According to Wikipedia, Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side, with one element serving to identify the other in a different way; the two elements are said to be in apposition...

Here's the passage:

KVJ Php 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

It is very common to hear people refer to "God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit" in a way that suggests that "God" is a category and "the Father", "the Son" and "the Spirit" are subcategories. Of course, only "God the Father" appears in the scriptures. In fact, it appears several times:

Joh_6:27  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Gal_1:1  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Gal_1:3  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Eph_6:23  Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Php_2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1Th_1:1  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Ti_1:2  To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tit_1:4  To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

1Pe_1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

2Pe_1:17  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

2Jn_1:3  Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Jud_1:1  Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

My understanding is that "God the Father" is not used in the popular Trinitarian sense of category/subcategory but is in every case apposition. Is there any Koine convention that might suggest that any of the examples I cite above are anything other than a simple case of apposition, identifying "God" as "the Father"?

KJV unless otherwise noted


2 Answers 2


The one exception might be John 6:27 which just has (in NA28 & UBS5) just "the father" obviously signifying God. Further, other than John, all the examples you quote do not use the phrase "God the father" in Greek but simply "God Father" which is often (literally) "God father our", meaning "God our father".

In Gal 1:3, Eph6:23, 1 Thess 1:1, etc, we have another construction, "God father and Lord Jesus Christ". Whether the phrase "θεοῦ πατρός" is rendered "God father" or "God [the] Father", or "Father God", the Greek definite article is absent and in any case is an example of apposition.

One must be careful of drawing too many theological conclusions from this. This is simply a case of aided identification and does not confer any exclusive identity on God the father any more than my comment about "my car the red one" suggests that I only have a red car when I have several - it could mean either that my only car is red, or, that I have several cars, one of which is red.

However, there is another subtlety here that often escapes notice. If the Greek phrase "θεοῦ πατρός" is an example of apposition (as I believe it is) it is used most often in conjunction with other phrases such as "Lord Jesus Christ" as your list above ably illustrates. If there were only one God, namely the Father, why does the NT so often use the apposition phrase "θεοῦ πατρός" to make a distinction between Him and the Lord Jesus Christ? I presume that if "God" alone were used it would be ambiguous. Interestingly "Father" referring to God, is used alone as John 6:27 shows. See also 1 John 2:23, John 4:23, 8:38, 14:21, 15:26, Matt 6:18, 23:9, etc.

This material should not be confused with the Granville Sharp rule (updated).

  • Interesting stuff, thanks. Also "my car, the red one" is different from "my car, the gas guzzler" in that "the red one" is not in apposition, instead it is some kind of predicate (I believe).
    – Ruminator
    Oct 28, 2018 at 22:30
  • Also, this is not the statement I would expect from someone "fiercely monotheistic": "I presume that if "God" alone were used it would be ambiguous." But in fact God's name often appears alone or with an identification as "The God and father of our lord Jesus Christ".
    – Ruminator
    Oct 28, 2018 at 22:42
  • Not quite - "God" is often used alone and presumably (most often) refers to the Godhead generally; but "θεοῦ πατρός" refers to a specific person. Here is an example from Jesus' resurrection: • Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 17:31, Rom 4:24, 1 Cor 15:15, Col 2:20, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 21, 1 Thess 1:10 simply say that “God” raised Jesus without specifying any specific person of the Godhead • Rom 6:4, Eph 1:17-20 say that the Father raised Jesus from the dead. • John 2:19-21 and 10:17, 18 both say that Jesus resurrected Himself • Rom 8:11 says that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus
    – user25930
    Oct 28, 2018 at 23:05
  • So is the identity of "God" in any of your examples at all ambiguous as to the referent?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:50
  • One of the verses you cite have a different apposition: KJV Eph 1:17 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". In that verse, interestingly, "the Father of glory" is used in apposition (of a sort) to "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ". Christendom's deity "Trinity" is the unscriptural god of religion but "the Father of glory" is Jesus' God. I'm sticking with Jesus' God.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28, 2018 at 9:30

As the phrase 'God the Son' and 'God the Holy Sprit' is no were to be found in The Bible then that leaves only one answer to your question as I see it, Yes; e.g.:-

Text NWT

Romans 15:6 ... glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:24 . . .when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, . . .

2 Corinthians 1:3  . .Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .

Ephesians 4:6 . . .one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 . . .our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.

Just a few examples.

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