A Little Bible Q & A For Your Day
Posted by: Eddie Ingram
Date: Feb 24 2017 10:10 AM
I hope your week has been positive! I also wish success for your weekend. For today, here is a little Bible Q & A.
Dear Brother: Two teenagers here have a question. Is it right to address people as “Brother Smith” or “Sister Jones”? They feel that this is using those terms as titles, and thus is wrong.
Jesus said, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ" (Matt. 23:9-10). The reason for this warning is found in the preceding verses, when the Lord shows that people often seek the "limelight," wanting to be put on a little higher plane than others. When titles are used, there is a separation created, in that one is elevated above others. But "in Christ" all are equal (Gal. 3:28).
When James and John sought a special place, above that of the other apostles, Jesus gave this teaching: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:25-28). Instead of seeking to be raised up above others, or elevating others, we must always strive for that self-abasement that puts all on equality.
The term "brother" is not necessarily a title, but it can be. It is a term that should simply show relationship. The apostle Peter wrote of "our beloved brother Paul" (2 Pet. 3:15). Problems come when we think that we must address one as "Brother Jones" in order to show respect and honor. That is using the term as a title, and is just as wrong as referring to him as "Father."
There is nothing wrong with calling someone "brother" when it is used simply to show our relationship with that person. But we should be careful lest we be guilty of using the term to seek to elevate someone above another. Through the years, my fellow-Christians have nearly always addressed me as "Mitch (or Mr. Mitch by the kiddos)." But quite often folks will not attempt to call me by my given name, preferring to call me "Reverend, Pastor, or Brother Robison" because I am a preacher. That use makes it a title, and titles are wrong. But whether the term "brother" is used to show relationship (which is right) or used as a title (which is wrong), depends on what's in the mind of the speaker.
I hope this helps.
Have a great weekend! Come see us sometime, we'd love to have you!!
Enon Church of Christ
1366 Enon Rd.
Webb, AL 36376