Call No Man Rabbi

 The following is a translation which uses the core meaning of each key word. Please read it carefully.

(Mat 23:8-12) "You be not bided [kaleo] as My-One-Who-Has-Much [rhabbi], for you have one Guide [kathegetes], even the Anointed One, and you are all brothers. You be not bided as Progenitor [pater] upon the earth, for you have one Progenitor [pater], who is in heaven. Neither you be bided as Guides [kathegetes], for you have one Guide [kathegetes], even the Anointed One. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be made low, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

(Ephesians 4:11) "And He gave some to be Sent-ones, and some to be Foretellers, and some to be Heralds, and some to be Shepherds and Instructors [didaskalos]."


One of the most misunderstood sayings of Messiah Yahshua is the one above where he directs that no one be called "Rabbi" and "Father". One can easily see that this is a great contradiction, if taken at face value in the English. Scripture shows that it was permitted for the Patriarchs of Israel to be called father, and also Shaul (Apostle Paul) called himself father to the believers. 1 Corinthians 4: 14-21

4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in the Messiah, yet have ye not many fathers: for in the Messiah Yahushua I have begotten you through the evangel.
4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in YHWH, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in the Messiah, as I teach every where in every assembly.
4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if YHWH will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
4:20 For the kingdom of YHWH is not in word, but in power.
4:21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

So what did Paul do? He was led by the Spirit of Elohim to use a beautiful Image a comparison that was certain to reach the hearts of the believers at Corinth. He compared himself to a “spiritual father” caring for his family. He had used this image before to remind the Corinthians that, as a “father” he had begotten them through the Gospel, and that he could discipline them if he felt it was necessary (1 Cor. 4:14–21). They were his beloved spiritual children, and he wanted the very best for them. Paul gave them three evidences of his fatherly love for them.

His Jealousy over the Congregation
His Generosity to the Congregation
His Anxiety for the Congregation

Yochanan {John} the Immerser was called rabbi by his disciples, also. {John 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him}.

The violation of Messiah Yahshua's instruction here is placed on the one who is bided as rabbi or father, not the one who bids. So we might conclude by this that, if read in English, which has been so often mis-interpreted, Yochanon and Shaul violated the Torah/Teaching of Yahshua. But that is not an acceptable conclusion, and neither is it true, as will be shown.

Another problem is that there is a seeming injunction against being called/bided as a teacher [kathegetes], while conversely Shaul says that Messiah Yahshua gave us teachers [didaskalos]. The different Greek words here are synonyms and both also mean master! So this means that Messiah Yahshua in Matthew tells us not to call anyone master, while His servant Shaul declares the Messiah gives us masters. How can these seeming contradictions be resolved?

First, it should be clear that the teaching of Messiah Yahshua is not for the purpose of parsing syllables. In other words, it is not the sound of syllables themselves which we should avoid. The word rabbi originally meant "my one who has much" (rav is the root Hebrew word for many, multitudes, much). Rabbi is not used to mean that same thing in today's Hebrew at all. The understanding of rav or rabbi today is simply teacher. Yahshua certainly never says that the sound of a word is wrong. Common sense dictates that it is the meaning of the word which is wrong. So today, it would not be wrong to use the word rabbi as a descriptive title, unless we meant it in the way it was originally intended in Hebrew, and that would be to use the title in recognition of thinking one to have much, or to be my source of supply, as it originally meant.

Second, the mention of father [pater] in the teaching, if taken a face value, would mean that no one could call their earthly father, father or dad, or pappa, etc. What would be the alternative? Once again, Messiah Yahshua is not speaking of parsing sounds of syllables. We must use common sense, and it is both the context and the intention of the teaching which must be taken into account.


Messiah Yahshua gave this teaching in the context of warning His disciples not to love to be called exalted names, which would seem to give them more importance than others. They were/are not to seek the praise of men. He wanted them and us to know that the greatest one among them or us is the one who serves (bows low) the most. So He did not want them to want or seek to be called or bided in a way which is glorifying to our selfish pride (ego). Messiah Yahshua was teaching a broad principle that applies to all titles of people which they perceive to be those of mastery. This would include, besides doctor, lawyer and Indian chief, the fivefold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers. The principle of Messiah Yahshua is this: "Do not accept anyone's attempt to make you their master, or their source of supply. There is only One who is your/their Master and Source of supply"

Shaul called himself an apostle. Was he building himself up? No, he was only stating what work he was assigned. He really was only saying, 'I am one sent." So, if one says, "I am a rabbi" and considers that simply to mean "I am one who teaches," is that an error? Not at all! It would be error only if he believes in his heart that the title makes him a master over people, instead of a servant to people, and/or he encourages and allows others to view him as someone more important."

You might notice that some religious leaders think they are more accurate to scripture by being called pastor or elder. Yet, under the principle of Messiah these titles can be just as much used in an evil way. Pastor, scholars say, means shepherd, but who can be a shepherd but the Good Shepherd, Yahshua? Who is worthy to be called Shepherd except Him? Does not the title shepherd distinguish one from the sheep? So a pastor cannot be equal with the sheep, but rather the master of the sheep!. In addition, the word pastor is linked to the Greek word pater, which means father. And we should call no man father?

Elder means "older one", by inference, more knowledgeable, wiser. Such a distinction in the body can just as easily cause a person to be exalted in their heart.

Moses had a title, the Servant of Elohim. Though he was the meekest of men, yet he also fell because of pride and self-interest, and thereby was kept from the promise. Yet, his title was a humble one.

The point in all this is, it was not titles themselves that our Messiah was warning against, but rather the disciple's desire to be exalted.


In any army there is a chain of command. Winning battles depends on everyone's important contribution. The chain of command is used for communication and order. YHWH used a chain of command when He set Israel in order, using Moses, Samuel and David to define it. By Elohim's Word there was set judges, elders, priests, captains, prophets, and eventually kings and princes.

The army of Messiah Yahshua is no different. There must be a chain of command, and titles are used to define the chain. The purpose of the title is to set in order, not to puff up those who have them. The Most High has equalized His people, as He did with Israel of old, by declaring them all kings and priests in the realm of the Kingdom of heaven. But this does not negate the necessary chain of command and the appointment of certain ones to certain tasks.

The thing which our Messiah wants us to know is that the titles in the chain do not define our importance, but only our responsibility to Him. The title is not evil by itself; what we think of it, or how we want people to see us because of it, determines the good or evil of it.


In the Messianic Jewish movement the title of rabbi is indicative of vocation ministry responsibility under Mashiach. It is NOT a title of exaltation, but given only for purpose of order in the body. In modern Hebrew it means simply teacher. Today a rabbi is a congregational leader/servant. He/She is an administrator of business and spiritual things in the congregation. He/She organizes and encourages the various gifts and callings in the congregation. He/She is responsible to teach the Torah, the Word of Elohim soberly with earnest study, but He/She is not the only one responsible. He/She may or may not be of Jewish origin, so the title helps him/her to identify with and to serve the Congregation as A Set Apart people especially, but not exclusively. He/She is expected to know Hebrew Scripture. The Messianic Rabbi is in his/her role because of Divine appointment, not because of personal worth or even skill. He/She will be judged more severely than most at the Judgment because of his/her responsibility. Rather than prideful in His work, the Messianic Rabbi mostly feels inadequate, unworthy, and trembling at the task. He/She realizes that nothing he does of himself actually accomplishes anything; that it is YHWH YAHUWAH Adonai {the ONE TRUE ELOHIM} who does all that is good and eternal in quality. He/She knows and acts as knowing that he/she is no more important than the least, in fact, he/she is the least of all.

I, for one, do not want anyone to look to me as their source. So I warn everyone, to do so would put them at risk of severe poverty!

Here is something for you to think about; Yahshua was a man when He said this, and He said to them call NO man Rabbi, but yet they called him rabbi, but yet he was a man, so did they break His/their own rules, and disregard what He had told them? NOT to call any man rabbi. NO of course not, When He said this to them; Call no man rabbi, he was refereeing to the scribes and Pharisees, As they had puffed themselves up, they were a self righteous lot of scribes and pharisees, "WOE unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" They were PRIDEFUL! ... {Yahshua was Not just a mere man, He was Yahuwah in the flesh}

Do you not know we will be called kings and priest in the kingdom to come

{I know in and of myself I can do nothing, only though HIM, can we accomplish anything.}
{The heavens declare the glory of YHWH; the skies proclaim the work of his hands, To YHWH all praise and glory! I claim no credit of my own, with out Yahuwah’s leading Spirit, NONE of this work could even begin to be possible for me. {Glory Be To Yahuwah, and Him alone.}

If you still have a problem after reading this, then it is your problem, you need to take it to Yahuwah, for discernment.

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