The following question was submitted anonymously using the form on the right.
Why do we call the Avos or others from tanach by their first names and we call our Rabbis by a respectful title?
What a great question! I love hearing the questions you readers have and seeing how you think things through! You sound like someone who has a true desire to give the proper respect to all people - that is a middah we should all learn from and try to emulate!
Although I have not seen a source for this answer, I am taking the liberty to write up an answer that I thought of on my own.
Our Avos are called with the title father, Avraham Avinu, Yitzchok Avinu and Yaakov Avinu. This should remind us that they can be compared to our father in a very real way. We can and should learn practical lessons for life from the things we read about them in the Torah. Hashem wrote each thing down for a reason - because there is a message for us, the future generations to take from what happened.
They are not meant to be Avos in an unrealistic way. We are supposed to be able to view them as our REAL fathers. The things they went through and the challenges they endured are meant to give us strength - that we can go through these things too.
I remember when I was in Eretz Yisroel davening at Me'oras Hamachpeila, the place where Adam and Chava, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchok and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah, are buried. It was such an overwhelming feeling when it hit me that this is where they are really buried! This is the place where our Avos - the ones we heard all those stories about - they are HERE! It's not just a joke, it's a REAL THING!! And then I thought about the different things I learned about them in the past, in school, things I've read about their nisyonos...and I davened, I said, "Hashem, please, give those people who are struggling with the same things our Avos struggled with, give them strength to go through and overcome their challenges..." I thought about each of the Avos and Imahos - Avraham and Sarah had so much to deal with - waiting for children, having to raise two different children - Yitzchok and Yishmoel...the Avos dealt with so many challenges that people in our generation are going through - shidduchim, parnassa (Yitzchok and the wells - every time he dug underground and found water, he was chased away and had to start all over again...) think about what each of our forefathers went through and realize that this is not just some story that we learn year after year - this is something real and true that happened!! And this should help us realize that Hashem gives us the strength to overcome any challenge we might face - because He has been with us from the beginning!! And He will be with us throughout our lives - there will never be a time that He wont be with us!!
So perhaps this is one of the messages you can take from the fact that we call our Avos by their names - this makes it much more personal and closer to our hearts. They were our fathers and we can learn from the things that happened to them, gather strength to go through our challenges - because Hashem will pull us through each time!
Another thing is that maybe our generation needs to call our own Rabbis by more respectful titles so that we respect them more. If we look back towards our Avos, of course we will view them respectfully and on a much higher level than us! But the Rabbis in our generation, we might think to ourselves that they are just like us (or almost on our own level). So we need to call them by respectful titles not for them - but for ourselves. So that we always remember to honor them, treat them properly and never to forget that they are much higher than we are and much greater than we are and they deserve the respect that we give them.
I hope this helps you!
Also, please can the person who submitted this question comment to let me know that you read this answer and if you still have a question about what I wrote?