Matthew 23:8

ESV But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
NIV But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
NASB But as for you, do not be called Rabbi; for only One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters.
CSB "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters.
NLT Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.
KJV But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

What does Matthew 23:8 mean?

In painful detail, Christ has been describing how the scribes and Pharisees are driven by their own pride. They seek status and respect from the people above everything else. This—not devotion to God—is their true motive for doing good works. They love special privileges, the deference of other people and so forth. They covet the title that comes with their position: "rabbi," given to those who have been designated as Israel's teachers of the law (Matthew 23:1–7).

Jesus pauses His condemnation of the Pharisees and scribes to warn His disciples against this practice. He commands them not to call each other "rabbi" for two reasons. First, Jesus insists they have only one teacher, meaning Him. Jesus is the only rabbi among them. Second, they are all brothers. Jesus forbids them from taking titles meant to elevate one of them over the others.

This is not a condemnation of all spiritual authority, or all titles, of any kind. Nor is Jesus' comment in the next verse meant to forbid all use of the word "father" (Matthew 23:9). Rather, Jesus does not want His followers to be driven by pride of position or the arrogance of power. He wants us to remain humble as we serve each other in love. Seeking or proclaiming a title, for the sake of personal honor, is contrary to the humility expected of Christians.
What is the Gospel?
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