Father

Father is a definition of the use of this word in the Bible and its references and meanings to it. Fathers imply a relationship to a son.

Biological Male parent

Father is simply understand as the male parent of any person. This reference is to the biological predecessor of a person. Because of the possibility of death and divorce, and a woman finds it harder to make it through life without a spouse, many women remarry.

When the Bible speaks of a person’s “fathers” then the term extends to any and all male predecessors of that person. Jacob could speak of “his fathers” with the understanding that was a grouping of the people from which he descended, and technically that may include the women and it may include those relatives of his wife also.

Substitution for the biological male parent

This is a step-father technically. It is a new father/husband that takes up a relationship with the woman once her first husband is no longer engaged in a relationship with her.

A moral guide

3. Figurative and Derived Uses (from ISBE)

(a) A spiritual ancestor, one who has infused his own spirit into others, whether good, as Abraham, the father of the faithful, Rom 4:11; or bad, as Joh 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil.” (b) Indicating closest resemblance, kinship, affinity: Job 17:14, “If I have said to corruption, Thou art my father.” (c) A source: Eph 1:17, “Father of glory”; Job 38:28, “Hath the rain a father?” (d) Creator: Jam 1:17, “the Father of lights.” (e) The inventor or originator of an art or mode of life: Gen 4:20, “father of such as dwell in tents” (a hint here of hereditary occupations? Probably not). (f) One who exhibits the fatherly characteristics: Psa 68:5, “a father of the fatherless.” (g) One who occupies a position of counsel, care, or control (frequently applied by sultans to their prime ministers): Gen 45:8, “a father to Pharaoh”; Jdg 17:10, “Be unto me a father and a priest.” (h) A revered or honored superior: 2Ki 5:13, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee”; but especially applied to prophets: 2Ki 2:12, “My father, my father!” also to elderly and venerable men: 1Jo 2:13, “I write unto you, fathers”; hence also, with perhaps an outlook on (2) (a), deceased early Christians: 2Pe 3:4, “from the day that the fathers fell asleep.” An ecclesiastical title, condemned (in principle) by our Lord: Mat 23:9, “Call no man your father on the earth”; but applied, under the power of the Spirit, to members of the Sanhedrin (probably) by Stephen: Act 7:2; and by Paul: Act 22:1, but the latter, perhaps also the former, may simply refer to the elderly among his hearers. Christ’s condemnation is clearly of the praise-seeking or obsequious spirit, rather than of a particular custom.

“Father,” used by Mary of Joseph, in relation to Jesus, equals “putative father,” a necessary reserve at a time when the virgin birth could not yet be proclaimed (Luke 2:49). But note Jesus’ answer: “my Father’s house.”

Note that the concept of “father” in the Bible extends to the people who are the moral patrons or examples or people who a person “follows” to imitate. Jesus rebuked the Jews because they did not make God the Father in heaven “their” father, but had Satan as their father instead. This worthy of meditating upon.

The Jews “followed” or did what Satan wanted them to do, and that relationship established a father-son bond between them. They made Satan their father because they obeyed his desires instead of God’s desires.

See also