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In Jesus' time, rabbi is a term of respectful address that the people frequently used when they spoke to their religious leaders, in particular ministers of Judaism. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus is addressed as rabbi by his disciples and other people. Jesus harshly criticized those who took pride in being called rabbi in public; he warned his disciples, "You are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren"[1].

While the word Rabbi originally could refer to any religious leader, it is particular to a minister of Judaism.


Derived from the Hebrew word rab, meaning great, rabbi is literally translated my master.


  1. Matthew 23:8 (Link)