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Very often here preachers are referred to as reverend.  Is it correct to refer to a preacher, minister or elder as reverend?


The word reverend indicates that a person is worthy of adoration or reverence, entitled to respect mingled with fear and affection. Such a description would apply to our attitude toward God. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him" (Psalm 89:7).

Reverence is something that we give to those who have authority over us. The word is often translated as "fear" because we should be afraid to rebel against that authority. For example, children are to fear or revere their parents (Leviticus 19:3; I Timothy 2:2). God uses that attitude towards one's parents to address the lack of reverence toward Him by ancient Israel: "A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?'" (Malachi 1:6). Christians learn to give God reverence. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).

The problem with using a title like "reverend" for a preacher is that it wrongly elevates a man. In discussing what the Jews did wrong, Jesus lays down a principle of humble service: "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 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. "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:5-12). All Christians ought to reject titles which elevates one Christian above another. "But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "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"" (Matthew 20:25-28).

Save your reverence for the One who deserves it.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Preachers
Questions and Answers regarding Titles