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

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.

  • Thanks for the condensed version and succinct answer. Is "Sharpe" an alternative spelling or a typo? – C. Kelly Jan 31 '16 at 13:00

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:

        any definite article (in the genitive case) 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 
        any possessive pronoun (in the genitive case) 
        any noun (in the genitive case) 

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

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.



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:

  • 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

Paul begins his letter to Titus by describing Jesus in a statement 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 clearly separate from the second "Christ Jesus our Savior." In addition, there are "exceptions" to Sharp's rule which would prevent its application:

  1. Despite virtually every English translation, the first substantive, literally God Father θεοῦ πατρὸς, lacks a definite article.
  2. Despite virtually every English translation, the second substantive, literally Christ Jesus the Savior ours has a definite article.

However, in terms of a trinitarian understanding of the verse, Paul's omission of the definite article in θεοῦ πατρὸς, means "Father" is simply "God" not "the God." In other words, the definite article present in an English translation was added by a translator for theological reasons, not because of the text. A correct translation would cause a reader to ask: why does Paul say God Father instead of God the Father?

Consider the first description of Jesus to the one in Titus 2:13:

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

προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

Whatever ambiguity is present in the second description of Jesus, is a consequence of Paul's manipulation of the earlier phrase Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν:

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Paul changed his first description of Jesus (1:4) to create the TSKS arrangement in the second (2:13) and it is obvious he intends the reader to understand both μεγάλου θεοῦ and σωτῆρος ἡμῶν describe Jesus Christ. Moreover, he could have easily avoided any possible confusion:

  • keeping the definite article in its original position in the 2nd substantive: μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
  • omitting the definite article completely: μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

2 Peter
Peter's second 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

However, he could have begun as Paul did:

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 Christ Jesus our Savior (2 Peter 1:1)

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

Simply including the definite article in the 2nd substantive, as Paul did, would have no impact on the meaning except to eliminate any 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 calls Jesus God and Savior.

As stated in other answers, Sharps rule applies in both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. In addition, it is obvious the TSKS phrase in Titus 2:13 was intentionally done specifically to describe Jesus as the Great God and Savior. Finally, both writers could have easily avoided any ambiguity of a TSKS phrase by using the definite article in the second substantive.


Sharp’s Rule specifies that it is the copulative και that joins two substantives so that they refer to one person. However, the Greek word sometimes rendered as “and,” και, may be either copulative or adjunctive. To assume και to be copulative in a given text and to claim it fits the rule is circular reasoning.

However, modern revisionists of Sharp’s rule like Daniel Wallace both ignore that requirement and claim they represent the rule as Sharp intended.

I appeal to Daniel Wallace and other proponents of the restatement of the Granville Sharp rule to disclose why Sharp’s requirement that the καὶ be copulative has been silently dropped, and to clearly identify their criteria for determining that καὶ is truly copulative in a particular syntax.  

Until this is done, Sharp's rule is just a very bad contrived "suggestion."


The Greek syntax found in these two verses does indicate that there is a “single notion” that is being expressed. Smyth Greek Grammar, section 1143 defines the syntax as “A single article, used with the first of two or more nouns connected by and, produces the effect of a single notion: οἱ στρατηγοὶ καὶ λοχαγοί the generals and captains (the commanding officers).” This example does have plural substantives and shows that the “single notion” does not need to be that of the same referent.

In in the example from 2 Peter, the single notion could be a single righteousness that results from God through Jesus. At 1 Peter 2:23, we find that Jesus "entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously." In verse 24, Jesus' sacrifice allows Christians to "live to righteousness." Thus to Peter, “righteousness” is a single notion related to the Father and Son.

The “rule” as stated in the OP could also apply to Ephesians 5:5 where the single notion is “the Kingdom of Christ and God.” In fact, Granville Sharp considered this verse to match his rule, but when reading most bibles, hardly anyone would interpret it so that Christ and God are one person. What makes the rule very vague and subjective is that there is no agreement even amongst proponents of the rule as to what makes up a proper name. Also, the rule only works if the second substantive is not just anarthrous but also semantically indefinite.

The Blass-Debrunner-Funk Greek Grammar (BDF) which is frequently quoted by Daniel Wallace and other advocates of the rule in section 276.3 states that Savior at 2 Peter 1:1 is to be “separated” from God in that verse. Thus BDF holds the view that Jesus is not called God in this verse.

“2 P 1:1 … 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).“

Aside from the context and grammar already mentioned, there is another serious problem with both Titus and 2 Peter for advocates of Sharps. It is a well-known grammatical fact that the Greek anaphoric article has the same function as the Greek pronoun. When a Greek substantive like “God” (Greek QEOS) is found in a text, and that same noun follows it with the article, it identifies the previous instance as having the same referent.

This means that “God” at 2 Peter 1:2, which in context is distinguished from Jesus (i.e. the Father) has the same referent as “God” at 2 Peter 1:1.

Thus it is quite impossible for 2 Peter 1:1 to use “God” to describe Jesus. However, they both do contribute to a “single notion.”

For more details, see the paper “The Greek Anaphoric Article Applied to the Exegesis of 2 Peter 1:1 and Related Texts - A Fresh Grammatical and Contextual Analysis” which can be found both on academia.edu and Wordpress.

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