No examination of the names and titles of God would be complete without considering the title of Father. The Hebrew ’aḇ (H1), which “apparently is derived from such baby sounds as abab,” appears almost 1,200 times in the OT. We should also note that ’aḇ (H2) is the Aramaic form, the basis for the NT usage of abba (G5) that appears three times (Mar_14:36; Rom_8:15; Gal_4:6). Obviously, ’aḇ refers to a biological father (Gen_2:24), but it also refers to the head of a household (Gen_24:40), a grandfather (Gen_28:13), an ancestor (Gen_10:21), or even a patron of a class (Gen_4:20). What does such fatherhood indicate when we think of God as our Father? Let us consider five applications.
First, our Fatherbegets us. He gives us life. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Mal_2:10). Spiritually then, through Christ, we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” (1Pe_1:23). Having thus been “born of God,” we know God (1Jn_4:7), love God (1Jn_5:1), overcome the world (1Jn_5:4), and guard our behavior (1Jn_5:18, “keepeth” is tēreō [G5083], “keep an eye on, watch over, observe attentively, guard protectively”), and do not habitually commit sin (1Jn_3:9).
Second, our Fatherteaches us. We are to “hear the instruction of [our] father” and learn doctrine, wisdom, and God’s law from Him (Pro_1:8; Pro_4:1-4; Pro_5:1). From where do we get our spiritual Father’s instruction? From His Word alone.
Third, our Fatherdisciplines us. As an earthly father corrects his child because of love (Pro_3:12; Deu_8:5), so God our Father “chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. . . . for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb_12:6-7; cf. 2Sa_7:14). Yes, discipline is painful, but it brings us back to obedience.
Fourth, our Fatherprovides for us. Why do we worry about clothing, food, and other basic needs of life? Our “Father knoweth that [we] have need of these things” and He will provide them when we seek Him (Luk_12:28-31; cf. Mat_6:9-11).
Fifth, our Fathergives us aname. As one’s family name is a precious thing, God has given us names that should be precious to us. Each of us is a “saint” (Php_4:21), a “Christian” (1Pe_4:16), and a believer (Act_5:14). Let us live up to those names’ lofty standards.
Scriptures for Study: How do we become children of God (Gal_3:26)? What proves we are children of God (1Jn_3:10; 1Jn_5:2)?