Eph 5:5 contains the final phrase which says:

τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ Θεοῦ = the kingdom of Christ and God

Is this a valid example of Sharps's rule, or what Wallace calls the "TSKS" rule?

I am seeking a strictly grammatical answer.


3 Answers 3


I checked A.T. Robertson, and he said Sharp's rule cannot be applied here. A.T. Robertson's grammar is older than Daniel Wallace. Daniel Wallace's grammar critics older grammars as being too mechanical about applying grammar rules. Normally he would tend to support Robertson's claim. However, Robertson's argument depends on proper names.

In the Kingdom of Christ and God (ἐν τῃ βασιλειᾳ του Χριστου και θεου [en tēi basileiāi tou Christou kai theou]). Certainly the same kingdom and Paul may here mean to affirm the deity of Christ by the use of the one article with Χριστου και θεου [Christou kai theou]. But Sharp’s rule cannot be insisted on here because θεος [theos] is often definite without the article like a proper name. Paul did teach the deity of Christ and may do it here. -- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Eph 5:5). Broadman Press.

Here is where Daniel Wallace seems to say what A.T. Robertson did, but this is not clear looking at the argument for apply Sharps rule to Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1.

For Christologically Significant Texts

Granville Sharp believed that several christologically significant texts involved the TSKS construction. However, several of these involved dubious textual variants (e.g., Acts 20:28; Jude 4), and others had proper names (Eph 5:5; 2 Thess 1:12; 1 Tim 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1).

This leaves two passages, Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1. -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 276). Zondervan.

However, Wallace argues:

We have already argued that θεός is not a proper name in Greek. -- Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (p. 276). Zondervan.

Thus, Eph. 5:5 hinges on if τοῦ Χριστοῦ is a proper name., since it doesn't have Ἰησοῦ. If one argues that both θεός and Χριστός are not proper names in Greek, then Sharp's rule applies. The use of Χριστός in Matthew 16:16, Luke 2:26, and John 4:25 indicates Χριστός without Ἰησοῦς is a title and not a proper name; thus Sharp's rule apples.

  • 1
    Thanks, Perry - except that the very passages of 1 Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 involve the same nouns, in what appears to be a similar construction.
    – Dottard
    Dec 26, 2021 at 0:49
  • The difference is in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 θεός has the article and σωτῆρος is not a proper name: τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ⸂Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ⸃
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 26, 2021 at 0:57
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    Both Christ and God are titles, not actual names. The same is true of Savior and Lord. All these titles are (to the Christian) singular.
    – Dottard
    Dec 26, 2021 at 2:10
  • 1
    Many thanks Perry for taking the time and effort.
    – Dottard
    Dec 26, 2021 at 10:23

I am seeking a strictly grammatical answer.

Sharp's rule discriminates between proper and common nouns; as such, given Judaism's belief in only one God, and Christianity's belief in only one Christ, it is unclear to which of the two categories these two words belong. If a class has only one element, is that one element a proper or a common noun ? This is what this question ultimately boils down to, from a logical perspective. Personally, I don't see any clear cut answer to this.

Ephesians 5:5 the kingdom of Christ and God

From context, it would seem, at best, a forced application,1 since, judging only from writings traditionally ascribed or attributed to the very same apostle, we have:

1 Corinthians 15:23-24 But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Other New Testament passages containing these three key words within the same verse are can be found here, and their original Greek text (thesaurus included) can be consulted here. (As far as I can tell, the same conclusion seems to apply: but don't just take my word on it, go and see for yourselves).

1 Unless one were to consider the two terms as names or proper nouns, rather than common nouns, given that, within Christianity, there is only one Christ, and only one God, as both scriptures and creeds attest.

  • 1
    I was hoping for a grammatical answer rather than a theological answer.
    – Dottard
    Dec 25, 2021 at 23:59
  • 4
    @Dottard: I provided a contextual answer, not a theological one; for grammar, see the footnote, since the rule you mention discriminates between these two classes of nouns. Usually, in most other passages in this vein, there would appear to be two intended objects, rather than just one; not sure why this particular verse would constitute an exception to the general use.
    – Lucian
    Dec 26, 2021 at 0:13
  • Both "God" and "Christ" are common nouns (both are titles) as distinct from "Jesus" which is a proper noun. Hence the original question.
    – Dottard
    Dec 27, 2021 at 10:14

The Sharp's rule was specific for references like "God and saviour Jesus", where there was an ambiguity for modern readers. The basic principle can be broadened to understand the close relation between any such pair linked with a single Greek article. In this, it is evident from the overall context that the kingdom of Christ and God is the same kingdom. It is not the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Christ, in Greek, separately.

  • In 1Peter 1:3 θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
    the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-:
    here, the God and father of Jesus is referring to the same being.
  • John 20:17 Ἀναβαίνω πρὸς τὸν πατέρα μου καὶ πατέρα ὑμῶν καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν.
    'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'.
    The father and God of the two refers to the same being.

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