1 Cor 12:3 "Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

Does the text in Greek contain the connotation of a second-grammatical-person address in "and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,”"? In other words, can it be rendered like: ""and no one can say, “Jesus, Lord!” except by...", that is, "no one can address Jesus (like in prayer) by calling Him "Lord!" except by..."

  • The Greek original does not have a verb between 'Lord' and 'Jesus'. The literal rendering is '... no-one can say Lord Jesus ...' Biblehub.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 16, 2019 at 21:14
  • 1
    However note that the nouns are nominative case. We would expect vocative case if addressing the Lord Jesus in a prayer. On the other hand, Paul's point is about recognizing Jesus as Lord rather than noun case. Thus, like a prayer would be included, but not exclude the other cases.
    – Perry Webb
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:25
  • @PerryWebb - "We would expect vocative case if addressing the Lord Jesus in a prayer" - How would "Lord" be in vocative in Greek?
    – brilliant
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:30
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    Vocative: Κύριε Ιησού
    – Perry Webb
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:36
  • Eastern Orthodox: Κύριε, ἐλέησον (Lord have mercy)
    – Perry Webb
    Apr 17, 2019 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


Here is my (overly) literal rendering of 1 Cor 12:3

Wherefore, I make known to you that no-one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "A curse [on/is] Jesus"; and no one is able to say, "Lord Jesus" except by [the] Holy Spirit.

Thus we have two essentially independent clauses - one negative and the other positive. Two phrases highlighted in quotes above contain only nouns in the nominative case and behave like Greek proverbs and have no verbs. Every translation I could find correctly inserts verbs to make these overly succinct phrases intelligible in English, and so renders them something like:

"Jesus is Cursed", or, "Accursed is Jesus", or, "Jesus be cursed", etc. The second phrase is usually rendered, "Jesus is Lord".

I also agree with Perry Webb that these two phrases cannot be part of any prayer because they lack the vocative.

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