top of page

Religious hypocrisy loves showmanship (part 2; use titles in humility)

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Rev. Enoch Thompson | August 6, 2023 | Matthew 23:5-12


And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Matthew 23:9 (NIV)


Have you noticed the craze for titles which makes people pay for and adopt academic titles which they have not worked for? What about the bombastic ecclesiastical titles that people flaunt around them? As part of the Lord’s rebuke of the hypocritical love for showmanship of the religious leaders of His day, He indicated the love of titles as one of the manifestations of their moral sickness of hypocrisy. In further comments, the Lord says:

⁸"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. ⁹And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. ¹⁰ Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. Matthew 23:8-10 (NIV).

In the context of this discussion, the Lord imposes the avoidance of titles. This must be understood properly in the wider scheme of biblical teaching, for scripture must explain scripture. Did the Lord mean that we should not use the titles of father, teacher or rabbi? Certainly not. His examples and those of His Apostles show that the text did not forbid the use of those titles. The Lord was hitting at the heart of pretence which makes us feel that we are important and maybe are acceptable to God because we reive titles and accolades from people.

In John 3:10 (NIV) the Lord acknowledged Nicodemus as a teacher when He said; “You are Israel's teacher, and do you not understand these things? Paul reminds the Corinthian disciples that he was their spiritual father, in that he brought them into the knowledge of the Gospel leading to their conversion: “Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV). Under divine inspiration, Paul describes Abraham in Romans 4:16 (NIV) this way, “He is the father of us all.” What was the Lord teaching then in Matthew 23:5-12?

The issue at stake was the self-exaltation and pride that the pretenders of religion drew from those titles that they craved; “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 (NIV). The Lord was not against the use of titles. He was against the sense of value that people placed on themselves because they had titles and positions. An unworthy person before God is a hypocrite when they use titles to impress people.


Have you gained some credible titles, use them in humility, to the glory of God. Are you defined by the titles people give? Then you need a self-redefinition, finding your true worth in your relationship with God.


Dear Lord, thank you for drawing the lines between using titles and being used by titles. Help me Lord and help your Church to rise above the pride of life especially that which comes from seeking the approval and entitlements of humans. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



_______________________________________________ DAILY word study: FATHER

In Matthew 23:9, Jesus instructs His disciples, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven." This verse addresses the danger of elevating human authority figures to a status that competes with our ultimate relationship with God the Father. Jesus reminds us of the unique and sacred position of God as our heavenly Father.

This passage prompts us to reflect on the nature of our relationship with God and how we view human authority figures. It invites us to examine whether we are giving proper reverence and honour to our heavenly Father above all.

The Greek word used for "father" in Matthew 23:9 is "πατήρ" (pater), which means "father, ancestor." It signifies the biological or spiritual relationship of being a father. This word holds profound significance, especially in the context of this passage.


Throughout the New Testament, "pater" is used to refer to God as the Father, emphasizing His role as the ultimate source of all creation and the spiritual Father of believers. In this specific verse, Jesus emphasizes the exclusive and transcendent nature of God as our one true Father.

The command not to call anyone on earth "father" is not a prohibition against the use of the term itself, but rather a reminder of the priority and honour due to God as our heavenly Father. It underscores the unique relationship we have with Him, characterized by His love, guidance, and authority over our lives.

As we delve into the word "father" within the context of Matthew 23:9, it prompts us to cherish and honour our divine relationship with God. It encourages us to recognize the unparalleled role of our heavenly Father in shaping our identity and guiding our journey of faith. Let this reflection lead us to deepen our connection with God and elevate Him above all human authorities.

29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



BaptistDaily Devotional logo.png

The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
BAPTIST Daily Devotional  - God-inspired Word for your daily walk


Want more God-inspired word? send an email

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page