Category Archives: call no man father

What does the word "abba" mean?

This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated “father.” It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, “abbot.” — Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Get a FREE on-line Romans commentary at You may also order this commentary in book form for just $14.95 (it is a great addition to your library, or an ideal gift for friends, a special Bible class teacher or a cherished minister. The next commentary for release will be First Corinthians and we expect that will be out soon!

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Is it wrong to call a minister "Father"?

Question: “Why doesn’t the church of Christ use the title: ‘Reverend?'”

Answer: First, neither Jesus nor his apostles used such titles. In fact, the Bible warns against using “flattering titles” (Job 32:21-22 – KJV). Secondly, Jesus said, “be ye not called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, and ye are all brethren. And call no man your father on the earth, for one is your Father, even He who is in Heaven” (Matthew 23:8-12). Thirdly, such titles imply that preachers are in a class different from other Christians. The Bible makes no such distinction. All Christians are described as members of the “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

In view of the above, we refer to our preachers as “ministers” (1Timothy 4:6), and “evangelists” (2Timothy 4:5).

We do not refer to our preachers as “pastor” because that term is used in Scripture to refer to men who are selected to be elders or overseers of the congregation, an office different from that of a preacher. This is demonstrated where Paul speaks to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17) observing that the Holy Spirit had made them bishops (overseers) and describes their work as “feeding and protecting the flock of God” which is the duty of a pastor or shepherd (verses 28-29). When men today meet the strict qualifications given in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 by the Holy Spirit, it can be said of them that they are “appointed by the Holy Spirit.” If they don’t meet those qualifications, the Holy Spirit did not appoint them.

Since our commitment is to follow the New Testament pattern, we observe these things regarding our preachers.—Toby Miller

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

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