May 26, 2014

Theou Patros: "God the Father"

2 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God … . To Tim-othy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Fa-ther and Christ Jesus our Lord.
—2 Timothy 1:1-2


In the letter-writing format of his day, Paul typically identified himself before greeting the recipient of his message. In addition, Paul almost always used a greeting like this: “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Father” is one of God’s most important names in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, God as “Father” occurs sparingly and only as a metaphor for God’s relationship to his people. In the Greek New Testament, writers used Theou Patros, “God the Father” as one of God’s most prominent names. Patros, drawing from terms that refer to “nourishing, protecting, upholding,” means “father,” “generator,” or “male ancestor.”

Paul, like other New Testament writers, uses this name, Theou Patros, not only in greetings but also in doxologies, thanksgiv-ings, prayers, and exhortations. This name describes God’s place as the first person of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and God’s role as creator and sustainer of the universe and as owner of his kingdom unfolding in history. No wonder Paul so often included Theou Patros, “God the Father,” in his greetings.

God the Father greets you today and every day with his grace, mercy, and peace. What better opening could we ask for each new day?

Father God, we worship you as creator and sustainer of all things. Thank you for stooping to bless us with your grace, mercy, and peace. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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