…I'm going through a difficult time." This is a beautiful picture for every son (and daughter) of God. This truth ought to affect your attitude (and acceptance) regarding whatever the Lord is allowing to transpire in your life. You are a child of God and He is control of everything that you are experiencing…and you can cry out to Him and run to Him and He is always there
Pastor Ray Pritchard writes, “This (that we can cry out "Abba! Father!") is truly good news. You don’t have to scream at God to get his attention. You simply say, “Daddy,” and He hears your voice. You whisper His name in the darkness and He comes to your aid. When we come to Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us new life and the assurance that we are God’s children. This is the “still, small voice” of God that speaks to the soul and whispers, “You are now a child of God.” That same Holy Spirit within us cries out “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” comes from an Aramaic word that little children would use to speak to their fathers. It is an intimate, personal word of endearing affection. In English you might say “Dad” or “Daddy” or “Papa” or “Dear Father.” It’s a very tender way of talking to our Heavenly Father. No longer is He some distant God up in the sky. Now he is our “Heavenly Daddy.”
Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon has said: “Oh, blessed, blessed state of heart to feel that now we are born into the family of God, and that the choice word which no slave might ever pronounce may now be pronounced by us, “Abba”! It is a child’s word, such as a little child utters when first he opens his mouth to speak, and it runs the same both backwards and forwards,—AB-BA. Oh to have a childlike spirit that, in whatever state of heart I am, I may still be able to say, in the accents even of spiritual infancy,” Abba, Father!"
Spurgeon continues, “Indwelling the believer, the Holy Spirit bears witness "with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The witness of the Spirit is in the Word of God, and because the believer has accepted His witness as to redemption, he knows therefore that God is His Father, and, being born again, that he is in the family of God. He produces in the believer the consciousness of being a child of God, as well as the affections of a child. "We have this testimony in our hearts in our relationship with God; but the Holy Spirit Himself, as distinct from us, bears this testimony to those in whom He dwells. The true believer knows that he recognizes in his heart God as his Father, but He also knows that the Holy Spirit bears the same testimony to him. That which is founded on the Word is realized and verified in the heart."
Spurgeon concludes, "The witness of the Spirit is more than "a good feeling," it is the deep consciousness produced by believing the Word, in the power of the Spirit of God, that we are the children of God. The Spirit brings about a response in our hearts to the love of God that cries out, "Abba! Father!" The witness of the Holy Spirit that you are a child of God is not a testimony to a neutral heart with no affection for God's fatherly love; so that your neutral heart can draw the logical conclusion that it is a child of God and then try to muster up some appropriate affections. That is not the picture. No. The witness of the Holy Spirit that you are a child of God IS the creation in you of affections for God. The testimony of the Holy Spirit IS the cry, "Abba! Father!"
Thank you, Lord, that we can simply say, "Daddy," and You hear our voice, and You meet us right at the point of our need...Praise Your Holy Name!
Previous word studies from Romans Chapter Eight…
12 word studies from Ephesians Chapter One…