Why “Abba” Does Not Mean “Daddy”

Justin Taylor: We are sometimes told that the Aramaic word Abba in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 indicates that we are to address God the Father as “Daddy” as an expression of  reverential relational intimacy. The New Testament scholar Murray Harris—who has been called one of the great Greek minds of our day—talks about why this is not true. The following is an excerpt from his book Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament: It is true that in the Jewish Talmud and other Jewish documents we find statements such as “When a child experiences the taste of wheat (i.e., when it is weaned), it learns to say ’abbā and ’immā” (Berakot 40a in the Babylonian Talmud) (= our “dada” and “mama”). However, even if the term abba began as a childish babbling sound (and this is far from clear), at the time of Jesus it was a regular adult word meaning “Father” or “my Father” (as terms of address) or “the Father” or “my Father” (as terms

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