Matthew 23:10 says we should not use the word master… But isn’t “Mr.” a short of master?


“Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” (Matthew 23:10).

Because the title “Mr.” is derived from earlier forms of “master,” some have questioned the use of this title. Historically, mister—like Sir or my lord—was applied only to those above one’s own status.  But this understanding is now obsolete, as it was gradually expanded as a mark of respect to those of equal status and then to all gentlemen. Thus, it is now used indiscriminately.

The Matthew Henry Commentary elaborates on this verse:

“not that it is unlawful to give civil respect to those that are over us in the Lord, nay, it is an instance of the honour and esteem which it is our duty to show them; but,  Christ’s ministers must not affect the name of Rabbi or Master, by way of distinction from other people; it is not agreeable to the simplicity of the gospel, for them to covet or accept the honour which they have that are in kings’ palaces. They must not assume the authority and dominion implied in those names; they must not be magisterial, nor domineer over their brethren, or over God’s heritage, as if they had dominion over the faith of Christians: what they received of the Lord, all must receive from them; but in other things they must not make their opinions and wills a rule and standard to all other people, to be admitted with an implicit obedience.”

Therefore, it is clear that Jesus was not referring to our present-day use of the title “Mr.” as a demonstration of courtesy.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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