This title can be applied in several contexts:

* God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator who made us and is the one true God (Deut 32:6; Jer 10:10; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:3). He lavished love on us bringing us into a right relationship with Himself and adopting us as sons hence we can pray “Our Father” (Mt 6:9; Jn 1:12; Gal 3:26; Eph 1:5; 1 Jn 3:1). The term Abba Father as used in the Bible expresses a confidence, affection and trust in a two-way intimate relationship (Mk 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). Many, incorrectly claim everyone is a ‘child of God’ yet the Bible states this only happens when a person is born-again (Jn 1:12, 3:1-8; Rom 8:16,17; Gal 4:7). Although vastly superior to us He wants a close relationship with us – sinners saved by the blood of His Son – and in love He wants the best for us (Lk 11:13). Because of a defective earthly father, many people have a poor understanding of our loving heavenly Father, yet God promises that, in Him, no one has to be without a perfect Father.

* In a figurative sense it is applied to teachers or leaders and to others who, because of age, are considered worthy of respect and submission; also to ancestors (2 Kgs 5:13; Mt 3:9; 1 Jn 2:13,14). ‘Fathers in the faith’ are godly men who have mentored younger men, such as Paul did to Timothy and Titus (1 Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4). Do I have wholesome input into the lives of the younger generation. 

* Satan is termed the father of evil and lies, because all that is wrong and sinful originates from him (Jn 8:44).

* In the family setting, the father is the male parent.  As the head of the family, God holds the man responsible for the spiritual quality of his family (Gen 3:16; 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23, 6:4).  He is to be a good role model, leading

What legacy am I leaving for my children?

by example, as he takes his responsibility seriously to love his wife and children, providing for them, desiring their best and training them up in the ways of God (Prov 22:6;  Eph 5:25,28, 6:4; Col 3:19,21).  Disciplining, encouraging and guiding require prayerful wisdom to instill sound values in the young lives and teaching them in practical everyday affairs fitting them for life and being honourable members of society. By spending quality time with his children, both individually and as a family, the children will both know and be proud of him (Prov 17:6). The father should be protecting his daughters from unscrupulous males while teaching his sons to respect all females and not compromise their morals (1 Tim 5:2).

To the best of his ability, an earthly father should endeavour to represent the character of the heavenly Father to His children, although this will be a very poor reflection. For those who have been subject to a marred image of a father they should visualise God the

Am I being a good role-model?

Father as ‘all that you missed out on’ because He is the ideal in every respect.

See also: children, example, family, fatherless, God, husband, male/man, mother, parents/parenting, role-model.