‘Rabbi’ was a Hebrew word meaning ‘my teacher’ or ‘my master’. Pupils used the word when addressing their teachers (Matt 23:7; Mark 9:5; John 1:38; 3:25-26), and it was a common title that Jesus’ disciples used in addressing him (Matt 26:25; John 6:25; 9:2; 13:13-14; 20:16). People in general used the word as a title of respect for prominent teachers in the community (Luke 3:12; 10:25; John 1:49; 3:2). The word also had a more specialized meaning as a formal title for the Jewish teachers of the law known as scribes (cf. Luke 2:46; Matt 23:7; Acts 5:34; 22:3; see SCRIBES).

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