What does “Abba” mean? It is a term of endearment for children for their father. Jesus used same Greek word in His Gethsemane prayer in Mark 14:36. In Jesus’ day, it was a form of loving, personal address from a child to his or her dad. A similar concept is found in our word daddy.
But why do we call to Him as “Abba”? Because we have been adopted by Him into His family. In Greek, “adoption” is made from two words: “son” and “to place.” In other words, “to place as a son.” When we are born again, we are placed by God into His family. God’s only natural Son is Jesus: the rest of us are all adopted. It’s the only way into His family. The process of a legal adoption, with all the accompanying rights and privileges, is in view here.
This is a New Testament idea. The concept of being adopted by Jehovah is not found in the Law of Moses. In Deuteronomy, we find the term “God” in various forms over 500 times, but God is never once addressed as “Father.” Note the difference in the two covenants. In Jesus’ teaching, we are emphatically instructed to address God as Father.
Note what Jesus says about His Father:
Jesus refers to Himself as the only begotten Son – John 3:16
The Father rewards the obedient – Matthew 6:1
He forgives the disobedient – Matthew 6:14
He restores prodigals – Luke 15:11
God is our heavenly Father – Matthew 6:4
The Father should be prayed to – Matthew 6:9
Jesus was about His Father’s business – Luke 2:49
Jesus committed His spirit into His Father’s hands – Luke 23:46
He said that He and His Father are one – John 10:30
The Father bears witness to Jesus’ son ship – Mark 1:11
The Father loves the Son – John 3:35, 5:20
He sent His Son to world – Matthew 11:27
Jesus speaks the words of the Father – John 5:36, 14:24
Jesus trusts the Father – John 11:41
Jesus is in the Father and vice-versa – John 14:10
Jesus will come in the glory of His Father – Matthew 16:27
We can only come to the Father through Jesus – John 14:6
Paul is not having an emotional outburst as he says this word Abba. He is simply stating a fact. We are related to God through Christ as His children. It is our standing, our position that is in view here. The proof of this new relationship is the Spirit of God Himself, for He bears continual witness to the fact of this new relationship deep inside our hearts.