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Granville Sharp's rule states that when a clause has two nouns (or other substantive) in the same case, connected by a copulative kai ("and"), that are not proper nouns (i.e. not someone's name), which describe a person, and the first noun has the definite article while the second does not, both nouns are describing the same person. If one or more of the nouns is plural in number, this may not apply but can.

Titus 2:13 (New King James Version)

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

2 Peter 1:1 (New King James Version)

1...To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Is the Granville Sharp Rule in effect in these verses? What evidence supports and/or refutes the use of this rule as applied to the similar clause in both of these texts?

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    Yeah, you aren't going to get a better answer than the Wallace article linked above. He works through what the rule states and doesn't state, goes over undebated examples of when it applies in the NT, and examines Greek outside the Testament (classical and patristic uses). I'd call it an exhaustive article. Wallace writes in his conclusion: "Consequently, in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 we are compelled to recognize that, on a grammatical level, a heavy burden of proof rests with the one who wishes to deny that 'God and Savior' refers to one person, Jesus Christ." – Frank Luke Mar 21 '14 at 20:46
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    And, just for the banter, and in case anyone seeing this has as a personal slogan: "ad fontes" - Remarks on the uses of the definitive article.... – Dɑvïd Mar 21 '14 at 21:24
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    @david brainerd - just looking at a couple of them (1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:3, Eph 1:2), there is no article, so the rule doesn't apply. – Susan Jul 27 '14 at 4:52
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    This Q&A would still benefit from a summary of Wallace's arguments with some assessment, for which Porter's review (see previous comment) would be useful. – Dɑvïd Apr 14 '15 at 21:34
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From the link posted by Paul Vargas, found here:

Our restatement of Sharp’s rule is believed to be true to the nature of the language, and able to address all classes of exceptions that Winstanley raised. The “Sharper” rule is as follows:

_

In native Greek constructions (i.e., not translation Greek), when a single article modifies two substantives connected by καί (thus, article-substantive-καί-substantive), when both substantives are (1) singular (both grammatically and semantically), (2) personal, (3) and common nouns (not proper names or ordinals), they have the same referent.

_

This rule, as stated, covers all the so-called exceptions. Further, even the exceptions do not impact the christologically significant passages in the NT, for the semantic situation of Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 is outside the scope of Winstanley’s counter-illustrations.

_

...

Winer’s opinion notwithstanding, solid linguistic reasons and plenty of phenomenological data were found to support the requirements that Sharp laid down. When substantives meet the requirements of Sharp’s canon, apposition is the result, and inviolably so in the NT. The canon even works outside the twenty-seven books and, hence, ought to be resurrected as a sound principle which has overwhelming validity in all of Greek literature. Consequently, in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet 1:1 we are compelled to recognize that, on a grammatical level, a heavy burden of proof rests with the one who wishes to deny that “God and Savior” refers to one person, Jesus Christ.

In other words, based on the research presented in the above article, Granville Sharp's rule is both valid and applicable in these passages.

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  • Thanks for the condensed version and succinct answer. Is "Sharpe" an alternative spelling or a typo? – C. Kelly Jan 31 '16 at 13:00
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One presumptive analysis is to view all the grammatical situations extant in the Greek New Testament (NA28) and Septuagint where the following morphological string occurs:

 <START> 
        any definite article (in the genitive case) 
  <WITH> 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 
  <WITH> 
        any possessive pronoun (in the genitive case) 
  <WITH> 
        καί 
  <WITH> 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 
 <END> 

The presumption here would be to determine whether or not consistency occurs throughout. In the case of the New Testament (4 instances) the presumptive analysis of morphology appears consistent -- that is, the concatenated words seem to appear as an appositive phrase.

However, in the Septuagint (1 instance), the concatenated words do not seem to appear as an appositive phrase. That is, we read of the servant (Solomon) and people. In this particular instance, however, the words following the phrase "the people" are σου Ισραηλ. These qualifying words, however, seem to appear so that the reader would understand that "people" is in reference to the nation (Israel). In other words, without the qualifying phrase "σου Ισραηλ," the reader might have otherwise inferred --based on the grammatical structure of the sentence-- that the servant and people (both singular nouns) were the same entity.

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    @Jas3.1 - Would not the example from the LXX be reasonable and relevant to the original question? – Joseph Apr 13 '15 at 20:22
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    @Jas3.1 - no - click here. This example from the LXX carries no ones name, and thus no personal pronouns are involved. I was hoping this example was relevant to the original question.... – Joseph Apr 13 '15 at 22:00
  • Hey, @Joseph I have confirmed your taste for the NASB again. ;-) ¡Saludos! – Paul Vargas Apr 14 '15 at 18:20
  • I can't reverse my DV unless you make an edit. – Jas 3.1 Apr 14 '15 at 19:46
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Wrong:

Example the owner of the boat could have been discussed earlier in the writings of the story just like the Bible and Titus is speaking about God Almighty the savior and Jesus his deliverer, two separate people, one being God Almighty and the other not being God, but the Messiah Jesus his servant.

Example Fred is the owner of the boat sentence one.

Sentence 4 Mr Jones is the captain of the boat.

But everyone reads chapter 9 only in Greek using the Grandville rule and according to this rule Mr Jones is the owner and boats captain but reading the full book from the beginning explains who's the actual owner of the boat.

Chapter 9 verse 13 the owner of the boat and the captain Mr Jones sailed to Scotland, according to your flawed rule your confused and wrong because in chapter 1 Fred is the boats actual owner and Mr Jones is the captain, so correctly understood, Mr Jones doesn't own the boat and wrongly understood, Mr Jones owns the boat and is the captain of the boat.

So according to your logic and flawed understanding and rule the owner of the boat is actually the captain Mr Jones but the context doesn't say this.

Also scripture manuscript changes could've removed the second article or Paul just got lazy or forgot the write it, just like earlier in Titus where there's no definite article before theos God.

Bible: Paul Blessed be the Father and God of our lord Jesus the Messiah, and the Head of the women is man and the Head of man is Christ and the Head of Christ is God.

Context and the correct belief is set, God Almighty is the only true God and Jesus confirms this in John, "and this is life eternal that they know you the only true and Jesus whom you have sent as the messiah".

The context of the scripture and the understanding of who is actually God is set.

So Titus clearly says:

Since Paul and the Scriptures already explains who's God Almighty only and Who's Jesus him being his servant and Messiah, the understanding of Titus should be this, Waiting on the appearance of the Glory of God and Jesus our Messiah.

Two separate people, God Almighty and Jesus the Messiah.

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Titus 2:13

New International Version

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

But your not reading the full teachings and context in the scriptures and are confused.

Ephesians 1:3 New International Version Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

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  • Hello Dale Lee, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you here. Don't forget to take the tour to see how we're different than other sites. Thanks! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour – sara Aug 22 '19 at 6:46
  • Unequivocal and consistent with the rest of the scriptures. – Alex Balilo May 3 at 0:19
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Does Granville Sharp's Rule indicate that “God” and “Savior” share a referent in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1?

How do translators render the verse?

Below you will find two groups of translations :

Group A prefers to see Paul refer to Jesus as "God" they shift the possessive pronoun "our to a position before God to draw the two phrases together. Group B understand that Paul refers to both God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Group A

Titus 2:13

1/ NIV : while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

2/ESV : waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

3/NASB; looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

4/NET Bible ; as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

5/ NRSV: while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[a] Jesus Christ.

Footnotes: Titus 2:13 Or of the great God and our Savior)

Group B

1/KJV: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

2/Douay-Rheims Bible: Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,

3/ NABRE: as we await the blessed hope, the appearance[a] of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ,

4/ James Moffat: awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Saviour Christ Jesus,

Below are extracts on the grammar from the book "Truth in Translation" by Jason David BeDuhn an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University.

Similar verses.

In such a situation as the above, we look to similar passages to help us explain the possible meaning of the verses we are translating.

Titus 1:4 is an identical verse to Titus 2:13, the word "Savior" just simply switches position that is "Savior Jesus Christ" to "Christ Jesus our Savior." Another similar verse is 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Titus 2:13 WHNU

tou Megalou Theou kai Soteros hemon Xristou Iesou

of the great God and (of the) Savior of us Christ Jesus.

Titus 1:4 WHNU

from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

apo Theou Patros kai Xristou Iesou tou Soteros hemon

2 Thessalonians 1:12 WHNU

tou theou hemon kai kuriou Iesou Chistou

of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 1:4 -

Group A renders the verses similar to the NIV as follows:

"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

Group A renders the verse similar to NASB as follows:

12 "So that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Same passages different translation, showing "God" and "Lord" to be distinct in Titus 1:4 and Thessalonians 1:12 but not in Titus 2:13? The grammar and structure in all three verses is the same, so why such inconsistency, some explanations are needed, and hence those that insist that "God" and "Lord" must refer to the same being is unjustified.

2 Peter 1:1

Again we turn to similar passages for help, we do not have to look very far, only in the next verse 2 Peter 1:2

2 Peter 1:1

tou theou hemon kai soteros Iesou Xristou

of the God of us (of the) savior Jesus Christ.

In the Eglish language, we have to have an article before a common noun,( the savior) and not before a name.

2 Peter 1:2

tou Theou kai Iesou tou kyriou hemon

of the God and (of) Jesus the lord of us

The grammar and structure of the two verses is the same, so there is no reason why they are translated differently. All our translators maintain the distinction between "God" and Jesus our Lord in verse two but not in verse one.

The comments on the grammar are from the book " Truth in Translation" by Jason David Beduhn an associate professor of religious studies at Nothern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

All translations compared maintain the distinction between "God" and "Jesus", our Lord in verse 2 while ignoring it in verse 1. But the grammatical structure of the two sentences is identical making it very doubtful that they are translated in different ways. In English, we have an article before a common noun (the savior) and not before a name (Jesus); but that is something about proper English expression, not about the original Greek.

Those who defend the translations that read as if only Jesus is spoken of in both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 attempt to distinguish those two passages from the parallel examples I have given by something called "Sharp's Rule." In 1798 the amateur theologian Granville Sharp published a book in which he argued that when two nouns of the same form ("case") joined by "and" (kai), only the first of which has the article, the nouns are identified as the same thing. Close examination of this much-used "rule" shows it to be fiction concocted by a man who had a theological agenda in creating it, namely to prove that the verse we are examining in this chapter call Jesus "God."

"Sharp's Rule" does not survive close scrutiny. He claimed that the rule did not apply to personal names, only to personal titles. That is why is cited in connection with Titus 2:13 and not Titus 1:4, with 2 Peter 1:1 and not 1:2. Daniel Wallace has demonstrated even that claim is too broad since he found that "Sharp's Rule" doesn't work with plural forms of personal titles. Instead, Wallace finds----(Wallace, page 72-78),--- In other words, there is no evidence that anything significant for the meaning of the words happens by merely joined by "and" and dropping the second article.

Smyth rule on Greek grammar section 1143, says: "A single article, used with the first of two or more nouns connected by "and" produces the effect of a single notion." "That sounds an awful lot like "Sharps Rule", doesn't it? But what exactly is meant by "single notion"? Smyth gives two examples "the generals and captains (commanding officers)"; "the largest and smallest ships (the whole fleet)." You can see from these examples that the two nouns combined by "and" are not identical; the individual words do not represent the same thing. Instead, by being combined, they suggest a larger whole. The generals and the captains together make up the more general category of "commanding officers," just as the various sized ships together constitute the fleet as a whole.

So the article-noun-"and"-noun construction does combine individual things into larger wholes, but it does necessarily identify them as one and the whole thing. This is further clarified by Smyth in section 1144.

Other verses compared to Titus 2:13 and which is identical is Titus 1:4 and another comparable verse is 2 Thess. 1:12.

The Bibles compared in the book are as follows:

NAB, NW,NASB,NIV,NRSV,TEV,AB,LB, KJV.

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  • "the generals and captains (commanding officers)" - Sharp's rule does not apply to plural nouns. However "the general and the commanding officer" indicate two people (general and commanding officer) and "the general and commanding officer" indicates one person (the general who was also commanding officer). Also the issue is how it is used in the NT. It may be possible to contrive an exception; it's just there are none in the NT. – Revelation Lad May 8 at 6:18
  • Also Titus 1:4 is not the same θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν the article follows καὶ. Sharp's rule applies when the article precedes καὶ. (The real issue is the mistranslation of θεοῦ πατρὸς to God the Father - there is no article. Father God is the correct translation). The example of 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is also not valid as the second has a proper name; again a condition in which the rule does not apply. – Revelation Lad May 8 at 6:27
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Question: Is the Granville Sharp Rule in effect in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1? What evidence supports and/or refutes the use of this rule as applied to the similar clause in both of these texts?


One very significant reason is the well regarded advanced Greek grammar Blass-Debrunner-Funk (BDF)

It is frequently quoted by scholars, and there is really no substitute for it. Here is an entry for Titus 2:13 in section 276.3.

276.3 (3) Cf. 2 P 1:1 (but here S has κυρίου for θεοῦ, probably correctly; cf. 11, 2: 20, 3: 2, 18); however σωτῆρος ἡμ. ̓Ι.Χρ. may be taken by itself and separated from the preceding (cf. §268(2) for the omission of the art. elsewhere). Cf. W.-S. § 18, 7d(!); Mlt. 84 [134f.]; A. T. Robertson, The Greek Article and the Deity of Christ (Exp. VIII 21 [1921] 182–8). (A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago, Illinois: Cambridge at the University Press, The Uniiversity of Chicago Press, BDF, 1961)

After citing the reading in manuscript S10 where “Lord” is found and not “God,” BDF concludes that even without the variant “Lord and Savior,” “σωτῆρος ἡμ. ̓Ι. Χρ. may be taken by itself and separated from the preceding.”

The preceding “God” in other readings would thus not identify Jesus as “God” for the grammatical reasons that titles such as this are definite even with the omission of the article. BDF §268(2) and WS. §18, 7d are given in support of this conclusion.

See Winer-Schmiedel Grammatik §18 below that is quoted at BDF 276.3. It mentions both 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13.

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Note that τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ from Winer-Schmiedel uses the same reading as our modern critical editions such as the Nestle-Aland 28th edition, 

If the second substantive at Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 are definite as BDF suggests, both verses have two persons in view and even Granville Sharp's rule does not apply.


Excursus of BDAG on θεός

How does one describe the entry in BDAG for θεός when used with reference to Christ?

One must remember that BDAG is the third edition of the Bauer lexicon translated from German to English. Much in BDAG is from the 1975 BAG and the 1985 BAGD.

The entry for Titus 2:13 in the article on θεός when used of Christ is from the earlier editions. It simply says says:

Tit 2:13 (μέγας θ.). [a]

At first glance this looks like a solid endorsement for calling Christ “great God.”

However it is wise to read the way BDAG characterizes the different verses where some say θεός is used of Christ and why.

It starts with:

BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate.

Some passages are in “debate” and some are not.

What does BDAG mean when θεός is used of Christ?

In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance**, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων ** one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients

So Christ is “a god .” How does BDAG indicate a verse that calls Christ θεός is not debatable?

John 1:1 is an example of this. It certainly refers to Christ here!

In any event, θ. certainly refers to Christ, as one who manifests primary characteristics of deity, in the foll. NT pass.: J 1:1b (w. ὁ θεός 1:1a, which refers to God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.

But note BDAG contrasts θεός at 1:1b with its use at ὁ θεός 1:1a which is “God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition.”

With this in mind consider that in the year 2000 Danker added a qualification to θεός at Titus 2:13 based on the use of και that was not in BAG or BAGD.

BDAG σωτηρ - ὁ μέγας θεὸς καὶ σ. ἡμῶν Χρ. Ἱ. our great God and Savior Christ Jesus Tit 2:13 (cp. PLond III, 604b, 118 p. 80 [47 AD] τῷ μεγάλῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι; but the presence of καί Tit 2:13 suggests a difft. semantic aspect and may justify the rendering in NRSV mg)

So, the latest scholarship of Danker moves away from the earlier entry which was not a strong endorsement in the first place.

When coupled with the entry for Σωτηρ above, BDAG is certainly mixed in this verse, but the latest addition is based on linguistics and gives the reason for the addition.

In any event, if BDAG applies θεός to Christ at Titus 2:13 it is not dogmatic and with the understanding that it is not a monotheistic use of θεός as used at John 1:1a.


[a] BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate. In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ ν ῶ , θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων ** one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients (cp. Sb III, 6263, 27f of a mother). Such understanding led to the extension of the mng. of θ. to pers. who elicit special reverence (cp. pass. under 4 below; a similar development can be observed in the use of σέβομαι and cognates). In Ro 9:5 the interpr. is complicated by demand of punctuation marks in printed texts. If a period is placed before ὁ ὢν κτλ., the doxology refers to God as defined in Israel (so EAbbot, JBL 1, 1881, 81-154; 3, 1883, 90-112; RLipsius; HHoltzmann, Ntl. Theol.2 II 1911, 99f; EGünther, StKr 73, 1900, 636-44; FBurkitt, JTS 5, 1904, 451-55; Jülicher; PFeine, Theol.d. NTs6 ’34, 176 et al.; RSV text; NRSV mg.). A special consideration in favor of this interpretation is the status assigned to Christ in 1 Cor 15:25-28 and the probability that Paul is not likely to have violated the injunction in Dt 5:7.—If a comma is used in the same place, the reference is to Christ (so BWeiss; EBröse, NKZ 10, 1899, 645-57 et al.; NRSV text; RSV mg. S. also ε1.—Undecided: THaering.—The transposition by the Socinian scholar JSchlichting [died 1661] ὧν ὁ‘to whom belongs’ was revived by JWeiss, D. Urchristentum 1917, 363; WWrede, Pls 1905, 82; CStrömman, ZNW 8, 1907,319f). In 2 Pt 1:1; 1J 5:20 the interpretation is open to question (but cp. ISmyrna McCabe .0010, 100 ὁ θεοὰς καιὰσωτηὰρ Ἀντίοχος). In any event, θ. certainly refers to Christ, as one who manifests primary characteristics of deity, in the foll. NT pass.: J 1:1b (w. ὁ θεός 1:1a, which refers to God in the monotheistic context of Israel’s tradition. On the problem raised by such attribution s. J 10:34 [cp. Ex 7:1; Ps 81:6]; on θεός w. and without the article, acc. to whether it means God or the Logos, s. Philo, Somn. 1, 229f; JGriffiths, ET 62, ’50/51, 314-16; BMetzger, BDAG θεος 2. Some writings in our lit. use the word θ. w. ref. to Christ** (without necessarily equating Christ with the Father, and therefore in harmony w. the Shema of Israel Dt 6:4; cp. Mk 10:18 and 4a below), though the interpretation of some of the pass. is in debate. In Mosaic and Gr-Rom. traditions the fundamental semantic component in the understanding of deity is the factor of performance, namely saviorhood or extraordinary contributions to one’s society. Dg. 10:6 defines the ancient perspective: ὃς ἃ παραὰτοῦ θεοῦ λάβων ἔχει, τα τα ῦ το ςῖ ἐπιδεομένοις χορηγ νῶ θεοὰς γίνεται τν ῶ λαμβανάντων ** one who ministers to the needy what one has received from God proves to be a god to the recipients (cp. Sb III, 6263, 27f of a mother). Such understanding led to the extension of the mng. of θ. to pers. who elicit special reverence (cp. pass. under 4 below; a similar development can be observed in the use of σέβομαι and cognates). In Ro 9:5 the interpr. is complicated by demand of punctuation marks in printed texts. If a period is placed before ὁ ὢν κτλ., the doxology refers to God as defined in Israel (so EAbbot, JBL 1, 1881, 81-154; 3, 1883, 90-112; RLipsius; HHoltzmann, Ntl. Theol.2 II 1911, 99f; EGünther, StKr 73, 1900, 636-44; FBurkitt, JTS 5, 1904, 451-55; Jülicher; PFeine, Theol.d. NTs6 ’34, 176 et al.; RSV text; NRSV mg.). A special consideration in favor of this interpretation is the status assigned to Christ in 1 Cor 15:25-28 and the probability that Paul is not likely to have violated the injunction in Dt 5:7.—If a comma is used in the same place, the reference is to Christ (so BWeiss; EBröse, NKZ 10, 1899, 645-57 et al.; NRSV text; RSV mg. S. also ε1.—Undecided: THaering.—The transposition by the Socinian scholar ET 63, ’51/52, 125f), 18b. ὁ κύριός μουκαιὰὁ θεός μου my Lord and my God! (nom. w. art.=voc.; s. beg. of this entry.—On a resurrection as proof of divinity cp. Diog. L. 8, 41, who quotes Hermippus: Pythagoras returns from a journey to Hades and appears among his followers [εσέρχεσθαι ἰεςἰ τηὰνἐκκλησίαν], and they consider him θεόν τινα) J 20:28 (on the combination of κύριος and θεός s. 3c below). Tit 2:13 (μέγας θ.). Hb 1:8, 9 (in a quot. fr. Ps 44:7, 8). S. TGlasson, NTS 12, ’66, 270-72. Jd 5 P72. But above all Ignatius calls Christ θεός in many pass.: θεοὰς Ἰ ῦ ησος Χριστός ITr 7:1; Χριστοὰς θεός ISm 10:1. ὁ θεοὰς ἡ ῶμ ν IEph ins; 15:3; 18:2; IRo ins (twice); 3:3; IPol 8:3; τοὰπάθος τοῦ θεοῦ μου IRo 6:3. ἐνα ματι ἵ θεοῦ IEph 1:1. ἐν σαρκιὰγενόμενος θεός 7:2. θεοὰς ἀνθρωπίνως φανερούμενος19:3. θεοὰς ὁ ο τως ὕὑᾶμς σοφίσας ISm 1:1.—Hdb. exc. 193f; MRackl, Die Christologied. hl. Ign. v. Ant. 1914. ὁ θεός μου ΧριστεὰἸ ῦ ησο AcPl Ha 3, 10; Χριστοὰς Ἰ ῦ ησο ς ὁθ[εός] 6, 24; cp. ln. 34 (also cp. Just., A I, 63, 15, D. 63, 5 al.; Tat. 13, 3; Ath. 24, 1;


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  • However, the BDAG states of the use of μεγάλου "Christ is meant. So how can τοῦ μεγάλου [Christ is meant] θεοῦ not apply to Christ? Is the BDAG wrong? – Revelation Lad May 2 at 23:45
  • The BDAG is most certainly a hostile witness (to your conclusion) in this case. You seem to be forgetting a document must first be understood as such. So John while relevant to your thesis, is completely irrelevant to the recipients of Titus. Similarly the OT references are secondary at best because if Paul intended them as primary, he would have cited them. So what you are doing is attempting to justify a reading different from the recipient using documents which may not have existed (John) and were not cited by the present writer. – Revelation Lad May 3 at 15:56
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After reading the study on Granville Sharp I concluded this: Given that the entire passage at hand has been properly examined via the normative rules of language, context and logic within its respective context without unwarranted restrictions the TSKS construction under review will fit into one of the possible categories listed below:

1) A common (but not equal or unique) experience / identity of the person(s) or thing(s) referred to, (the referent).

2) An equal (but not unique) experience / identity of the person(s) or thing(s) referred to, (the referent).

3) A unique experience / identity of the person or thing referred to, (the referent).

Regarding interpretations of passages that when properly examined do not actually fit Sharp's Rule #1, there are other categories for TDAD / TSKS constructions - five other rules to choose from that Sharp proposed that will fit that passage under examination.

Still working on reviewing this study at biblestudymanuals.net/Deity_of_Christ.htm Please comment. Having trouble authenticating Classic Greek writings, Patristic Writings, and the LXX - mainly due to lack of resources and lack of Greek language skills.

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Titus
Paul begins by describing Jesus in a manner in which Sharp's rule does not apply:

To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4) [ESV]

Τίτῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [mGNT]

The first part "God the Father" is separate from the second "Christ Jesus our Savior." In addition, known exceptions to Sharp's rule prevent its application:

  • The second substantive is a proper substantive and has the article
  • The first substantive, God Father θεοῦ πατρὸς, or more properly Father God lacks the article

However, the effect of the use and lack of use of the article is consistent with a tripartite description of Father God since θεοῦ πατρὸς prevents "the God." The definite article added in English translations conveys a theological designation not present in the Greek text. The original audience would recognize Paul does not say God the Father and so clearly distinguishes between "Father God" and "God the Father" when Christ Jesus is included in the text.

In 2:13 similar expressions are used but the placement of the article is changed:

enter image description here

The first statement has been modified to create the TSKS sequence which invokes Sharp's Rule to explicate the relationship between God and Savior. Moreover, this could have been avoided:

  • Keep the article in its original position: μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
  • Completely omit the article: μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
  • Retain the first order of the title or name: τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν or τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν

Therefore, the construction of 2:13 was purposeful to establish a text which employs a TSKS sequence in the description of the relationship between the great God and Savior: the writer has literally required the application of Sharp's Rule to understand the phrase.

This change was necessary because "God" is now "the great God" where the adjective "great" is meant to apply to Christ.1 In other words, Paul is saying Christ is the great God (μεγάλου θεοῦ). This is necessary to prevent Titus from seeing Christ having a lesser standing than Father God, θεοῦ πατρὸς, because Paul chose to include "Father" in the salutation.2

2 Peter
Peter's letter begins:

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1)

Συμεὼν Πέτρος δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

The two substantives in Peter's salutation are almost identical to those in Titus 2:13. The differences are removing the adjective and moving the pronoun:

enter image description here

Additionally, he could have included the article, or reversed the order of the proper name:

...τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ [τοῦ] σωτῆρος
...τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν
...τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν

Simply including the article in the 2nd substantive, as Paul did, would have no impact on the meaning except to eliminate any possibility of confusion which may be present in a TSKS phrase. In other words, as Paul did in the letter to Titus, Peter has a purposeful construction of a TSKS phrase which results in saying Jesus Christ is God and Savior.

Finally, Peter omits the adjective as it is unnecessary to describe either Christ Jesus or Father since this the first line of the letter.

Conclusion
As other answers show, Sharps rule applies in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. In addition, it is clear the TSKS phrase in Titus 2:13 was intentional and likewise Peter chose to open his second letter using the TSKS construction. Thus, God, great God and Savior all refer to Jesus Christ.

The Lexicons show the adjective "great" is meant to apply to Christ. Therefore in the case of Titus, both the grammar and semantics identify the referent as Jesus Christ. Peter's use is very similar. As the placement of the pronoun does not affect the meaning the real difference is omitting the adjective. This can be argued from both perspectives. First, it was only used in Titus to ensure Jesus Christ was not taken as lesser to His Father because Paul included Father in the salutation. On the other hand, Peter's failure to include the adjective speaks to its superfluous nature, in texts which lack a second person of the tripartite Godhead.

Finally I would add, given the lengthy analysis needed to refute the application of Sharp's Rule and the ease by which a writer could eliminate any potential confusion, the writer's choice to create a text which requires the use of the rule is compelling semantic evidence, that was their intent. In other words, hermeneutics must also take into consideration alternative ways the writer could use to convey an idea. For anyone arguing against the deity of Jesus Christ, the obvious rebuttal is why didn't the writer unambiguously make that statement?


  1. Fredrick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, The University Chicago Press, 2000, p. 624
  2. "Great" God invokes a comparison. If Paul believed Christ Jesus was not God, there would be no reason to identify the Father as the great God, a description not used elsewhere. Thus the text not only unnecessarily modifies the opening salutation to create a TSKS sequence, it adds a term which can only be explained by applying to Christ (as Lexicons show).
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