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

KJV Verse: 

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

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You, however, do not want to be named "Great." This is because one is your teacher and you all are companions.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are differences between the KJV Greek source and the superior Greek sources used today.

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.

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 all Christ's listeners.

The term translated as "be...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.

The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. More about the Greek negative in this article.

"Rabbi" is from a Hebrew word, not a Greek word, that means "much", "many", "great", "strong," and "greater than." It was used for the first time in the previous verse, Mat 23:7, and Christ does not use it again after this verse, which tells others not to use it. However, it is used by others several times to address him.

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, to prevent a run-on sentence, as a "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

"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 Greek word often translated as "Lord" means "Master" in the sense of one in charge of others.

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.

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

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." It is plural.

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

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

δὲ "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 "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 (verb 2nd pl aor ind pass) "Be...called" is from kaleo, which means "call", "summon", "invite", "invoke", "call by name," and "demand."

Ῥαββεί, "Rabbi" is not from any Greek word, but the Hebrew rab, which means "much", "many", "great", "strong," and "greater than."

εἷς (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.

γάρ "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 (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."

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

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

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

ἐστε: (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.

Related Verses: