Mat 23:8-12 TITLES, the Elevation Temptation

Mat 23:8-12 (NIV) “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.

Adam and Eve were tempted by a desire to be elevated and be like God. Satan fell because he wanted to be like God and receive worship and adoration that belonged to God alone. Titles are a way to elevate ourselves above others and receive their admiration and respect. Jesus forbids this practise.

Every Title

Jesus expressly forbids the use of 3 common titles, used in His day, for those  who were instructing others spiritually. The purpose of Jesus words are  not to single out only these three, but, every title we may ascribe to a person in spiritual authority. The bible makes it clear that we are all brothers. More importantly though, we should never ascribe to man what belongs to God.

Phi 2:9-11(NIV) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

Modern Titles

Father, Rabbi, Reverend, Pastor, Prophet, Evangelist and Apostle are the most common titles we have in the church today. The intent of this scriptures is to prevent the use of any title even if the title describes what a person does. Paul taught, and we can call him a teacher; But, he was always referred to as Paul and not as ‘teacher’, or ‘teacher Paul’. Peter was an apostle  but he was never referred to as ‘Apostle’, or ‘Apostle Peter’. The same can be said of the numerous people who pastored churches in the early church. No one in the early church was ever given, or called by a title.

Stop Using Titles

We should never use a title for ourselves  in a spiritual context. And, we should never address people in the body of Christ with a title, as we are commanded by Jesus not to do so.