Christ as Master

Can someone help me understand this as it would have been understood in His time, please? When I think of the word “master” as an American I understandably thinking of the time of slavery.

Do we know what the Greek word that was used and how that translate into our “master”. Is the Greek word conveying a different idea than what we would see?


What does Christ being “Master” mean (as He was called by several of His disciples)

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was in reference to Jesus being an authoritative Jewish teacher. In modern language, we get degrees from a university that indicate a certain level of learning in a particular line of study, like a Master of Business (MB). In this case, it was a title for people like Jesus, who were considered to be experts in Jewish Law. I don’t think it was an official title, though.

Master has a few meanings, even in English, other than simply one who holds slaves. Master can mean something like “Lord,” which is an old title of respectful address–some modern languages retain this, as in Spanish. Señor can mean either “mister” or “lord.” As someone else pointed out, Master can also have an academic sense–in this wise it comes from the Latin “Magister,” which just means “teacher.” One who had qualified as a Master in the medieval university was allowed to teach and to be a part of the Master’s guild.

Depending on the translation, Christ might be addressed as Master; this is likely to translate the word “kyrios,” which is simply “Lord” in Greek. Again, this can be a title of respectful address, but also one denoting divinity.


Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms. all mean “master” (aka mister) or “mistress.”

If you own your own body, you hold the title of master or mistress. You are responsible for yourself. This title applies (as a courtesy) even to little kids; it’s why the proper formal address for little boys is Master X.

Moving along… “kyrios” as a form of address for rabbis and teachers is the Greek translation of Hebrew “adon” or Aramaic “mar”. The head of a household or a teacher was “lord” or “master” to those under his authority. As a courtesy, people would address any prophet or teacher that way.

In general, ancient Jewish courtesy is like courtesy in the Middle East today – you call yourself something that makes you sound lower than the person you’re addressing, and you call the other person something higher than their actual social and legal status.

A few different Greek words in the Bible are translated as “master” in English: one is Ραββι, which is “rabbi”; one is διδασκαλος, which is “teacher”; one is κυριος (κυρια when feminine), which is “lord/master”.

I suspect that the last is the one which you want, and it really is a very common term in Greek: it refers to the head of the household, with or without slaves (slavery being a part of those cultures), or to anyone else in any position of power or authority, including even the gods. In the Bible, it is translated “Lord” fairly often.

Thank you. Yes, that is what I am looking for. Your explanation was very helpful.

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