Most of the time I hear from some Christian friends that the "Father" name for to The LORD was founded by Jesus.

Because I find it odd (if Jesus was the first person to start calling The LORD "Father"), so I looked into the Old Testament and found that there are several verses which call The LORD "Father".

I would like to know whether this form of address (for example maybe in a prayer) was commonly used during Jesus' time (or at least a few years before Jesus was born).

To be honest, I want to make a conclusion that if it was already common during Jesus' time - then I think Jesus was just following the tradition of calling The LORD "Father". Not as the Trinitarians think that Jesus is praying to the First Person of The Trinitarian Godhead, not to himself (as the Trinitarians say that Jesus is the 2nd Person), not to the Holy Spirit (as the Trinitarians say that The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person).

  • Hello -- this question requires understanding the nature of formalized prayer 2000 years ago. I would suggest looking at this question judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/86749/… That being said, the mishna (Masechet Sotah), which some Jews see as predating the common era, uses the phrase "Aviinu Shebashamayim" - our father who is in heaven, 3 times.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:16
  • @rosends, thank you for your suggestion. I will look into it.
    – karma
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


The expression "Our father in heaven" (אבינו שבשמים) is a relatively common name for God in rabbinic literature (as far as I am aware, this formulation does not appear in the Bible). For example, see Mishnah Sotah 9:5. Typically in rabbinic literature, the description of God as a father uses this particular formulation exactly and certainly seems more metaphorical than literal.

Other examples can be found in an interesting scholarly article here discussing essentially the question you have asked here. The article's conclusion is that the references attributed to Jesus describing God as a "father" are essentially similar to contemporary rabbinic usage, although perhaps slightly different in that the "father" role is portrayed more actively in Jesus's usage. Nonetheless, as your question hints, modern Jewish and Christian theology treat the concept of God's "fatherhood" extremely differently. As the article states:

While a common theological ground is recognized, the Christian understanding of divine fatherhood in relation to Jesus, rather than as a universal metaphor, is deeply at odds with the Jewish understanding, expressed in the Hebrew Bible and in rabbinic literature.

  • 1
    Thank you for the answer, Daniel. And thank you also for the link. I will look into it.
    – karma
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:53

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