of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


Is it correct to say that "Dad or Daddy, or it's equivalent in other languages, holds the same meaning in name as the word "Father"?

Could it be a matter of heart when one refers to these names? Well, I guess if it was, then Jesus would have said something like "think of God as your Father in your heart, but you can call your earthly father, Dad,"

 It doesn't work, does it? In order to separate from this world, and to accept the Father as your sole parent, then one needs to separate from the earthly parentage. Whew..how does one start calling Dad by his first name but it's still alright to call mom "mom"? Any suggestions how to handle this one?


This subject, the hallowed name of God, is critical.   Every time I revisit it, it seems prudent to examine it all over again.  I mean the titles for Father that you bring to the fore below. First, let me relay the facts about the hallowed name of God as I understand them.

1. Abba is Aramaic, not Hebrew.  The people in Israel in the First Century had Aramaic as their common language, and for the most part no longer knew Hebrew, which was of course the language of their ancestors.  The linguists say they lost the Hebrew during the Babylonian captivity and returned to Palestine speaking Aramaic

2. The Hebrew word corresponding to abba  is ab.

3. The corresponding Greek word is pater.

4. The corresponding English word is father.

5. There remain a small number of persons in the Middle East (small ethnic groups) that speak Aramaic.  

6.  Among modern Aramaic speakers, abba is used for both father and daddy.

7. Targum is the word that designates an
Aramaic translation of the OT (from Hebrew) such as was available in the Middle East in the First Century.

8.  It is my understanding that when the OT was read in the synagogues, the Targum, or Aramaic translation, was used so as to be understandable to the congregation. There Is evidence in the gospels to support this.  When Jesus cried out from the cross, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?, he was quoting from the Aramaic Targum of Psalm 22. (eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani).  It makes sense to suppose that in this time of maximum stress, he would have quoted from the version most familiar to him.

9. The NT was originally written in Greek.  

10. The Aramaic word, abba, being the word customarily used by the Jews, was the word they, and Jesus, uttered in prayer to God.  Mark 14:36, in Gethsemane, Jesus begins to pray, and we read, Abba, pater, all things are possible to thee.  This indicates that abba  is the word Jesus uttered
whenever he addressed the Father, and also in the instruction to apply it only to God in Matthew 23:9. When Mark recorded the Greek gospel, he first recorded the exact word Jesus utilized (14:36) to address the Father, Abba, then repeated the Greek equivalent so that his Greek readers would understand.  Mark carried Abba over out of reverence for the name Jesus used, and taught the disciples to use it, addressing the Father in Aramaic, their native language.

11. I conclude that the name Jesus uttered to his Jewish disciples in Matthew 23:9 is: And call no man your abba on earth, for you have one abba, who is in heaven.
 The Greek pater was substituted by the translators, who were translating for Greek speakers and did not need to confuse them by carrying Abba over into the Greek. 
Now to note the fact that the Bible only has one word for father in Hebrew, one in Greek, and one in Aramaic. There is no equivalent for the familiar daddy or papa or dad or pa or paw or pappy, etc.  

Also a comment about the origin of abba. It is unknown, but some linguists speculate that it began as baby talk. English terms other than father probably did also.  I have read such speculation, and it makes sense that a baby might say da da da da and this becomes daddy.  Or, ab ab ab  ab that became abba.  The same could be true for ma, mama, maw, mommy.

So, did Jesus intend to prohibit the application of daddy, or any of the other terms when he said that we should call no one on earth abba (pater, father)? We have no direct scriptural guidance on this subject, so we have to approach it interpretatively.

First, let us take as a given what I suggested above, that the NT peoples had only one word for the male progenitor, per language, which was abba in the Aramaic of Jesus and his disciples.  This would explain why Jesus did not bother to expand the prohibition of alternative terms -- there were none.

Next, since Matthew did not carry abba over in Matthew 23:9, using the Greek, pater in his Greek rendition, we will assume that the actual Aramaic, abba, is not essential and that pater is an acceptable term for the prohibition among Greek speakers.  It should follow, then, that among us who speak English, father is also an appropriate term to include under the prohibition, as I have done.  

Conclusion: the actual word that Jesus used, abba, or the actual sound of the spoken word, is not controlling. The words, abba, pater, father must all be acceptable because they share a common definition: they designate the male progenitor in each language.

Next, let's ask: Why did Jesus issue this prohibition?  I present the question here, although we have discussed this many times, it is necessary to state it again.  It must be acknowledged as the most relevant question because it follows that if we know the reason for the prohibition of abba, pater, father, we can decide if daddy and the other less formal terms are also under the prohibition.  Since we are English speakers, we will only consider daddy from this point.  The logic proceeds as follows;

1. Jesus informed Nicodemus (John 3) that one must be begotten from above to see the kingdom of God.

2. Nicodemus wanted to know how could a man enter into his mother's womb a second time and be begotten?

3. Jesus responded that one must be begotten of water and the Spirit.  Then he explained that what is begotten of the flesh is flesh, and what is begotten of the Spirit is Spirit.

4. In both the OT and the NT, the first birth arises from the transmission of the seed of the male progenitor, or father.  Thus, the Jews were called the seed of Abraham, their father. We are the seed of that person who is our father.  

5. Jesus considered all persons who have experienced only one begetting to be yet dead to the Father in heaven. They are not his children.  (Let the dead bury the dead, This my son was dead, etc.)  To be begotten of the flesh does not register with the Father.  

6. To be begotten from above is to be begotten of the Spirit, as Jesus explained.  This implies, if it is to truly correspond with the physical birth so as to be understood to be a true birth, that there be a Spiritual Father and that He provide the seed (sperma) for the conception of this new birth.

7.  This seed (sperma) is spiritual seed, not fleshly seed according to the birth of the flesh.

8. This seed is the Logos, or Word of God as uttered in the World by Jesus and recorded in the gospels.  The spiritual seed is idea, word, logos.  

9. Jesus explained that it was by receiving this seed, or Word, into an honest and good heart (Luke 8:15) that eternal life in the Spirit is conceived in us.  (I am not distinguishing here between conception and birth, which is not significant for this discussion.)  Thus it is that one is begotten from above.

10.  We who have been thus begotten from above have come alive to God, who is now our Father.

11. What was dead and unrecognized by the Father is now irrelevant.  The dead have passed away as though they never existed.  Only one thing is significant now: we live because we are the seed of God, who is our Father. The life we now possess is eternal life of the Spirit, begotten of the spiritual seed, and is life to the Father in heaven.

12.  Does it not follow that what is dead to our Father in heaven, is also dead to us who have been begotten from above of his seed, the Logos so as to become one with Him?

13. Therefore, the relationships of the flesh, always dead to God, are now dead to us also who live in the Spirit.

14.  Therefore, all the terms that designate that dead relationship are also dead to us as they apply to those relationships!

15.  We should therefore apply them only to the new, living relationship that we have to the Father.  He is therefore also our only Father, Daddy, Papa, Pa, Paw, Pappy, or what have you because these terms, like father, apply to the one whose seed we are!  We are no longer of the human seed, but of the divine seed, therefore they should be no more applied to the man!

This is consistent with our conclusions of the fundamental reason for the prohibition: we cannot be accepted as children of the Father until we have utilized our free will to choose him and his life instead of the life in this world, including the relationships of this world, that include the male progenitor.  The last is of supreme interest, because the Father's only will for us is that we become his children in Glory, which we cannot fulfill while bonding to the "dead" temporal "life" with its relationships.


I began the above not knowing how it would end, as this is the first time I have followed this procedure to arrive at the basis of the prohibition.  I have always, till now, assumed that only the name, Father is included because that is all that Jesus specified.  Now I can see that, as abba finds use among modern Aramaic speakers to apply to the male progenitor, and is also used in the same manner as we use daddy, my prior distinctions are not valid.

Another reason I have felt justified in this is that it seemed to me appropriate, out of respect, to apply only the formal name to the Father.  Now I see that this is not necessary, or even appropriate in all times.  Daddy need not imply disrespect, but closeness! 


Yes, Dad and Father fall into the same category.  Until you brought it up, I had avoided this question because it seemed too loaded and my own parents were long departed.  And after all, Jesus did not say that we should call no one "Dad."  But after I examined the terminology current in First Century Palestine, and pursued the reason for his stated prohibition to its reasonable conclusion, and examined the example of Jesus, it became very clear that any such designation is improper for the children of God who have become not of this world.  I have not a doubt!  Why would we who are so blessed as to be God's children refer to any man as "Dad?" Our progenitors are due respect and love from us, but not the terminology of a dissolved relationship.

You are, of course, correct in concluding "it doesn't work" in seeking to make a distinction (above, in the body of your question) between what is in our hearts and what comes from our mouths.  These two organs are inseparably bound together according to Jesus:


[11] not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."
[17] Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on?
[18] But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man.


[34] You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
What should we term our male progenitors now?  I am not certain that there is any special term.  It could be anything that does not define the relationship father/child.  We do not find Jesus speaking of Joseph in the gospels so we do not have his example.  

But we do find his example in the matter of how one refers to the female progenitor and what follows addresses your inquiry concerning "mother."  Jesus had encounters with Mary and addressed her.  I think you will recall reading my discussion of this in Jesus:the Rock of Offense.  Consider the following utterances:


[27] As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!"
[28] But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!


[4] And Jesus said to her, O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.


[26] When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son!
27] Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

In John 2:4, at the wedding in Cana, Jesus addressed Mary as woman.

In John 19:26, above, he did the same.  It is, in Greek, gune, and it is exactly the same term he used in addressing other women, including strangers such as the woman at the well and the woman taken in adultery.  If we follow this example, we will address our female progenitors as we address other females, just as he did.  I conclude that, since this is a relationship growing out of the birth of water (of the flesh), we should make our terminology conform to the new reality precisely as with the use of the terms "Father" and "Dad."

This also enlightens us as to how we should address the male progenitor -- as we address other men.  Jesus addressed Mary as "woman."  Perhaps we should best address the male progenitor as "man?"  This would be consistent.

Both Luke 11:28 and John 2:4 strongly suggest that Jesus completely discounted his earthly relationship with Mary.  

O woman, what have you to do with me?
All of this he fully confirmed in the incident in which he completely redefined our earthly family and all of its relationships:


[31] And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
32] And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."
33] And he replied, Who are my mother and my brothers?
34] And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers!
35] Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Again, he clearly rejected all of these relationships.  He did not refer to Mary as "Mother" for the same fundamental reason that he reassigned all our relationships from physical ones to spiritual ones.  We also receive more light when we examine the incident involving the Beloved Disciple in John 19:26,27, above, where he said:  
Woman, behold, your son!, and to the disciple,
Behold, your mother!
He was defining new relationships growing out of Mark  3:34,35, quoted above.  Mary was the Beloved Disciple's mother according to the Spirit and was to be addressed as such, and the Beloved Disciple was her son and to be addressed as such because they each, at that point, understood and did the will of the Father, having received the Word and been begotten from above thereby.  Jesus was also displaying his love for her, even as he hung dying in agony --  for he was making a provision for her earthly need by placing her in the care of one who was to keep her as his mother, which in Truth she was!

From this, can we conclude that we should follow the example of Jesus and address those who were our parents as we would any other person?  

If so, when is a person a mother to us, and not a sister?

Is not this a distinction due to age differences, and the respect thereof?  Older female believers are mothers, younger ones sisters?  

I can think of no other reason for the distinction.

Peace to you!