7

...while we wait for the Blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God... (Titus 2:13, KJV)

The modern NIV translation seems to translate this part of verse 13 as if the Granville Sharp rule applies here:

...while we wait for the Blessed hope---the glorious appearing of our great God... (NIV)

This is an important matter because there is a John Darby sect that separates these two phrases, and maintains they refer to two vastly different events in Christianity: an alleged Rapture and a final End-time Coming of Jesus. If the Rule does not apply it leaves the door open for an alleged Gap of thousands of years between the two events. ( e.g. Tim LaHaye, No Fear of the Storm, p. 70-73)

If the Rule does apply than it effectively shuts the door on that modern interpretation of this verse. The two phrases, then, refer to the same event; this verse just described it differently.

This question applies to just this verse. It doesn't deal with the reality, or not, of a Rapture allegedly found in other verses in the Bible.

6
  • 3
    For those of us who do not accept a literal thousand years of an earthly reign prior to the end of time and the end of the present creation . . . . . yes, the Sharp rule applies in an exemplary fashion. See the Resumptive interpretation of Revelation ably expounded in John Metcalfe's book The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 16, 2023 at 20:18
  • 2
    The Greek is not quite as you are representing it προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν της δοξης (TR) awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God ... 'appearing of the glory' does not quite fit into a TSKS construction (as far as I can see).
    – Nigel J
    Jul 16, 2023 at 21:08
  • @NigelJ-Would it make a difference if "Appearing of the Glory" is a synonym for "Jesus"? It seems that in the O.T. the Israelites were rebuked for "rejecting their Glory" referring to God. Possible?
    – ray grant
    Jul 16, 2023 at 21:15
  • 2
    Sharp's rule of the behaviour of TSKS constructions does not involve itself in synonyms. So, I think not. Sharp's rule deals exclusively with 'bracketed' persons. ('Bracketed' by a single, preceding article.)
    – Nigel J
    Jul 16, 2023 at 21:24
  • Do native greek speakers have this rule at the time the verses in question was written? or was this rule invented by a non native greek speaker to place a doctrine in the bible that is not there originally? Jul 19, 2023 at 6:06

3 Answers 3

5

In answering this question I will assiduously avoid the eschatological question and stick closely with the grammatical question. Here is my very literal translation with the pertinent section highlighted:

προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ = awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and savior of us, Christ Jesus.

The rules for applying the "Sharp" rule are quite strict. For the sharp rule to apply we need (see Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Daniel B Wallace, page 270ff):

  1. article-substantive-kai-substantive
  2. the substantives are singular
  3. the substantive must both have the same grammatical form
  4. the substantives are both personal titles and not personal names

In Titus 2:13, this definitely applies to the phrase, "the great God and Savior of us, Jesus Christ". However, it does NOT apply to the highlighted phrase above because it fails one of the conditions, namely:

#4 - "hope" and "appearing" are not personal titles of people - both are accusative feminine nouns and not titles. Therefore Sharp's rule is not applicable.

However, this is not to suggest that "blessed hope" and "appearing" does not refer to the same event - it very likely does because both grammatically refer to "glory", viz:

  • the blessed hope of the glory of ...
  • the appearing of the glory of ...

... and because both are connected to the same verb "awaiting". That is, both are indirect objects of "awaiting", and that verb says that we await "the glory of the ..."

12
  • 2
    @AlexBalilo - nice try but never again. Just one question - in downvoting this answer, what is the factual error made - if you can even answer.
    – Dottard
    Jul 19, 2023 at 8:23
  • 2
    @AlexBalilo - by your own admission you know no Greek, so how can you possible know if the facts sated above are right or wrong? You simply downvote with anything with which you disagree. Now, please try to actually engage with the facts of the text rather than your own ideas and learn from the Bible.
    – Dottard
    Jul 19, 2023 at 8:54
  • 2
    @AlexBalilo - Answers - (1) yes; (2) There are numerous prayers to Jesus in the Bible which I have documented here. (3) The God of the Bible is, according to Matt 1:23 - Jesus who is called, Immanuel - "the God with us". Stephen prayed to Him just before he died in Acts 7:59, 60. QED.
    – Dottard
    Jul 19, 2023 at 11:16
  • 2
    @AlexBalilo - please answer my original question - what factual error was made in the answer above and stop diverting to other matters - the reality is far greater than you are willing to understand. "God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim 3:16).
    – Dottard
    Jul 19, 2023 at 20:53
  • 2
    @AlexBalilo - no it is not - your first comment argues from your own theology - I wanted an answer based on the text at hand - where is the factual error in my comments out the bible text - but you cannot answer that because you do not know Greek and so your comments are not valid.
    – Dottard
    Jul 20, 2023 at 1:55
3

'Sharp's Rule' was the result of diligent study of biblical Greek by Granville Sharp. He was famous for tirelessly opposing the appalling criminality of capturing native Africans and forcibly transporting them across the Atlantic. He developed this 'rule' in the late part of the 1700s. He noticed a Greek idiom that had previously been commented upon by Beza a hundred years before, but which had not gained widespread notice. So, when speaking of Sharp's Rule, it should be remembered that this was a continuation of the work of Beza.

Scholar Daniel B Wallace has itemised this history and added his own support. He listed eight New Testament texts as important examples of Sharp's rule, defining the rule as follows:

"...whenever two personal nons come together (with the exception of proper names) which are connected by the particle kai and to the former of which any case of the definite article is prefixed, then both of these nouns are invariably to be understood of the same person." The Orthodox Churchman's Review, February 1803, No. 2, Vol. 4, page 105

An example in English of applying the [Greek article] / substantive [a noun] / kai [usually rendered 'and'] / substantive [a noun] would be:

"Present at the meeting were the Estate Agent and the Owner and Occupier, Mr John Smith." [the / substantive / and / substantive]. In such a case, English also drops the need for the second article in front of the second noun.

Wallace had Titus 2:13 as one of his eight examples - "...awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour of us, Jesus Christ."

Note, first, that 'the hope and appearing' is a similar idiom, dropping the second article and 'bracketing' the two similar concepts, 'hope' and 'appearing' which both have the same context and the same aspect of meaning. By using only one article, the two items are grouped together. 'The hope and the appearing' would not express the fact that the two concepts are linked and function together.

Further, 'hope' and 'appearing' are not persons, so - strictly speaking - Sharp's rule is not applicable to that part of the sentence, but to the persons then detailed in that sentence. However, that does not constitute a problem in dealing with a particular interpretation of Revelation. The 'door can be shut' on a literal one thousand year millennial rule of Christ on Earth using other biblical facts.

1

The Granville Sharp rule is specifically intended to draw the combination for personal, singular and common nouns (substantives). However, the same principle is applicable to a broader range of terms, groups, proper names, as described in Exegetical Syntax, by Wallace, but those should not be counted under Sharp's rule. The unity of the groups of nouns listed varies.

The rule basically observes an elliptical use of the article, where it is not repeated for the additional substantives. "In Greek, when two nouns are connected by kai(and) and the article precedes only the first noun, there is a close connection between the two. That connection always indicates at least some sort of unity. At a higher level, it may connote equality. At the highest level it may indicate identity."

In other words the article is used only for the first substantive, to list or group common items. Ex. Rev 3:17 "σὺ εἶ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ἐλεεινὸς καὶ πτωχὸς καὶ τυφλὸς καὶ γυμνός"
[you are the (wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked)].

Some believe that the phrase "the blessed hope and appearing" τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν. EHV: "blessed hope, that is, the glorious appearance" and NIV. This is not derived from any rule by just by interpretation, and there you should not expect any hard or deductive conclusion from any grammar rule in Greek. It may not be epexegetical because the hope is for the resurrection and salvation which follows the appearance of the Lord; however, if you have a slightly broad concept for hope in mind, then it can be interpreted as epexegetical. Even though the appearance may not be epexegetical to hope, we can be certain that the semantic relation between the pair is very close. There should be no doubt that the hope of resurrection (or rapture) happens at the same time as the appearance.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.