Bible Q & A
Should We Address Ministers as "Reverend"?
Let us understand how and when it
became the custom to give ministers this title.
The word “reverend” is applied
only to God in the Bible -- it is not once applied to man. In Psalm 111:9 we read: “. . . He
(God) hath commanded his covenant forever; holy
is HIS NAME.”
Another translation renders it: “Holy and awful
(that is, full of awe, worthy of worship) is his
God alone has a name
which may properly be addressed as “Reverend”.
No man will have such a name until born again
in the resurrection. No minister has a name
which is worthy of reverence or worship.
You cannot find one place in all
the New Testament where Paul, Peter, James, John
– or any other minister—was ever addressed as
“Reverend.” If we follow the Bible
example – which we are commanded to do – then we
ought not ever use the title “Reverend” for any
minister. (See Matt. 23:9). Since many
ministers of this world’s religions would take
offence were you not to give them some title,
you may properly address them as “Pastor” or
“Elder” or “Evangelist” or “Bishop”, depending
on what office they hold. These are proper
titles of office given in the New Testament.
They may be applied – out of respect to
ministers, whether or not those ministers are
serving the true God.
The use of titles such as
“Reverend” began when
the great apostasy set in the Church at the
close of the first century. Ministers put
themselves “in the place of Christ.” Hence they
took upon themselves the attributes and titles
of divinity. God’s ministers have never done