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Granville Sharp's rule states that when a clause has two nouns (or other substantive) in the same case, connected by a copulative kai ("and"), that are not proper nouns (i.e. not someone's name), which describe a person, and the first noun has the definite article while the second does not, both nouns are describing the same person. If one or more of the nouns is plural in number, this may not apply but can.

Titus 2:13 (New King James Version)

13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 1:1 (New King James Version)

1...To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Is the Granville Sharp Rule in effect in these verses? What evidence supports and/or refutes the use of this rule as applied to the similar clause in both of these texts?

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Yeah, you aren't going to get a better answer than the Wallace article linked above. He works through what the rule states and doesn't state, goes over undebated examples of when it applies in the NT, and examines Greek outside the Testament (classical and patristic uses). I'd call it an exhaustive article. Wallace writes in his conclusion: "Consequently, in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 we are compelled to recognize that, on a grammatical level, a heavy burden of proof rests with the one who wishes to deny that 'God and Savior' refers to one person, Jesus Christ." – Frank Luke Mar 21 '14 at 20:46
And, just for the banter, and in case anyone seeing this has as a personal slogan: "ad fontes" - Remarks on the uses of the definitive article.... – Davïd Mar 21 '14 at 21:24
@david brainerd - just looking at a couple of them (1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:3, Eph 1:2), there is no article, so the rule doesn't apply. – Susan Jul 27 '14 at 4:52
This Q&A would still benefit from a summary of Wallace's arguments with some assessment, for which Porter's review (see previous comment) would be useful. – Davïd Apr 14 at 21:34

3 Answers 3

One presumptive analysis is to view all the grammatical situations extant in the Greek New Testament (NA28) and Septuagint where the following morphological string occurs:

        any definite article (in the genitive case) 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 
        any possessive pronoun (in the genitive case) 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 

The presumption here would be to determine whether or not consistency occurs throughout. In the case of the New Testament (4 instances) the presumptive analysis of morphology appears consistent -- that is, the concatenated words seem to appear as an appositive phrase.

However, in the Septuagint (1 instance), the concatenated words do not seem to appear as an appositive phrase. That is, we read of the servant (Solomon) and people. In this particular instance, however, the words following the phrase "the people" are σου Ισραηλ. These qualifying words, however, seem to appear so that the reader would understand that "people" is in reference to the nation (Israel). In other words, without the qualifying phrase "σου Ισραηλ," the reader might have otherwise inferred --based on the grammatical structure of the sentence-- that the servant and people (both singular nouns) were the same entity.

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@Jas3.1 - Would not the example from the LXX be reasonable and relevant to the original question? – Joseph Apr 13 at 20:22
@Jas3.1 - no - click here. This example from the LXX carries no ones name, and thus no personal pronouns are involved. I was hoping this example was relevant to the original question.... – Joseph Apr 13 at 22:00
Hey, @Joseph I have confirmed your taste for the NASB again. ;-) ¡Saludos! – Paul Vargas Apr 14 at 18:20
I can't reverse my DV unless you make an edit. – Jas 3.1 Apr 14 at 19:46

From the link posted by Paul Vargas, found here:

Our restatement of Sharp’s rule is believed to be true to the nature of the language, and able to address all classes of exceptions that Winstanley raised. The “Sharper” rule is as follows:


In native Greek constructions (i.e., not translation Greek), when a single article modifies two substantives connected by καί (thus, article-substantive-καί-substantive), when both substantives are (1) singular (both grammatically and semantically), (2) personal, (3) and common nouns (not proper names or ordinals), they have the same referent.


This rule, as stated, covers all the so-called exceptions. Further, even the exceptions do not impact the christologically significant passages in the NT, for the semantic situation of Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 is outside the scope of Winstanley’s counter-illustrations.



Winer’s opinion notwithstanding, solid linguistic reasons and plenty of phenomenological data were found to support the requirements that Sharp laid down. When substantives meet the requirements of Sharp’s canon, apposition is the result, and inviolably so in the NT. The canon even works outside the twenty-seven books and, hence, ought to be resurrected as a sound principle which has overwhelming validity in all of Greek literature. Consequently, in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 we are compelled to recognize that, on a grammatical level, a heavy burden of proof rests with the one who wishes to deny that “God and Savior” refers to one person, Jesus Christ.

In other words, based on the research presented in the above article, Granville Sharpe's rule is both valid and applicable in these passages.

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Gregory of Nissa, in Adversus Eunomium (4:8), said: “τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ οὐσίαν”. This statement complies with the requirements of the "Sharper" rule, but does not seem to support the conclusion.

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Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. When you habe a minute, be sure to check out the site tour and read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web. This is not a comment on the quality of your answer, but rather a standard welcome message. ... This seems like a helpful answer, but would be improved if you explain a bit more why a translation following Sharp's rule doesn't work. – ThaddeusB Sep 23 at 18:40
Also, please explain why you think this observation applies to the question of the original poster, which is specifically about whether the rule applies in two Biblical passages. – ThaddeusB Sep 23 at 18:42
Ok, ThaddeusB! Thank you! I do not speak english very well. Sorry. But ... Gregory spoke of the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus) in that sentence. It was spoken two related rather than one, although it is according to the rule. Wallace, following Bousset, argues naive modeling for similar cases, but Gregory was one of the Cappadocian that defedenderam the distinction of persons in God, and who can not claim any kind of modalism. – ValdomiroF Sep 24 at 17:41
If Walace was not trying to defend the deity of Jesus in Tt. 2:13 and II Pet. 1.1 put these verses, along with the statement of Gregory and others, in the group of exceptions, as follows: "When it involves the Father, the Son and / or Holy Spirit the rules do not apply." As the case of Wallace is not only grammar, but to assert the deity of Jesus, because of that, he embraced the idea of ​​naive modalism. – ValdomiroF Sep 24 at 17:41
If admtir what Gregory wrote is not modalism, but a possible use among people of the same family (eg, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, in 11,316, reads: "αὐτοῦ τῆς μητρὸς καὶ γυναικὸς καὶ τῶν τέκνων ἔφυγεν εἰς Πέρσας .. "Here there is no modalism, but people of the same family), the rule ceases to be decisive in Tt. 2:13 and II Pet. 1.1 – ValdomiroF Sep 24 at 17:42

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