June 28, 2024
Ministry Voice

Understanding the Significance of Abba in Greek


Parts of Speech: Noun

Abba Definition

NAS Word Usage – Total: 3
Abba = “father”

  1. father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee “ABBA” through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.


What is the significance of the term “Abba” in Greek when used in the Bible?

In the New Testament, one term that holds great significance is “Abba” when used in the context of the Bible. This term, originating from the Greek language, is not just a mere word but carries a deep and profound meaning in the Christian faith.

The term “Abba” is a transliteration of the Aramaic word “אַבָּא” which means “father.” It represents an intimate and personal way of addressing God as a loving and caring father. It reflects a close relationship with God, one filled with trust, love, and familiarity.

When Jesus used the term “Abba” in the Bible, especially in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew, it was a revolutionary concept in the religious context of that time. In Judaism, addressing God with such intimacy and warmth was uncommon, as God was often seen as distant and unapproachable. However, Jesus, by using the term “Abba,” revealed a new understanding of God as a father who is close to his children.

The significance of the term “Abba” goes beyond just a word for father; it symbolizes the believer’s adoption into the family of God. In the book of Romans (Romans 8:15), the term is used in the context of believers being adopted as God’s children, allowing them to cry out to God as “Abba, Father.” This adoption signifies a new relationship with God based on love, grace, and acceptance.

How Does the Term “Abba” Reflect the Intimate Relationship Between Believers and God in the New Testament?

The term “Abba” holds a significant place in the New Testament as a testament to the intimate relationship between believers and God. In Greek, “Abba” translates to “Father,” but its meaning goes beyond a simple familial title. This term is most notably used in the New Testament in the books of Mark, Romans, and Galatians.

In Mark 14:36, Jesus addresses God as “Abba, Father,” in a moment of deep anguish and surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane. This intimate invocation of “Abba” signifies a close and personal relationship between Jesus and God, highlighting a sense of trust, reliance, and affection.

In the book of Romans, Paul writes about the believers’ newfound relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, allowing them to cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). This expression of “Abba” portrays a sense of security and closeness, emphasizing the believers’ status as adopted children of God.

The term “Abba” in the New Testament transcends a mere translation of “Father” in Greek; it embodies a profound sense of intimacy, trust, and affection between believers and God. It reflects a relationship based on love, reliance, and acceptance, portraying God not only as a distant deity but as a compassionate and loving Father who invites his children to approach him with familiarity and reverence.

In what ways does the use of “Abba” reveal the concept of fatherhood in the context of Greek culture during biblical times?

In the Bible, the term “Abba” holds special significance when it comes to understanding the concept of fatherhood in the context of Greek culture during biblical times. This Aramaic word, which means “father,” is notably used in the New Testament to address God. By delving into the cultural nuances and linguistic implications, we can decipher the depth of the relationship between God and His followers during ancient Greek biblical times.

The word “Abba” was not solely a Greek term but rather an Aramaic one, indicating a more intimate and affectionate way of addressing one’s father. Unlike the more formal term “Father” (Pater in Greek), “Abba” implies a closer, more personal relationship. This stands in contrast to the distant and authoritative view of a father figure prevalent in many ancient Greek cultural contexts.

The significance of using “Abba” to address God in the New Testament is profound. It portrays a relational aspect of the divine that was revolutionary for its time. It demonstrates a closeness and familiarity with God that was not commonly expressed in Greek religious or cultural practices. By using “Abba,” the writers of the New Testament emphasized the loving and caring nature of God, inviting believers to approach Him with reverence but also with trust and intimacy.

In the Gospel of Mark, for example, Jesus addresses God as “Abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane, showcasing a moment of vulnerability and deep connection between the earthly son and the heavenly Father. This usage of “Abba” highlights the emotional depth of the father-son relationship within the context of Greek cultural norms, which typically placed emphasis on hierarchy and respect in familial roles.


In conclusion, the term “Abba” holds significant meaning in the context of the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. This Greek word, derived from Aramaic, reflects a deep sense of intimacy and familiarity in the relationship between believers and God. It portrays a relational closeness, as seen in Jesus’ own use of the term when addressing God. Understanding the richness of the word “Abba” can deepen one’s appreciation of the loving and personal nature of the connection between individuals and their Heavenly Father in the Biblical narrative.

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