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Rabbi, meaning Teacher, or Master (as in the sense of School Master) was, and is, a dignified title given by Jews to doctors of the religious law and distinguished teachers. In the New Testament, it was most often recorded when used by His disciples for Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was also called Rabbi by his students (although Jesus Christ later gave new instructions regarding the use of the term "Teacher" - see the Fact Finder question below).

"Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God"

John The Baptist was addressed as Rabbi (which means teacher) by his disciples (disciple simply means student) even as John humbly explained to them that he was to prepare the way for a greater Teacher:


"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 [see also The Origin of Baptism], and all men come to him."

"John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:26-30 KJV) [see also John's Last Days]

Jesus Christ was addressed as Rabbi, meaning Teacher:

"Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?" They said unto him, Rabbi, which is to say, being interpreted, Master, where dwellest Thou?" (John 1:38 KJV)

"Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel." (John 1:49 KJV)

"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:1-2 KJV)

"When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found Him on the other side of the sea, they said unto Him, Rabbi, when camest Thou hither?" (John 6:24-25 KJV)

Mary of Magdala, the first human to see Jesus Christ after His resurrection, addressed Him as Rabboni, which like Rabbi, means teacher:

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?"

"She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if Thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away."

"Jesus saith unto her, Mary."

"She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master."

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God." (John 20:15-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: Because of the amount of hypocrisy among the Scribes and Pharisees of that time (see Hypocrites), what did Jesus Christ, Who was a Jew (Luke 4:16, John 4:9-10), teach His disciples about the use of the term Rabbi, meaning (school) Master, or Teacher? What did the Christ say about "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren"?
Matthew 23:1-13

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