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Holman Bible Dictionary
In the New Testament the title rabbi is used only in three of the gospels. In Matthew 23:7-8 scribes generally are addressed. In John 3:26 John the Baptist is thus called by his disciples. In all other occurrences “rabbi” and an alternate form “rabboni” apply to Jesus in direct address ( Mark 9:5; Mark 11:21; Mark 14:45 , John 1:49; John 3:2; John 4:31; John 6:25; John 9:2; John 11:8; John 20:16 ).
Luke never used the term rabbi , but the word epistata , the equivalent of “school-master,” a term more meaningful to his predominantly Greek first readers (Luke 17:13 ).
A unique relationship existed between Jesus and His disciples, compared to the typical rabbi and his pupils. They were forbidden to call each other “rabbi” (Matthew 23:8 ), and in Matthew, particularly, Jesus' disciples call Him “Lord” (Kurie ). For Matthew, Jesus was not just a teacher to His followers; He was their Lord.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Rabbi'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/r/rabbi.html. 1991.