Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee...

Is there any way to know if Jesus actually said, "Father, Father" ("Abba, Abba") here, with Mark leaving the first "Abba" untranslated so readers would know the actual word spoken by Jesus when addressing God?

Or did Jesus say "Abba" only once, with Mark adding the Greek translation "Pater" immediately afterwards? Also I'm wondering if Paul's two quotations in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6, that seemingly derive from Mark 14:36, have any significance as related to this question.

  • I would think Mark would have wrote "'Abba, Abba', that is, interpreted, 'Father, Father'". This is only a suspicion, though. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


There seems to be references to both sides of the argument. To me, it seems that the fact that this phrase appears in the writings of Paul implies that the word was not added by Mark, but instead is part of the actual phrase. I would expect Paul to use either one or the other, if this is the case.

Also, the phrase all three times is:

Αββα ὁ πατήρ

The added use of the definite article before "πατήρ" seems to indicate that it's not simply just a translation by the author.

I have seen in some references a mention that the word "Ἀββᾶ", though it was a Hebrew word, had come to take on the nature of a title, and thus would likely have been used more as the title of God in the phrase, where that title was then being called the father. It seems also that such a common word would not have needed translation, as many other common words which were written without translation. Therefore, I would tend to side with those who say that it was not added by Mark, but was actually the phrase as it was spoken by Jesus.

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