GRANVILLE SHARP RULE  


 

COMMENTS ON THE GRANVILLE SHARP RULE

There is a grammatical device (rule) called the
Granville Sharp Rule, which states: “When the
copulative kai connects two nouns of the same case, if
the article, ho, or any of its cases precedes the
first of the said nouns or participles, and is not
repeated before the second noun or participle, the
latter always relates to the same person that is
expressed or described by the first noun or
participle; i.e., it denotes a farther description of
the first-named person.” (Dana and Mantey Grammar,
page 147).

1. Although the rule begins with “nouns” in general,
it then seems to focus just on “persons.” However,
that is not pertinent as I will endeavor to disqualify
the “rule” as having any kind of absolute grammatical
jurisdiction.

2. But that is the reason why many equate “blessed
hope” and “glorious appearing,” or more specifically,
“appearance” at Titus 2:13.

3. However, as well established as that rule is in
grammatical circles, I have a serious problem with it.
Notice that in the statement of the rule, it reads,
ALWAYS. This is a little too rigid for my tastes.
Man’s formulations of rules and devices are not
ABSOLUTE, and it seems there are ALWAYS exceptions.
This “rule” is no different.

4. I have always (there’s that word again) held
respectfully to the Granville Sharp Rule until my
recent studies in 2 Peter 1. Here is what I have
determined -
2 Petr 1:1, “the righteousness of our God and Savior,
Jesus Christ.”
Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: It is commonly held
that this construction is an example of the Granville
Sharp Rule.

5. Also at 2 Peter 2:20, “our Lord” is joined by kai
to “Savior, Jesus Christ,” and equates the two as
referring to one and the same person.
Also, at Titus 2:13a, “the blessed hope and glorious
appearing (appearance of the glory),” are joined by
kai with the definite article preceding “blessed” and
not preceding “appearance.”

6. Here, at 2 Peter 1:1, it is suggested, that “Our
God,” is referring to the same person as “Savior”
because the definite article precedes God, is followed
by KAI, and is thus connected to “Savior, Jesus
Christ,” which does not have the definite article.

7. However, the rule may be suspect because its
application to 2 Peter 1:1 cannot be upheld by a
detailed analysis of the context. Since such analysis
will determine that the Father and the Lord Jesus are
always (how often that word does come up) to be viewed
as separate individuals. It is Oneness Theology that
equates the Father and the Son, but the true biblical
doctrine of the Godhead (or trinity) recognizes as
with the Athanasian Creed, “For the person of the
Father is one; of the Son, another; of the Holy
Spirit, another. But the divinity of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, the glory
equal, the majesty equal.”

8. Furthermore, at 2 Peter 2:20, it is the context
that makes the two words (Lord and Savior) refer to
the same person and it does not depend on any
grammatical construction.

9. And at Titus 2:13, the translation, “Looking for
the blessed hope, that is (kai) the appearing of the
glory of The Great God and OF our Savior Christ
Jesus,” does not NEED to equate the words “God” and
“Savior” for the second advent context makes it clear
that TWO things APPEAR at the second coming; (1) the
GLORY of the Great God, Matthew 16:27, AND (2) the
person of Jesus.

10. Furthermore, at Titus 2:13, the claim that the
“rule” is what equates “blessed hope” and “appearance”
is presumptuous of the rule.
At the same time, the linguistic practice of using AND
to equate two separate words or ideas is common to all
languages. It is that practice that ALLOWS (but not
demands) us to understand KAI as EVEN.

11. And it is context once again that justifies the
application of that practice to Titus 2:13, by
establishing that, the “hope” of Christians is in fact
the very appearance that is described.
     a. John 14:1-3, “let not your heart be troubled.”
     b. 1 Cor. 1:7, “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our
     Lord Jesus Christ.”
     c. Philip. 3:20, “we eagerly wait for a Savior.”
     d. Rom. 8:25, “but if we expectantly hope for what we
     do not see, then with endurance do we eagerly wait for it.”
     e. Heb. 9;28, “those who eagerly wait for Him.”
     f. 1 Thes. 4:18, “therefore comfort one another with these words.”
     g. 2 Tim. 4:8, “those who have LOVED His appearing.”
     h. 1 Peter 1:3-6, “a living HOPE . . . an inheritance
     . . . to be revealed in the last time, in which you greatly rejoice.”
     i. 1 John 3:2-3, “When He appears, we shall be like
     Him . . . And everyone who has this HOPE on Him.”

12. The claim that this RULE “still proves to be
true,” (Dana and Mantey Grammar, page 147) is forced
rather than cut in stone. A perfect example is our
passage here at 2 Peter 1:2, where it is claimed that,
“Our God,” is referring to the same person as “Savior”
because of the construction and the Granville Sharp
Rule. As I attempt to find the true meaning of Peter’s
words here, I cannot be restricted by a grammatical
“rule” that seems to be more wishful thinking than
accurate fact.

13. However, let me be quick to add that this in no
way threatens the deity of Jesus Christ, for that fact
is clearly established in the New Testament, and does
not depend on the Granville Sharp Rule to establish
its veracity.

14. Now, concerning the passage before us, there is
no basis for equating the word, God, with either
savior or Jesus in either First or Second Peter, and
both the immediate context as well as the over all
context will demonstrate this.

15. Starting in 1 Peter 1:1-3, Peter consistently
makes a distinction between “God” and Jesus, and it is
clear that when he mentions God, he has in mind God,
the Father. In fact, so consistently does Peter make
this distinction, that it is hermeneutically unwise to
use the Granville Sharp Rule at 2 Peter 1:2 as
justification to depart from his pattern.

16. In 1 Peter chapter one, theos is used 6 times,
and the first two are identified as God the Father,
which sets the pattern for its usage in the rest of
the book.

17. In chapter two, theos is used 9 times and the
distinction between GOD and Jesus Christ is continued
at verse 5 and preserved through the rest of the
chapter.

18. In chapter three, theos is used 8 times, with the
distinction being indicated at verses 18 and 22.

19. In chapter four, theos is used 11 times, with the
distinction being indicated at verse 11 and 14.

20. At chapter five, theos is used 5 times, with the
distinction being indicated at verse 10.

21. Accordingly, at 2 Peter 1:1, in spite of the
construction of the words, “The God of us and Savior,
Jesus Christ,” it is best to keep the two persons
separate, and the possessive pronoun would do double
duty as in, “the God of us and (the) Savior (of us),
Jesus Christ.”

22. The application of this “rule” at the beginning
of Titus 2:13, “the blessed hope AND (or EVEN) the
appearing of the glory of our great God . . .” is a
valid example IF the rule is to insisted upon. Even
without the rule, contextual analysis determines that
the blessed hope is in fact THE APPEARING.
 

 
 

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