Concise Bible Dictionary:

A title of respect among the Jews, signifying “master, teacher,” but is not known to have been used till the time of Herod the Great. It was applied to the Lord, though often translated “master” in the AV (Mark 9:55And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. (Mark 9:5); Mark 11:2121And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. (Mark 11:21); Mark 14:4545And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. (Mark 14:45); John 1:38, 4938Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? (John 1:38)
49Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. (John 1:49)
; John 3:2, 262The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2)
26And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. (John 3:26)
; John 4:3131In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. (John 4:31); John 6:2525And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? (John 6:25); John 9:22And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2); John 11:88His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? (John 11:8)). Jesus forbade the disciples being called Rabbi, for one was their Master (καθηγητής), even Christ (Matt. 23:88But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (Matthew 23:8)). According to the Jews the gradations of honor rose from Rab to Rabbi, and thence to Rabban or Rabboni.

Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names:

my master

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

This was a title of distinction given to teachers, and literally means Master, or Teacher. It is supposed to have been introduced during our Lord’s ministry. Lightfoot says: “We do not too nicely examine the precise time when this title began; be sure it did not commence before the schism arose between the schools of Shammai and Hillel; and from that schism, perhaps, it had its beginning” (Horae Hebraicae). Gamaliel I, who was patriarch in Palestine from A. D. 30-50, was the first who was honored with this title. It will thus be seen that Jesus was assailing a new fashion which had come into use in his own time.
There were three forms of the title used: Rab, Rabbi, Rabbon; respectively moaning, Master, My Master, Our Master. The precise difference between these terms, in their practical application, is not; however, very clear Ginsburg, in Kitto's Cyclopedia, s. v. Rabbi, quotes from two ancient Babylonian Jews to the effect that the title Rab is Babylonian, and was given to those Babylonian sages who received the laying-on of hands in their colleges; while Rabbi is the title given to the Palestinian sages, who received it with the laying-on of hands of the Sanhedrim. They also state that Rab is the lowest title, Rabbi next higher, and Rabbon highest of all, and given only to the presidents.
There is, however, a different explanation of these titles given in the Aruch or Talmudical lexicon. According to this, a Rabbi is one who has disciples, and whose disciples again have disciples. When he is so old that his disciples belong to a past generation, and are thus forgotten, he is called Rabbon; and when the disciples of his disciples are forgotten he is simply called by his own name.
Witsius states that the title was generally conferred with a great deal of ceremony. Besides the imposition of hands by the delegates of the Sanhedrim, the candidate was first placed in a chair a little raised above the company; there were delivered to him a key and a table-book: the key as a symbol of the power and authority conferred upon him to teach others, and the table-book as a symbol of his diligence in his studies. The key he afterward wore as a badge of honor, and when he died it was buried with him (Burder's Oriental Literature, No. 1, 220).

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