Since BDAG says "και" suggests a semantic aspect at Titus 2:13 that justifies that “our Great God” is the Father and not Jesus, is και adjunctive?

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    – Soldarnal
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 22:26
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    If Paul believed the passage conveyed the meaning as you understand it, what reason do you see for him using the difficult, and many would say, misleading method he did? If the purpose of writing was to encourage Titus to stay the course with sound doctrine, why not add the article to our savior or use Father (as in the opening)? In terms of accurately and simply conveying two different entities, if Father and Son are intended, what advantage does the actual text offer over others which are more explicit and cannot be misunderstood? Commented May 4, 2020 at 16:25

5 Answers 5


If as you suggest a semantic aspect at Titus 2:13 justifies that "our great God" is the Father and not Jesus can you please "reconcile" the immediate context which states it is Jesus who is appearing at His second coming, not God the Father?

Moreover at Titus 2:14 states it was God the Son Jesus "who gave Himself us, that HE might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself/Jesus Christ a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."

Plus the fact that Titus 2:14 is backed up by Isaiah 44:6, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel And His Redeemer, the Lord of host; I am the first and the last, And there is no God besides Me." "His Redeemer" is the Lord God Himself, who is the Lord of hosts.

The following is what Greek Scholar A.T.Robertson states:

Verse 13

Looking for (προσδεχομενοι — prosdechomenoi). Present middle participle of προσδεχομαι — prosdechomai old verb, the one used of Simeon (Luke 2:25) and others (Luke 2:38) who were looking for the Messiah. The blessed hope and appearing of the glory (την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιπανειαν της δοχης — tēn makarian elpida kai epiphaneian tēs doxēs). The word επιπανεια — epiphaneia (used by the Greeks of the appearance of the gods, from επιπανησ επιπαινω — epiphanēsεπεπανη — epiphainō) occurs in 2 Timothy 1:10 of the Incarnation of Christ, the first Epiphany (like the verb επιπανεια — epephanē Titus 2:11), but here of the second Epiphany of Christ or the second coming as in 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:8. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8 both παρουσια — epiphaneia and του μεγαλου τεου και σωτηρος Ιησου Χριστου — parousia (the usual word) occur together of the second coming. Of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (τεου — tou megalou theou kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou). This is the necessary meaning of the one article with σωτηρος — theou and Χριστου Ιησου — sōtēros just as in 2 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:11. See Robertson, Grammar, p. 786. Westcott and Hort read Christou Iēsou f0).

Verse 14

Who gave himself for us (ος εδωκεν εαυτον υπερ ημων — hos edōken heauton huper hēmōn). Paul‘s great doctrine (Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6). That he might redeem us (ινα λυτρωσηται — hina lutrōsētai). Final clause, ινα — hina and the aorist middle subjunctive of λυτροω — lutroō old verb from λυτρον — lutron (ransom), in N.T. only here, Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. Purify to himself (καταρισηι εαυτωι — katharisēi heautōi). Final clause with first aorist active subjunctive of καταριζω — katharizō for which verb see note on Ephesians 5:26. Lawlessness (ανομιας — anomias). See note on 2 Thessalonians 2:3. A people for his own possession (λαον περιουσιον — laon periousion). A late word (from περιειμι — perieimi to be over and above, in papyri as well as περιουσια — periousia), only in lxx and here, apparently made by the lxx, one‘s possession, and so God‘s chosen people. See note on 1 Peter 2:9 (λαος εις περιποιησιν — laos eis peripoiēsin). Zealous of good works (ζηλωτην καλων εργων — zēlōtēn kalōn ergōn). “A zealot for good works.” Substantive for which see note on 1 Corinthians 14:12; Galatians 1:14. Objective genitive εργων — ergōn f0).

So again, how do you reconcile the context which is speaking of the Son's second coming since God the Father cannot be seen?

  • You may wish to read the section of my paper on Anaphora for that. Or ask the question here and I will answer it. drgregoryblunt.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/sharps-17.pdf#page10
    – user33125
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:03
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    Does this comment betray the above OP's question as a soap-box rant rather than a genuine question?
    – Dottard
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:07
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    @Dottard There is a reason for such a convoluted attempt to make kai do something other than what it usually does.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:46
  • @NigelJ (whispered) I understand your point!
    – Dottard
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:52
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    @ThomasPearne Yea, I read you article and my viewpoint is your trying to "jackhammer" two persons in the context when there is only one person in view. This is based on the fact that you deny the deity of Jesus Christ. What you said in your article. "God is called "Savior" as "he save us" and is therefore the ultimate agent of Salvation. He did this through Jesus Christ our Savior who is identified as God's intermediate agent of salvation." There are NOT two Redeemers/Saviors only one. Isaiah 44:6 is one and the same Savior at Luke 2:11, there has been born for you a Savior, Christ the Lord.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 22:55

The context is important to understand the point Paul is making:

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:13-14) [ESV]

4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3)

The hope of eternal life Paul speaks of is from the loving kindness of God our Savior to save us according to His own mercy and regenerates man by the Holy Spirit that He, God our Savior, pours out through Jesus Christ our Savior. Thus the idea of a supernatural begetting, λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας, as in John 3:3-81 which was made possible only by the death of Jesus Christ (John 7:39). This raises a third way in which Titus 2:13-14 is intended:

There is one referent who had two natures: The great God and Our Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us. That is Jesus is the great God who by nature of becoming human and dying for all is the Savior who asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:16)

The Great God
Great (μεγάλου) applies to Christ and means "being relatively superior in importance:"

pertaining to be relatively superior in importance, great a) of rational entities of God and other deities ...Tit 2:13 (Christ is meant).2

The contrast with God our Savior (cf. 1:3, 2:10, 3:4) is the great God is relatively superior in importance. In other words, the Son who died is relatively more important than the Father who sent the Son. Obviously both are a requirement for man to be saved and equally obvious, becoming human in order to be crucified is relatively more important. The idea is very similar to what Paul says in Philippians 2:6-11).

First, to make an assertion Paul has "the" Father in mind is contrary to what is written in this letter. "Father" is used just once, and it is without the article. There is no grammatical or contextual basis for a claim the BDAG equates the great God with the Father (1:4). In fact, such a claim misstates the BDAG which says of great, "Christ is meant."

Second, many scholars understand the passage should be understood using Sharp's Rule which means the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ and one in the same.

Third, if the suggestion καὶ has a different semantic aspect is correct, then the meaning is to more precisely state the difference between the divinity and humanity of Jesus. In other words, recognizing the one who died to save us was the Word who came into the world as a man in order to accomplish what His Father's will.

1. C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John, S.P.C.K, 1962, p. 172
2. Fredrick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, The University Chicago Press, 2000, p. 624 [Also William F. Arndt F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, The University Chicago Press, 1957, p. 499]


You seem to render Titus 2:13 as

the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and [ the appearing of ] our Savior Jesus Christ

Interesting theory! Let's give it a try, and see what happens:

the will of the God and [ the will of ] our father — Galatians 1:4

unto the God [ glory ] and [ unto ] our father glory ! — Philippians 4:20

before the God and [ before ] our father — 1 Thessalonians 1:3

the very God and our [ very ] father — 1 Thessalonians 3:11

in front of the God and [ in front of ] our father — 1 Thessalonians 3:13

Feel free to use the Bible software1 of your choice to check the Greek Scriptures for other occurrences of expressions of the form the X and Y ours within the text of the Septuagint and New Testament, and come to your own conclusion(s), based on the data.

1 Theophilos, e-Sword, etc.

  • @ThomasPearne: All I did, in my last paragraph, was inviting the reader to draw their own conclusions, based on the available (ancient) Greek textual data, which advice you seem to have followed. Concerning the Book of Proverbs, both Solomon and his translator(s) seem quite comfortable with the ambiguity, since God is (obviously) King as well (1 Samuel 10:19, 12:12). As for Clement of Alexandria, that particular passage seems deeply influenced by -and heavily impregnated with- the Monistic tendencies of pagan Greek thought.
    – Lucian
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 3:47

The Greek text of Titus 2:13 is:

προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ,

You will immediately observe that following the word ἐπιφάνειαν (appearing) there are no verbs, only nouns and pronouns/articles and one (very significant) καὶ. Further, this great parade of nouns and pronouns are ALL genitive, creating a linked genitive chain, and so could be translated (very literally):

awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour of us, of Jesus Christ,

Such a translation admits of at least two possible interpretations:

  1. that Jesus Christ is our great God and Saviour, meaning that a single person is in view who has two clusters of titles: "our great God and Saviour" and "Jesus Christ".
  2. That the glory of our great God and Saviour, is Jesus Christ. Here two persons are in view suggesting that Jesus is the glory of our great God and Saviour.

In both cases, "God" and "Saviour" are the same person. The matter then becomes is this person different from "Jesus Christ".

Of these two, the first sounds more natural and fits the grammar and context better than the second. The reason for this is because:

  1. It follows immediately from the chain of genitives because if the second is true, one might expect that "Jesus Christ" would be accusative or dative rather than genitive. That is, V13 is read as: the appearing of the glory … is the appearing of Jesus Christ. Thus, we might interpretively translate V13 as: "... the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Saviour, is the appearing of the glory of Jesus Christ.
  2. V14 actually and explicitly says that Jesus Christ is the one who gave Himself to redeem us, ensuring that Jesus is the Saviour, and by extension, our great God as well.
  3. For Jesus to be the "glory of God" (as per interpretation #2) would be unique in Scripture. Many other things are called the glory of God such as the heavens (Ps 19:1); man (1 Cor 11:7); concealing a matter (Prov 25:2); good works (1 Cor 10:31); resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:4); confessing Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:11), etc, but never Jesus.

Either way, God and Saviour is the same person.

  • In my understanding, "Jesus Christ" should be in the genitive whether it is in apposition to "our Savior" or to "glory". I don't think this is the problem. The issue is the distance. After unsuccessfully searching for other genitive constructions that have a similar distance, I am inclined to agree with @ThomasPearne that "Jesus Christ" is in apposition to "our Savior" or perhaps "our great God and Savior" if Granville Sharp's rule applies here. Perhaps "the glory of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ" is a hendiadys: "the great God's glory, that is, our Savior Jesus Christ". Commented May 3, 2020 at 20:29
  • @ThomasPearne - sorry about the comma - fixed
    – Dottard
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 21:42
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    @ThomasPearne - that is NOT what I have written - it is "the great God and Saviour of us, of Jesus Christ,"
    – Dottard
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 21:57
  • You might be right @ThomasPearne. I am not finding much. Perhaps 2 Cor 1:3: ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως ("the father of the mercies and God of all comfort"). Of course there is some difference and there is no parallelism like here. Commented May 3, 2020 at 22:38

Good point about Sharp's careful nuance of a copulative και. I am not sure offhand about other grammatical reasons for why Sharp's rule might not apply here.

I would like to approach this question from a different angle, though, suggesting a third alternative reading.

If we should assume that Granville Sharp's rule does apply here, that και is copulative and thus τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν refers to the same person, perhaps the phrase nevertheless refers to the Father and not to Jesus. Perhaps Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is not appositional to τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ("our great God and Savior") but to τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ("the glory of our great God and Savior"). If so, we could read the verse as something like "while we wait for the blessed hope and appearance of our great God and Savior's glory: Jesus Messiah."

In support of this reading consider at least two parallels: 2:11 and 3:4.

This reading would parallel v. 11 Ἐπεφάνη γὰρ ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ σωτήριος πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ("For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people."): Ἐπεφάνη ("It has appeared") would parallel ἐπιφάνειαν ("appearance"); ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ ("the grace of the God") would parallel τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ ("the glory of the great God"); and σωτήριος ("bringing salvation"/"salvific") would parallel σωτῆρος ("savior").

Also notice the phrase τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ ("God our Savior") in v. 10 and another potential parallel to this reading in Titus 3:4: ὅτε δὲ ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ ("But when the goodness and the kindness of God our savior has appeared"). Here, ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία … τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ ("the goodness and the grace … of God our Savior") would parallel τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ("the glory of our great God and Savior"), and ἐπεφάνη ("it has appeared") would parallel ἐπιφάνειαν ("appearance").

Just a thought.

  • @RyanStephen - excellent suggestion!! My only reservation here is that the word δόξης (glory) which is a genitive noun here. In your translation - might that noun need to be accusative?
    – Dottard
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:48
  • Thank you for the Hort reference and the pushback. I was not aware that others have proposed this as I have not yet researched the secondary literature on this. It was just a thought that I have had as I read the text in the past and decided to offer it here as a possibility. I also edited my answer for the clarification and expansion of my thoughts. As to your objection, because of the parallelism that I see in v. 11 as indicated above in my edited answer, I am not inclined to think that της δόξης is adjectival to ἐπιφάνειαν and thus mean "the glorious appearance." I'll consider it further. Commented May 1, 2020 at 21:53
  • The distance between the nouns in apposition is indeed a major weakness. I'm now wondering if και might be connecting a hendiadys and thus be rendered, "the glory of the great God namely our Savior Jesus Messiah". As I think about it τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ might be a hendiadys itself: "the blessed hope even the appearance of the glory of the great God". Would it be unheard of for two occurrences of και to connect the same thought?: "the blessed hope, even the appearance of the glory of the great God, namely our Savior Jesus Christ." Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:38
  • BTW, I did a search a bit ago for another post on the occurrences of τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ in the LXX, Josephus, and Philo. Here's what I found: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/47016/35539. Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:56

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