We are covering 1 John 3. These are some really interesting verses that could cause the immature to question their salvation, or be used by a legalist to hit people over the head. But it is also a great meditation on the vast, cavernous difference between love and hate, life and death. One hint: Love rules!
Meaning of the word "abba"...
While it is true that "abba" is used as "daddy" in Bible lands today, such wasn't really the case back in Bible times, according to many Bible commentators and linguists. The word appears to have three main connotations:
1. Relationship. This is the one that most closely matches our modern thinking of "daddy." It speaks of God's loving nature, loving us as a father loves a small child.
2. Respect. This is the one that makes calling God "daddy" a bit dicey; it's too casual in the face of God's holy, holy, holiness.
3. Authority. The word "abba" also connotes obedience. We children obey our Father because He is our Father.
"Dear Father" is suggested as the best understanding of "abba." It reflects our intimate relationship with God, our respect for His holiness and our submission to Him.
It seems clear that the authors of the above comments are hoping to dissuade people from starting their prayers with, "Hey, Dad. What's new?"
Dain Spore is Pastor of Kauai Christian Fellowship.
He is Co-Founder of Christ's Love and Majesty Ministries.