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What Does the Bible Say About...Using Religious Titles?

In the article "Hear, Really Hear", you make reference several times to a man as "Rabbi". According to God's word no man should be called rabbi. Matt 23:4-12 KJV: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.


I will admit that I did not consider whether or not to use the title “Rabbi” in the other article. I will, however, defend my use of the word. The obvious first response would be to ask the question, how do you refer to your male parent? If you call him father, daddy, or any other “title” are you in violation of this passage? Since the term “Doctor” conveys everything that “Rabbi” does, are we to refrain from calling one who has earned the degree by that title? Can we not call anyone “Mr.” because that is the same as calling him master? To answer these questions I think we need to look at the context of the passage you quote. Jesus is condemning those who show their piety on the street corner. He is condemning those who do things religiously just to be seen by men, and yet don’t practice their religion beyond the visible. (Certainly when Jesus condemns the Scribes and the Pharisees he is not saying there were no good men in those groups. After all, Paul remained a Pharisee, even after he became a Christian.) In that context he is saying not to be like the ones whose whole reward is for men to use their properly earned title. Don’t let the title be the idol. I know some people who have earned their PhD who insist on being called “Dr.” This is the kind of person Jesus is condemning. Otherwise, we are unable to use any title, whether earned or not, because he even says not to call anyone your father. Either we carry this to that extreme, or we give honor where it is due. After all, Jesus himself said, “Render unto Caesar [a title, and a religious title] that which is Caesar’s.” (Matthew 22:21)