Matthew 23:8 But do not let yourself be called Rabbi:

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Jesus is speaking to a crowd including his disciples about scribes and Pharisees.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You yourselves, however, do not want to be named "Great." Because one is yours, this teacher. All. however. you yourselves brothers you are.

My Takeaway: 

We need to give up our love of titles and honors and simply do what is right.

KJV : 

Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

NIV : 

Matthew 23:8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The use of "Christ" in the KJV is a defect of the Greek source they used. The emphasis on the plural "you" used as a subject is more like "you yourselves."

The negative is a negative of opinion that has the sense of "not want." It is not a command, but it is the negative used with commands.

The "your" used with "teachers" is unusual, for Jesus, because it comes before the subject. He does this to emphasize possession, the sense is "one is yours, this teacher."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὑμεῖς [92 verses](pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is from hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

κληθῆτε [38 verses](verb 2nd pl aor ind pass) "Be...called" is kaleo, which means "call", "summon", "invite", "invoke", "call by name," and "demand."

Ῥαββεί. (2 verses](Hebrew word) "Rabbi" is not from any Greek word, though listed in Strong's as rhabbi, but the Hebrew rab, which means, as an adjective,  "much", "many", "great", "strong," and "greater than." As a masculine noun, it means "captain" or "chief."  

εἷς [94 verses](noun sg masc nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

γὰρ [205 verses](partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἐστιν [614 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

(article sg masc/fem nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

διδάσκαλος, [10 verses](noun sg masc/fem nom) "Master" is didaskalos, which means "teacher", "master", "trainer," and "producer."

πάντες [212 verses](adj pl masc nom) "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "And" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ὑμεῖς [92 verses](pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

ἀδελφοί ς [37 verses](noun pl masc nom) "Brethren" is adelphos, which means "son of the same mother", "kinsman", "colleague", "associate," and "brother."

ἐστε: [614 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." -- The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

KJV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

be -- (WN) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. This makes the verb appear to be singular when it is plural.

not "-- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  

ye  - The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating many of Christ's listeners.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."

called  - The term translated as "called" is like our word "call" because it means both "to summon" and also "to name," but it does not as clearly mean "to address." It is in the passive.

Rabbi:   - "Rabbi" is from a Hebrew word, not a Greek word, and adjective that means "much", "many", "great", "strong," and "greater than." As a masculine noun, it means "captain" or "chief."  Jesus only used it in  Matthew 23:7 and Matthew 23:8, telling others not to use it. All other use of this word are by others addressing Jesus, which seems like an inside Joke.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

one - The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

your -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. Untypically. this word precedes the noun and its article.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Master,  - (WW) "Master" is translated from a Greek word that means "teacher," and "trainer." In the KJV, a different word was used, one that primarily means "guide." This word is usually translated as "Master" in the Gospels, but the main sense is always "teacher." The word usually translated as "lord" has more the general sense of a "master" as in a master of the house or a master of slaves.

even -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "even" in the Greek source.

Christ; -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "Christ" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used. The article before the Greek word is left out.

and  - (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

all  - The word translated as "all" is from the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

ye  - The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we say "you yourselves."  It is plural.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."

are  - -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

brethren.  - The word translated as "brethren" means a biological brother, any kinsmen, and more broadly and friend or associate.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "be" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "are."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "master" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "master" should be "teacher."
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "even" doesn't exist in the source.
  • -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "Christ" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

NIV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

you  - The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating many of Christ's listeners.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."

are-- This helping verb "are" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

not "-- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  

to be - (WT) This makes the verb appear to be the future tense when it is the present.

called  - The term translated as "called" is like our word "call" because it means both "to summon" and also "to name," but it does not as clearly mean "to address." It is in the passive.

Rabbi:   - "Rabbi" is from a Hebrew word, not a Greek word, and adjective that means "much", "many", "great", "strong," and "greater than." As a masculine noun, it means "captain" or "chief."  Jesus only used it in  Matthew 23:7 and Matthew 23:8, telling others not to use it. All other use of this word are by others addressing Jesus, which seems like an inside Joke.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

you -- (WF) This is not the subject of the verb. The word translated is "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This word modifies "teacher."

have -- (WW) The verb "have" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

one - The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Teacher,  - "Teacher" is translated from a Greek word that means "teacher," and "trainer." In the KJV, a different word was used, one that primarily means "guide." This word is usually translated as "Master" in the Gospels, but the main sense is always "teacher." The word usually translated as "lord" has more the general sense of a "master" as in a master of the house or a master of slaves.

and  - (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

all  - The word translated as "all" is from the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

you - The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we say "you yourselves."  It is plural.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."

are  - -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. 

brothers.  - The word translated as "brothers" means a biological brother, any kinsmen, and more broadly and friend or associate.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "be" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "are."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "to be" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "you" is not subject but a possessive, "your."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" should be "is."
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "teacher" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."

Front Page Date: 

Jul 30 2021