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Headword: Ἀββᾶ
Adler number: alpha,10
Translated headword: Abba, Father
Vetting Status: high
The ancients called God "Father" from a feeling of relationship. Moses said, "You have forsaken God who begot you."[1] And Malachi: "One God begot us and is our father."[2] They were in a state of grace, moved by the force of the Spirit. Just as there is the Spirit of wisdom by which fools have become wise (for this is clear from the teachings), and the Spirit of power by which they raised both the weak and the dead, and the Spirit of prophecy, and the Spirit of tongues, so also there is the Spirit of adoption.[3] And just as we know the Spirit of prophecy, through which one who has it is moved by grace to tell the future, so also the Spirit of adoption, through which one moved by the Spirit calls God "Father." One who wishes to show that this is most legitimate even used a Hebrew word. For he did not say "Father" but "Abba the Father." This is the word used especially by legitimate children for their father.[4]
Greek Original:
Ἀββᾶ: ὁ πατήρ. οἱ μὲν παλαιοὶ ἐκάλουν πατέρα τὸν θεὸν ἐξ οἰκείας διανοίας, ὡς Μωϋσῆς: θεὸν τὸν γεννήσαντά σε ἐγκατέλιπες: καὶ Μαλαχίας: ὁ θεὸς εἷς ἐγέννησεν ἡμᾶς καὶ πατήρ: οἱ δὲ ἐν χάριτι, ἀπὸ πνευματικῆς ἐνεργείας κινούμενοι. ὥσπερ πνεῦμα σοφίας εἶναι, καθ' ὃ σοφοὶ οἱ ἄσοφοι ἐγένοντο [καὶ δηλοῦται τοῦτο ἀπὸ τῆς διδασκαλίας] καὶ πνεῦμα δυνάμεως εἶναι, καθ' ὃ καὶ ἀσθενεῖς καὶ νεκροὺς ἤγειρον, καὶ πνεῦμα προφητείας, καὶ πνεῦμα γλωσσῶν, οὕτω καὶ πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας. καὶ ὥσπερ ἴσμεν τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς προφητείας, ἀφ' ὧν ὁ ἔχων αὐτὸ λέγει τὰ μέλλοντα ὑπὸ τῆς χάριτος κινούμενος, οὕτω δὴ καὶ πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας, ἀφ' οὗ ὁ λαβὼν πατέρα καλεῖ τὸν θεὸν, ὑπὸ πνεύματος κινούμενος. ὁ δὴ βουλόμενος δεῖξαι γνησιώτατον ὂν καὶ τῇ τῶν Ἑβραίων ἐχρήσατο γλώττῃ. οὐ γὰρ εἶπεν ὁ πατὴρ, ἀλλ' ἀββᾶ ὁ πατήρ: ὅπερ τῶν παίδων μάλιστά ἐστι τῶν γνησίων πρὸς πατέρα ῥῆμα.
A paraphrase of St. John Chrysostom, Homily on the Epistle to the Romans PG 60.527.
(Entry placed after alpha 16, Adler reports, in mss GTMB.)
[1] Deuteronomy 32:18 LXX (web address 1).
[2] Malachi 2:10 LXX (web address 2).
[3] cf. Ep.Romans 8:15 (web address 3).
[4] On "Abba," see also alpha 12.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: children; Christianity; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; medicine; religion
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 21 August 1998@16:57:30.
Vetted by:
Samuel Huskey (added links to Bible, changed "sonship" to "filiation") on 15 July 2000@15:01:55.
Catharine Roth (Altered wording.) on 29 July 2000@23:15:23.
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 11 July 2003@08:51:36.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 6 October 2005@08:51:18.
William Hutton (tweaked translation, augmented notes, fixed broken links, added keywords, set status) on 20 August 2007@10:15:40.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 5 August 2013@01:15:24.
David Whitehead (another note; cosmetics) on 28 March 2014@06:14:49.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, added cross-reference) on 28 March 2014@12:15:01.
David Whitehead (coding) on 15 August 2015@07:24:11.


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