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And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls[a]Abba![b] Father!”

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Footnotes

  1. Galatians 4:6 tn Grk “calling.” The participle is neuter indicating that the Spirit is the one who calls.
  2. Galatians 4:6 tn The term “Abba” is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic אַבָּא (’abba’), literally meaning “my father” but taken over simply as “father,” used in prayer and in the family circle, and later taken over by the early Greek-speaking Christians (BDAG 1 s.v. ἀββα).sn This Aramaic word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated “father.” It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in English. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, “abbot.” Over the past fifty years a lot has been written about this term and Jesus’ use of it. Joachim Jeremias argued that Jesus routinely addressed God using this Aramaic word, and he also noted this was a “child’s word,” leading many to conclude its modern equivalent was “Daddy.” This conclusion Jeremias soon modified (the term on occasion is used of an adult son addressing his father) but the simplistic equation of abba with “Daddy” is still heard in some circles today. Nevertheless, the term does express a high degree of closeness with reverence, and in addition to the family circle could be used by disciples of a much loved and revered teacher.

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