What does Matthew 23:7 mean?
ESV: and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
NIV: they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others.
NASB: and personal greetings in the marketplaces, and being called Rabbi by the people.
CSB: greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi' by people.
NLT: They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
KJV: And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
NKJV: greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is describing the hearts and motives of some of the most respected men in Israel: the religious leaders known as scribes and Pharisees. He is exposing them as men who crave attention and honor; they only do good deeds to receive the praise of other men. In every way, these religious men serve their pride above all else. Status and position drive their actions (Matthew 23:1–6).

These self-important men also love the public attention brought by their positions as holy men. They love to be given grand greetings and deference in public places. They love the title that comes with their status: "rabbi," meaning "teacher." This was a title of respect and sometimes affection for the religious men who taught the law to the people.

Titles, themselves, are not necessarily wrong. But placing undue emphasis on them—or insisting on them—is arrogance and hypocrisy for a follower of Jesus. Christ will instruct His disciples to avoid using names and titles in ways meant to elevate one person over another (Matthew 23:8).
Verse Context:
Matthew 23:1–12 begins Jesus' condemnation of Israel's religious leaders, summarized with the phrase "the scribes and the Pharisees." He warns those listening not to follow their example, since they don't practice what they preach. Their words imply heavy burdens, but their actions don't reflect the same. They make no effort to help others fulfill those requirements. In fact, everything they do is for show: only to be seen and approved of by others. They make a great show of religious clothes and symbols, jockey for the seats of honor everywhere they go, and take enormous pride in their prestigious spiritual titles.
Chapter Summary:
After thoroughly dismantling scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees in debate, Jesus even more thoroughly condemns these religious leaders for their religious hypocrisy. They do all their religious acts and works to be seen and approved of by other people. Jesus pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. He repeatedly calls them "blind" and "hypocrites." He concludes with a lament for Jerusalem and her children who rejected His protection. God's judgment is coming.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 23 concludes Matthew's multi-chapter account of all of Jesus' interactions in the temple during the last week before His arrest and crucifixion. After silencing the religious leaders with parables and brilliant responses (Matthew 21—22), He pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. Jesus mourns for the judgment that will come on Jerusalem for her rejection of God. This leads Jesus to leave the temple, sadly remarking on its impending destruction (Matthew 24:1–2). As the disciples ask about this, Jesus begins an extended teaching on the end times in chapter 24.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/26/2024 10:21:08 AM
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