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Titus 2 text:

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

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Different translations render this verse differently, so that those following the 1798 Granville Sharp rule of Greek grammar applicable here have Jesus Christ as both God and Saviour, while those that do not apply it have God as God, and Jesus as Saviour.

The AV reads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The NASB 1977 agrees while rendering the verse more literally: “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
But the NWT takes the latter stance, rendering Titus 2:13 as, “while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus” (Note the square brackets around ‘the’).

In the original Greek, the words for “God” and “Savior” are joined by kai, and the definite pronoun ho is only used once, preceding “God”. According to the Granville Sharp Rule of Greek grammar, both God and Savior must refer to the same person, namely, Jesus Christ. Here is what the rule states:

“When the copulative kai connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill,] if the article ho, or any of its cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle.” Granville Sharp, Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament: Containing Many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ, from Passages Which Are Wrongly Translated in the Common English Version. (3)

In simpler terms, the Granville Sharp Rule says that when two singular common nouns are used to describe a person, and those two nouns are joined by an additive conjunction, and the definite pronoun precedes the first noun but not the second, then both nouns refer to the same person. This principle of semantics holds true in all languages.

The actual rule of Granville Sharp is concerned with the use of definite articles and copulative conjunctions in the New Testament. Copulative conjunctions (also called additive conjunctions) are words that join other words and indicate the relation of additional information. In English, we have one definite article, the; some copulative conjunctions are and, moreover, and also. The grammatical construction of the Greek makes it plain: definite article + singular noun + copulative conjunction + singular noun = the same person. However, it might need to be pointed out that no writer of any of the Bible books ever treats God and Jesus as “one person”, nor does Titus 2:13 make such a category error.

That verse is NOT stating that Jesus is Jehovah God. It states that Jesus is the great God, and given what Isaiah 9:6 says about him, that's true - one of his titles is "the Mighty God", which is equally applied to Jehovah God in Isaiah 10:21. But the Father and the Son sharing the same titles does not turn them into the same person! Nowhere in the Bible is the Father (Jehovah) ever said to be the Son (Jesus). They have their distinct roles and they relate the one to the other in particular ways in the one Being of God, but being uncreated and co-equal, the trinitarian understanding is upheld in Titus 2:13. It is invariably people who do not understand the Trinity doctrine who get into a tizzy about that verse. It's not a problem for trinitarians, but simply confirms their view of the Godhead.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Granville-Sharp-Rule.html

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  • I think this is a good answer as well. +1.
    – Dottard
    Jul 29 at 22:38
  • Sharp rule ignored in 1 Tim 5:21 and 2 Tim 4:1. Also, the glory that is to come will be of God and of the Son of Man and of the Angels according to Luke 9:26: "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Thus, the Bible confirms that the glory to come will be of at least two people.
    – Austin
    Aug 1 at 4:42
  • The Sharp rule does not apply in 1 Tim 5:21 & 2Tim 4:1 - it's not being ignored. As for glory, God refuses to share his glory with another, but he DOES share his glory with the Son. See Isa 42:8 & 48:11, cf. Mt 16:27, Mk 8:38 & Heb 1:3.
    – Anne
    Aug 1 at 14:38
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Note the parade of pronouns in Titus 2:

13 as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

All the highlighted pronouns above have the same referent - God and Savior Jesus Christ - all these are masculine singular.

For far more information about the details of the grammar in this verse and similar constructions involving the "Sharp Rule", or what Daniel Wallace calls "TSKS", see Daniel Wallace, "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics", pages 270-290; this explains why, "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" in Titus 2:13 refers to a single person with the dual title of "God" and "Savior", known as "Jesus Christ".

APPENDIX - Glory

Note that in Titus 2:13 because "glory" (doxa in the Greek) is feminine singular and so cannot be the referent for masculine pronouns. Further, we read in John 17:5, 24 from the words of Jesus Himself:

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. ... “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

This is reinforced in Jesus' words of Luke 9:26 -

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Again, in John 1:14 we read -

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Even in Heb 1:3, Jesus is described as having a shared glory with the Father -

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word.

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  • Up-voted +1, but what version are you referencing, please ?
    – Nigel J
    Jul 29 at 7:05
  • @NigelJ - the above are all from BSB.
    – Dottard
    Jul 29 at 7:10
  • Youre saying the pronouns in 14 cant be referring to the glory in 13 bc they are masculine and glory is feminine, but 13 says “blessed hope and glorious appearance” so wouldnt it be the appearance as the potential referrant? Or hope and appearance? I guess the pronouns are singular too. How to think clearly about this?
    – Al Brown
    Jul 29 at 21:15
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    @AlBrown - actually, apart from "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" there are three other nouns that might be antecedents: "hope" (feminine), "appearing" (feminine), and "glory" (feminine) - none are suitable because the pronouns are masculine.
    – Dottard
    Jul 29 at 22:00
  • @AlBrown - "none are suitable because the pronouns are masculine." Well this isn't strictly true. In 1 Cor 1:30 a masculine pronoun, ὃς , refers to the same subject as a feminine noun, wisdom σοφία.
    – Austin
    Aug 1 at 7:28
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It is more plausible that God and Savior refers to the same person, so God is Jesus (as it was traditionally understood by great theologians of the past) like in an expression, "our great talent and savior of Argentinian team, Diego Armando Maradona" both "great talent" and "savior of Argentinian team" refers to Maradona for sure.

Yet, if one has an irresistible knack for subjecting texts to a little bit of a grammatico-syntacical torture, out of, God knows what, decent or indecent reasons, one can separate them and say that "God" here refers to one person, whereas "Savior" to another. Even if one admits this, this changes nothing with regard of divinity and equality of Christ with the Father in Paul. Paul worships Lord Jesus Christ and only God can be worshiped.

Acts show patently Pauline Christology and when it says that God purchased His Church by His own blood (Acts 20:28), what can an indecent quibbler say here? Will not even he will be necessitated to say that God who purchased His church by His own blood is the Lord Jesus Christ and cannot be Father, unless he again erases even the tiny vestiges of his already mercilessly self-razed conscience and says that Father has some metaphoric or ethereal blood flowing in His veins. But dishonesty has no limits both now and ever and unto ages of ages.

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  • indecent quibbler lol. Thanks for the answer I hadnt seen Acts 20:28 or didnt read it carefully or something. Idk. Regardless, thats beautiful. God bless
    – Al Brown
    Jul 29 at 21:19
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    @Al Brown Thanks! Lord’s blessings to you too Jul 31 at 16:52
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No. If we read the verse carefully, we can see what Paul is referring to.

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus (NASB and most others)

he says, "the appearing of the glory" The glory is what will be appearing.

Jesus IS the glory of God

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the representation of His nature Heb 1:3

Jesus is the glory of God and Paul is looking for that glory - which is Christ, to be revealed.

We see further in this passage of Titus 2 the focus which is on Jesus, as

  • the glory of God,
  • who did give himself for us,
  • he might ransom us.

We only have to look to the messages from Paul at the beginning of every letter to see his consistent differentiation between God and Jesus, His son.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1 Cor

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Eph 1

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Tim

To take one ambiguous verse or translation and query it without having regard for all other scripture is to invite misunderstanding.

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  • There's an entire site dedicated to identifying Christ as God's Shekhinah.
    – Lucian
    Jul 29 at 0:14
  • Yeah thats an important point not clearly discussed in other answers. If I say the appearing of Bob and Frank... Another answer refers to the He His etc pronouns (or “it”, depending? Do i have that right?) following the phrase and says it cant be referring to glory due to gender mismatch. And it would make no sense to be referring unclearly to the only second of a pair like that. Says the referrant is “God and Savior Jesus Christ” and is a singular pronoun. Could the difference be that it refers to appearing (manifestation) not glory?
    – Al Brown
    Jul 29 at 21:22
  • I got this answered: actually, apart from "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" there are three other nouns that might be antecedents: "hope" (feminine), "appearing" (feminine), and "glory" (feminine) - none are suitable because the pronouns are masculine
    – Al Brown
    Jul 30 at 0:28
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Did Paul treat God and Jesus as one person in Titus 2:13?

NO, you're simply reading an incorrect translation of the verse,obviously, those translators want to see Paul referring to Jesus as "God" here, and accordingly shift the possessive pronoun "our" to a position before "God" to draw the two phrases together. Below you will find three correct renderings of the verse by KJV, NAB, and ASV

ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΤΟΝ 2:13 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament

13 προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων χριστου ιησου

Correct Tranalations

The translators of the KJV, NASB, and ASV understand Paul to refer to both God the Father and Jesus here. All three retain both "the" (with God) and "our" (with savior). The NAB goes a bit further and uses the second "of" which is an implicit part of the genetive ("of") form of the nouns in this phrase.

Titus 2:13 KJV

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:13 New American Bible

As we await the blessed hope, the appearance 3 of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ,

Titus 2:13 ASV

looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory [a]of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:13 NAB

Incorrect translation: NIV,NASB and NRSVA

The translators of NIV, NASB, and NRSVA all prefer to see Paul referring to Jesus as God here, and accordingly shift the possessive pronoun "our" to a position before God to draw the two phrases completely together.

Titus 2:13 NIV

13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Titus 2:13 NASB

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

Titus 2:13 NRSVA

13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

When Faced with Ambiguity

Biblical theology, however, means that you want to find what God's Word itself says, so when faced with such ambiguous passages, you look for similar passages for comparison of expression, on the same subject and so help to clarify the possible meaning of the words that are being translated.

For example:

The closest parallels to Titus 2:13 are Titus 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 1:12 In Titus 2:13 the phrase "Savior of us" is before Christ Jesus and in Titus 1:4 "our Savior" switches position it is after "our Savior". The variations in the two verses is entirely incidental.

Words in English -bold- and in brackets added to the verse by me for clarification

ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΤΟΝ 2:13 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament

13 προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων (Savior of us ) χριστου ιησου (Chist Jesus)

ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΤΟΝ 1:4

1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament

4 τιτω γνησιω τεκνω κατα κοινην πιστιν χαρις και ειρηνη απο θεου πατρος και χριστου ιησου (Christ Jesus)" του σωτηρος ημων (Savior of us )

Another comparable verse is

ΠΡΟΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΙΣ Β΄ 1:12 1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament

12 οπως ενδοξασθη το ονομα του κυριου ημων ιησου εν υμιν και υμεις εν αυτω κατα την χαριν του θεου ημων και**(of the)** κυριου ιησου χριστου

The grammatical structure of the passages of Titus 1:4 and 2 Thess.1:12 are the same as Titus 2:13. The translators of the NIV, NRSVA, and NASB show (read verses below) that they understand "God" and "Jesus" to be distinct, two separate individuals, but not so in Titus 2:13

Titus 1:4 NIV

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 NIV

12 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]

Titus 1:4 NRSVA

4 To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 NRSVA

12 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.

Titus 1:4 NASB

4 To Titus, my true [a]son [b]in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 NASB

12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If the distinctness of Jesus in Titus 1:4 and 2 Thess. 1:12 is certain to them why is it not so in Titus 1:13? Why are they so inconsistent in how they translate the two passages.

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The Most Literal Translation

The most literal translation of this verse, on biblehub.com is done by the ASV ('of' added):

looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and [of] our Saviour Jesus Christ;
προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,

Many translations inaccurately place the word "our" so that it modifies the word "God" instead of modifying the word "Savior" as it does in the original Greek. Also many translations only place "of" in front of "God" and not in front of "Savior" even though both are written in the genitive. But if we put the "of" in front "of" both "God" and "Savior" and place the "our" in its appropriate location it becomes more clear that we are talking about two people and not one. The fact that the singular glory is of at least two people is consistent with what else the scriptures say.

What the Gospels Teach Us

According to Luke's Gospel, the singular glory to come will be of at least two different people:

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
ὃς γὰρ ἂν ἐπαισχυνθῇ με καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς λόγους, τοῦτον ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπαισχυνθήσεται, ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων.
Luke 9:26

While most translations use the word "glory" twice in this verse, it only shows up once in the Greek for the glory of the Son and of the Father and of the holy angels, thus a singular glory can be modified in the genitive by two or more persons.

Granville Sharp's Ignored "Rule"

Much is made of Granville Sharp's made up "rule" that was so efficiently distilled by an Anne as:

definite article + singular noun + copulative conjunction + singular noun = the same person.

This "rule" is proven to be, in fact, no rule by most Bible translators. For example, most translators completely disregard Sharp's rule in the following verses:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels...
διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων...
-1 Timothy 5:21

No one translates God and Christ as the same person here. And they appropriately put an 'of' before both genitives. Also notice that there is only one "presence" for God and for Jesus and for the elect angels, just as we saw only one glory for both God and the Son of Man and the angels.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus...
Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ...
2 Timothy 4:1

Again God and Christ are not translated here to be the same person despite the rule and the "of" is placed properly.

Additionally, It should be acknowledged that definite articles, or the lack thereof, in front of nouns in prepositional constructions like the ones found in the genitive in Titus 2:13, don't change the meaning of the nouns in the New Testament. The same person within a prepositional phrase may show up with a definite article or without one. "Of Christ" is the same as "Of the Christ." This further invalidates the Sharp rule in this context.

Conclusion

So given what we've learned from Luke and the inconsistency of Grainville Sharp's made-up rule, we should have no problem understanding from both Luke and Titus that we will be waiting for the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ.

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  • You start by quoting "the most literal translation of this verse, on biblehub.com is done by the ASV ('of' added)" but when words are ADDED to the text, it is no longer a literal translation. OF should not be in Titus 2:13, 1 Tim 5:21 or 2 Tim 4:1. At the end you say this is a 'made-up' rule. Well, are not ALL rules 'made-up'? Someone has to spell them out! Disregard that rule if you like, but others don't. Also, to dwell on 'glory' is to miss the point of the question.
    – Anne
    Aug 1 at 14:31
  • @Anne, OF should not be in Titus 2:13, 1 Tim 5:21 or 2 Tim 4:1 Anne, if 'of' is not literal when put before 'Savior Christ Jesus' then 'of' is not literal when put before 'the Great God.' When noun's are in the genitive they essentially mean "of that noun." Certainly, there are different ways of meaning "of", but it is literal to translate genitive nouns, with no other prepositional modifiers, with an "of." But like I said, the Sharp "rule" is not a rule generally respected by translators consistently in various Bible translations because it really isn't a hard rule.
    – Austin
    Aug 1 at 19:28

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