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I was first alerted to this in the NIV footnote of that verse:

We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.[a]

Footnotes: [a] Or God and Lord, Jesus Christ

Some other translations support this: from the paraphrase of the New Living Translation to the literal rendering of Young's:

... that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

(Though a comma before "Jesus" would make all the difference here.)

How clear is it from the original text what Paul (and Silas and Timothy) intended here? Are they calling Jesus divine?

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3 Answers

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I have checked this verse in a Greek New Testament with an 'apparatus' indicating if there are any differences in original texts that would lend to more than one rendering but there are not any. Therefore it is the same greek sentence in all manuscripts translated by all according to the perceived logic of the sentence alone. In other words this is not one of those instance where one original text was slightly altered to pretensiously add further support from any doctrine in dispute but all original texts have the same rendering.

The Greek the text in question reads as:

κατα (according to) την (the) χαριν (grace) του Θεου (of our God) ημων και (and) Κυριου (of Lord) Ιησου (Jesus) Χριστου (Christ) Newberry Interlinear

From this phrase 'of our God and Lord Jesus' we find 'Κυριου' can mean simply Lord or Yahweh as another title or name of God, or it can be meant to distinguish the Son (Lord) from the Father (God).

Personally it would seem that there is no need to think that saying the 'Lord God Jesus Christ' any more directly entitles Christ as God than does 'the Lord' itself. 'The Lord' already means God in the context. Therefore, since the subject before 'God' is 'grace' and this is usually ascribed to the Father who gives us his grace in his Son, the NIV properly understands this verse to distinguish the grace of the Father which is given in the Son our Lord. In other words 'God' is principally referring to 'God the father' and 'Lord' is referring to 'God the Son'.

From this standpoint, I think the NIV footnote is a just a gracious accommodation for a less logical form of the sentence which would still be true.

I answer the question not as an expert in Greek but after searching for an answer became somewhat certain that this is a defensible conclusion.

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κατα την (the) χαριν (grace) του Θεου (of our God) ημων και (and) Κυριου (of Lord) Ιησου (Jesus) Χριστου (Christ)

Wallace demonstrates that Granville Sharp's rule does not come into play here because Ιησου Χριστου is a proper name. As such, του only modifies Θεου and refers to the Father. Literally, "according to the grace of the God of us ..."

κυριου (of Lord) Ιησου (Jesus) Χριστου (Christ)

Literally, "of (the) Lord Jesus Christ."

As Fraser notes, and diagrams, both the Lord Jesus Christ and "our God" supply the requisite grace.

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FWIW, Granville Sharp's rule (though I'd rather call it his observation) is an extremely subtle thing with a lot of associated caveats. Even the original caveats are not, in my opinion, sufficient as they stand. The best known example being LXX Pro 24:21, but there are also other more violent exceptions in the profane Greek corpus. Readers should remember that no such rule existed in any Greek grammar before the 18th century, and the "rule" was certainly unknown to early Koine speaking grammarians. Which isn't to dismiss some of the great insights Sharp had of course. –  Fraser Orr Jan 23 '13 at 2:35
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I'd argue that that the footnote is not correct, based on the placement of the word hemon (which means "our") Maintaining word order, the Greek text reads:

According-to the grace of the God of-us, and of [the] Lord Jesus Christ.

If they were the same referent it would be:

According to the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ of us.

This is hidden in the English translation because in English we put "our" at the front, not at the back, which means it would be the same in English regardless of which meaning is intended.

Bracketing to indicate the grouping:

(the grace of our God) and (of the Lord Jesus Christ)

or

(the grace of (our God and the Lord Jesus Christ))

In the former hemon ("our" or "of us") would be after God, in the latter, after the whole phrase referring to "the grace".

Which is to say, this is not a Trinitarian statement.

BTW, in regards to Mike's answer above, you should never draw conclusions based on the punctuation of the Greek texts. The plain fact is that the earliest texts didn't have punctuation, in fact, they didn't even have spaces between the words. So it is unreliable, and the opinion only of the later copyists.

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I edited your answer to make the translation section stand out. Please take a look at our formatting hints. –  Jon Ericson Nov 9 '12 at 21:41
    
Also, I don't think Mike was suggesting that we look at punctuation. However, it's a good reminder: punctuation has developed dramatically in the last 2000 years. –  Jon Ericson Nov 9 '12 at 21:45
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To Mike and Fraser Orr, I agree with Fraser on this one. But look at Titus 2:13- "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Fraser if you look at the Greek in this one "hemon" it is before Jesus Christ in this verse which is the total opposite of 2 Thessalonians 1:12. –  user1995 Jan 22 '13 at 3:07
    
@Luke thanks for you comment, however, I think the interpretation of Titus 2:13 is rather different than you suggest. However, this comment section is not the place to put such an answer. If you post it as a question, I'd be happy to give my input on the matter. FWIW, hemon in Greek applies to that which precedes not to that which follows as "our" does in English, so hemon in Titus refers to "our savior" not, grammatically speaking anyway, to "Jesus Christ." –  Fraser Orr Jan 23 '13 at 2:26
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