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Different Translations of James 1:27 ( KJV | ESV ) present alternative concepts of "God" in relationship to the Father:

  • KJV presents θεός as the observant servant of the Father

[James 1:27, KJV] "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (1:27 θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου)

  • ESV presents θεός as the observant Father.

[James 1:27, ESV] "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

  • Based on these differences, How should we correctly understand the Greek phrase : "θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ" from the LXX?

Does the Greek word "καί" in James 1:27 create a Distinction ("God [and] the Father", KJV) or Surname ("God the Father", ESV)?

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The structure in James 1:27 is τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ which fits Daniel Wallace's example of the Granville Sharp Rule below. This means that God and the Father are the same. Note no article in front of Father in Greek; literally, the God and Father.

  1. Statement of the Granville Sharp Rule: both substantives (nouns, participles, adjectives) refer to the same person in the article-substantive-καί-substantive (TSKS) construction when:

• both are personal

• both are singular

• both are non-proper (i.e., common terms, not proper names)

Example: ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατήρ (Eph 1:3) (271–72)

Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, (1996). p. 735.

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  • Good answer - took the words out of my mouth! +1.
    – Dottard
    Oct 6 at 21:05
  • Is translating παρὰ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ as "before God and the Father" rather than "before the God and Father" just English idiom?
    – Henry
    Oct 6 at 23:22
  • @Henry Yes, English doesn't usually say the God. However, look at Young's Literal Translation.
    – Perry Webb
    Oct 6 at 23:39
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Berean Literal Bible James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before the God and Father [g2316 g2532 g3962] is this: to visit orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The phrase g2316 g2532 g3962 appears 13 times in the NT, 1 Peter 1:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One according to His great mercy having begotten us again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ out from the dead,

The Greek phrase refers to a singular person.

Does the Greek word "καί" in James 1:27 create a Distinction ("God [and] the Father", KJV) or Surname ("God the Father", ESV)?

only superficially. Fundamentally it refers to a singular person God the Father.

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The phrase "God and Father" refers to the same person. I think some arguments like Sharpe's rule emphasis this. See all other references of "God and father" used in the NT to know that there is no distinction, but both nouns are predicate with each other, defining the same God.

[Rom 15:6 ESV] that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[2Co 1:3 ESV] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

[2Co 11:31 ESV] The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

[Gal 1:4 ESV] who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

[Eph 1:3 ESV] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

[Eph 4:6 ESV] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

[Phl 4:20 ESV] To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

[1Th 1:3 ESV] remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

[1Th 3:11, 13 ESV] Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, ... so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

[1Pe 1:3 ESV] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

[Rev 1:6 ESV] and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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