God the Father

Preaching and Worship Resources about God the Father

God the Father is the first person of the Holy Trinity who, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, is the creator of all, the elector of Israel, and the supreme savior, provider, and protector.

In Scripture

"`Then you shall say to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son"'" (Ex. 4:22).

"Do you thus repay the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?" (Deut. 32:6).

"Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation" (Ps. 68:5).

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son" (Hos. 11:1).

"Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?" (Mal. 2:10).

"`Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name'" (Matt. 6:9).

"`Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?'" (Matt. 6:26).

"`If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!'" (Matt. 7:11).

"And a voice came from heaven, `You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased'" (Mark 1:11).

"No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known" (John 1:18).

"Jesus answered them, `My Father is still working, and I also am working.' For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the Sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God" (John 5:17 - 18).

"`Now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one'" (John 17:11).

"All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, `Abba! Father!' it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him" (Rom. 8:14 - 17).

"For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist" (1 Cor. 8:6).

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal. 1:3 - 4).

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all" (Eph. 4:4 - 6).

"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are" (1 John 3:1).

Points to Ponder

God's fatherly character is revealed by creation According to Scripture, God's fatherly character is revealed by creation. God is its architect and generator. Parts of creation remind us of God, especially where creation is beautiful, powerful, graceful, or mysterious. God's creation of human beings in the image of God adds more: Now we see created beings with stewardship, communal relationships, and capacity for righteousness. At their best, human beings may be saints — that is, people who make God believable.

God's fatherly character is revealed by his adoption of Israel as a covenant partner Again, according to Scripture, God's fatherly character is revealed by his adoption of Israel as a covenant partner. Israel is God's "firstborn." According to the matchless account in Hosea 11, God raised Israel as a toddler, forming so intimate a bond that later, when Israel became corrupt, God simply cannot act toward Israel out of anger. After all, God had taught Israel how to walk, had bent down to Israel and fed her, had lifted Israel up to his cheeks. Like a parent, God's heart keeps going out to Israel.

God's fatherly character is revealed by God's providential care for creatures, for human creatures Once more, according to Scripture, God's fatherly character is revealed by God's providential care for creatures, for human creatures, and especially for vulnerable human creatures. God is "father of orphans and protector of widows." In fact, God is fierce in requiring justice from Israel toward "the quartet of the vulnerable," namely, widows, orphans, resident aliens, and the poor. Lapses in such justice are prominent causes of God's indignation. God hates mistreatment of the vulnerable.

God's fatherly character is revealed by his relationship to his only Son, Jesus Christ In the New Testament, God's fatherly character is revealed by his relationship to his only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is "equal with God," "in the form of God," the "exegesis" of God, who bears "the exact imprint of God's very being" (Phil. 2:6; John 1:18; Heb. 1:3). The Son as well as the Father is a being one properly worships (Heb. 1:6, Rev. 5:14). Jesus Christ is his father all over again.

The idea and title of God the Father may inspire love and trust in people raised by wonderful fathers, but fear and loathing in people raised by awful fathers. Parents, pastors, and other witnesses to the faith need to bear this constantly in mind, pastorally adapting their language about God for their audience.

many Christians will call attention to the mothering images of God in Scripture Similarly, because "father" is a masculine title, many Christians will call attention to the mothering images of God in Scripture. For example, in Isaiah 66 God promises to comfort Israel "as a mother comforts her child," and In Job 38 the sea bursts from God's womb and God gives birth to the frost and the ice.

Still, the title "father" is deep in Scripture and faith. Jesus taught his followers to pray like this: "Our Father in heaven." Christians do not generally wish to correct Jesus. The creeds, following suit, testify to faith "in God the Father, almighty." God's fatherhood may be pastorally qualified, but it can't be wholly bracketed or erased.


Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.