Origen: Syriac for beloved father, coming from ab, father, which comes from abah, “he is willing” denoting a father wills and desires all good to his children. The term reads the same forward as backward, showing God is a father to his children from eternity to eternity, from another view, through prosperity or through chastening.
Meaning: An endearing and consoling access to God which every Christian enjoys, provoking a reverent affection from child to father.
Common Use: In Syriac, Coptic and Ethiopic church it is a title used for the bishop. This practice grew until the bishop of Alexandría began to use the title “Baba” or “Papa” (grandfather). This title was taken the bishop of Rome who now is generally understood as the “Pope”. Within Catholicism, the term is used of a superior in a monastery.
The Jews used this title of certain Rabbins called Tanaites.
Biblical Use: Mark and Paul use this work in Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6, and Jesus uses it in His agony in Mark 14:36. It apparently was clearly understood in their time within the Jewish community and early Christian primitive assemblies. The concept behind the term has to be an understanding of free entrance to the “abba” (father), and of a free flow of blessing and gifts from the abba to the person. It captures the concept of a deep and beautiful relationship between two people, one of whom (the abba) has all to give and highly desires to show his burning love through good deeds to the other person who has great need.
For Christ, this term relates directly with God the Father from the point where the Father “beget” the Son. For the Christian, this term centers around our spiritual adoption by God.
“It is thought by Selden, Witsius, Doddridge, and others, that Saint Paul alluded to a law among the Jews which forbade servants or slaves to call their master Abba, or Father; and that the apostle meant to convey the idea that those who believed in Christ were no longer slaves to sin; but being brought into a state of holy freedom, might consequently address God as their Father.” [Buck]
A Syriac word, signifying Father. It is more particularly used in the Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic churches, as a title given to the bishops. The bishops themselves bestowed the title ABBA more eminently on the bishop of Alexandria, which occasioned the people to give him the title of Baba or Papa; that is, Grandfather: a title which he bore before the bishop of Rome. It is a Jewish title of honour given to certain Rabbins called Tanaites: it is also used by some writers of the middle age for the superior of a monastery. St. Mark and St. Paul use this word in their Greek,Mark 14:36. Rom. 8:15. Gal. 4:6. because it was then commonly known in the synagogues and the primitive assemblies of the Christians. It is thought by Selden, Witsius, Doddridge, and others, that Saint Paul alluded to a law among the Jews which forbade servants or slaves to call their master Abba, or Father; and that the apostle meant to convey the idea that those who believed in Christ were no longer slaves to sin; but being brought into a state of holy freedom, might consequently address God as their Father.
ABBA, A Syriac word, signifying a beloved father. The word is used by our Lord in his agony, Mark 14:36, and by Paul, when he recounts to the believers of Rome and Galatia, their glorious privileges, foremost of which he places “the spirit of adoption, by which they cry Abba Father.” Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6. We thus perceive, both in the term itself, and the manner of using it, how endearing and consoling is the access to God which the Christian enjoys.
Abba. – The Aramaic, or late Hebrew, word for “Father.” [Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.] It is a modified form of the more ancient Hebrew word “Ab,” and expresses reverent affection. But it was probably used more generally by the Jews than its sacred use in the New Testament indicates, and thus passed into ecclesiastical language among the Christians of Palestine, Egypt, and Ethiopia, as the designations of a bishop or the head of a monastery [Gr. Abbas], just as “Father in God” is one of the designations of an English bishop. Through the intermediary forms, “baba” and “papa” the word was the original of the title “Papa,” or “Pope,” assumed by the Bishops of Rome. [Pope.]
ABBA, is a Syriac appellative, from the Hebrew word ab, a father, which comes from abah, he was willing; denoting that a father wills and desires all good to his children. It reads the same backward as forward: God is a father to his children from eternity to eternity.
ABBA, a Syriac word, signifying father. It being the same whether we read it backward or forward, may perhaps hint to us, that God’s fatherly affection to his people, is the same, whether he smile on them by prosperity, or chasten them by heavy crosses and sore adversity. The Spirit of adoption making the saints cry ABBA, FATHER, imports, that by his influence, both Jews and Gentiles, as one united body, have the most assured faith in, love to, and familiar intercourse with God, Rom 8:15,Gal 4:6.
Abba, Aramaic, Father
A term borrowed from childhood’s language to express filial address to God (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). The corresponding Hebrew word is Ab; it is common in compound proper names in the forms Ab and Abi, as Abimelech, Abner, or Abiner, Eliab.