The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 23:9
And call no man your father upon the earth…
that children may, and should call their natural parents, fathers;
and such who have been instrumental in the conversion of souls, may
be rightly called by them their spiritual fathers; as servants and
scholars also, may call those that are over them, and instruct them,
their masters: our Lord does not mean, by any of these expressions,
to set aside all names and titles, of natural and civil distinction
among men, but only to reject all such names and titles, as are used
to signify an authoritative power over men's consciences, in matters
of faith and obedience; in which, God and Christ are only to be
attended to. Christ's sense is, that he would have his disciples not
fond of any titles of honour at all; and much less assume an
authority over men, as if they were to depend on them, as the
founders of the Christian religion, the authors of its doctrines and
ordinances; and to take that honour to themselves, which did not
belong to them; nor even choose to be called by such names, as would
lead people to entertain too high an opinion of them, and take off
of their dependence on God the Father, and himself, as these titles
the Scribes and Pharisees loved to be called by, did: and who were
called not only by the name of Rabbi, but Abba, "Father", also: hence
we read of Abba Saul, or "Father" Saul F14; Abba Jose ben Jochanan, a
man of Jerusalem F15, Abba Chanan F16, Abba Chelphetha, a man of the
village of Hananiah F17; Abba Gorion F18, and others; and this name was
(ybr wmk dwbk Nwvl) , "a name of honour, even as Rabbi" F19, and of
great authority: the wise men are said to be (lkh twba) , "the fathers
of all" F20, to whom all gave heed, and upon whom all depended, as so
many oracles. There is a whole treatise in their Misna, called Pirke
Abot, which contains some of the oracles, and peculiar sayings of these
"fathers", the Misnic doctors, and which are preferred to the writings
of Moses, and the prophets. In this sense, and upon this score, our
Lord inveighs against them, and cautions his disciples against giving
or taking all such titles, in such sense. "For one is your Father,
which is in heaven"; who is so, both by creation and adoption, and is
possessed of all paternal authority; and is to be honoured and obeyed
by all; from whom all wisdom and knowledge is derived, and who has the
care and government of all in heaven and in earth.
F14 Pirke Abot, c. 2. sect. 8.
F15 T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 53. 2.
F16 Ib. fol. 64. 1.
F17 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 94. 1. & Bava Bathra. fol. 56. 2.
F18 Massech Sopherim, c. 15. sect. 10.
F19 Juchasiu, fol. 31. 2. & 61. 2.
F20 Maimon. in Misn. Peah, c. 1. sect. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 23:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=023&verse=009>. 1999.