Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Titus 2:13 - The Great God

"Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." -- Titus 2:13, New American Standard
This scripture is often listed, sometimes paralleled with scriptures such as Isaiah 45:21, as proof that Jesus is Jehovah God Most High., the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Does this scripture actually give proof of such?
 
First of all, there is nothing in the scripture about three persons in one God; such has to imagined using the spirit of human imagination, formed into dogma, then the assumed dogma has to be added to, and read into the scripture. Nor does the scripture say that Jesus is Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

However, this scripture can be translated different ways, depending upon the translator's understanding of what is being said, or bias. Additionally, according to Hebraic usage, the words from which forms of the Greek word for Theos are translated from the Hebrew also are used in a more general sense of Might, Strength. The Christian certainly receives his strength through Jesus. Of course, Jesus is the One of Power sent by the only true God, Jehovah, who gives Jesus his power, and Jesus is the savior sent by the only true God, Jehovah. Jesus is theos -- deity, a powerful one -- and is therefore true theos in a secondary sense, but not in the sense of being the only true Supreme Being, the Source of all might. Even as the saints are called *theoi*, so it would be proper to call Jesus *theos*, as the one given power and authority by Jehovah. -- John 10:34,35; 17:1,3 -- See also Psalm 82.
See also our studies on:
Who are the Gods?
Hebraic Usage of the Titles for 'God'
Why Is Jesus Called Elohim/Theos?
My Lord and My God
 
We present below several translations of Titus 2:13 that render this verse in various ways:

"while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ". -- New Revised Standard Version

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ;" -- The Webster Bible

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" -- King James Version

looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory (Footnote: 1) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; -- Footnote: (1) Or of our great God and Saviour ) -- American Standard Version

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

expecting the blessed hope; namely, the appearing of the glory of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ; -- Living Oracles

looking for the blessed hope, and the manifestation of the glory of the great God, and our Life-giver, Jesus the Messiah; -- Murdock

Prepared to welcome the happy hope and forthshining of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Christ Jesus, -- Rotherham

Regarding Titus 2:13 Paul S. L. Johnson states
Tit. 2:13 is also alleged as a proof of the trinity by some, who to find in their thought, render the words in question as follows: 'the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.' This rendering is not preferred by a majority of learned trinitarians, though it is a possible rendering. Rendered as in the A.V., A.R.V. text, and a majority of modern translations, not our Lord Jesus but the Father is here called God. The fact that, properly translated, Paul never calls Jesus God, but always contrasts Him as Lord with the Father as God, is decisive on which is the right translation. Again, the connection (v. 11) naturally suggests that the bright shining is of the Father and of the Son. St. Paul's use of language, calling the Father God over 500 times and never once calling Jesus God, must rule in this case as to which is the right translation. Force, too, is added to our view by the words [A.R.V.] *the glory of the Great* God." -- Ephiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 1, God, pages 525,526. -- (One should note that this was written back in the 1930s, before many of the modern translators had sought to translate this to read in favor of the trinitarian view.)
We should also note that Titus 3:6 definitely shows that it is the Father who shed the holy spirit "through Jesus Christ our Savior." And we also can look at Titus 1:4: "to Titus, my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God, the Father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior." (World English Bible translation) Here Paul clearly distinguishes between God the Father and the Lord Jesus. "God" in Titus 1:4 does not mean three persons, it means one person, and Jesus is not included as "God". This gives further evidence that Titus 2:13 does not reflect a triune God, or that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The revealing (epiphaneia) spoken of in Titus 2:13 probably refers to the time when the glory of Jehovah is revealed to all flesh, not to Jesus' appearance (Phaneroo) at his first advent, as spoken of in 1 Timothy 3:16. -- Isaiah 40:5; 11:9; Psalm 72:19.

The millennial kingdom of Christ will not only be the time of revealing of the glory of God and Christ, but also of the seed of Abraham, the chosen sons of God of this age. -- Romans 8:19; Galatians 3:26,29; 1 John 3:2.

Additionally, Titus 2:14 adds "who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds." This scripture shows that the man Jesus -- not God -- "gave" himself. Who did the man, Jesus Christ, 'give himself' to? To God himself! (1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:24; 10:10) Thus a little reasoning indicates that Jesus is not the same as the unipersonal God to whom he gave himself.

 
But someone argues: The rule of Greek grammar that applies here is that if there are two nouns separated by the word "kai" (and), then if each noun has an article with it, they refer to different things. But if only one of them has an article, they refer to the same thing. In these cases, we have two nouns ("God" and "Saviour"), separated by the word "kai", with only one of them having an article. According to this "rule" of Greek grammar, these two words refer to the same person.
Rules of grammar are not inherently rules of a language, but are made so by general usage. Such "rules" usually always have exceptions, which is also true of this "rule", as seen in the Septuagint of Proverbs 24:21. Granville Sharp is attributed to formulating the above rule which he presented in a book in 1798, long after Paul and Peter had written their letters. It would be an assumption to think that Paul had such a rule in mind when he wrote the above to Titus.

Nevertheless, according to Sharp's rule: "When the copulative kai connects two nouns of the same case, [viz. nouns (either substantive or adjective, or participles) of personal description, respecting office, dignity, affinity, or connexion, and attributes, properties, or qualities, good or ill], if the article o, 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." (Sharp, Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article, 3.) Sharp's sole purpose in his study was to promote the idea that Jesus is Jehovah, so he did not include "things" in his rule, thus he narrows his study to substantives (that is., nouns, substantival adjectives, substantival participles) of personal description, not those which referred to things, and only in the singular, not the plural. He states that "there is no exception or instance of the like mode of expression, that I know of, which necessarily requires a construction different from what is here laid down, EXCEPT the nouns be proper names, or in the plural number; in which case there are many exceptions ." In other words, he found a way to exclude or provide exceptions to his rule so as to make it appear that the rule would support the idea that several passages are saying that Jesus is Jehovah God Almighty.

Conversely, Sharp claimed that if two nouns of the same case are connected by a "kai" (and) and the article (the) is used with both nouns, they refer to different persons or things. If only the first noun has the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing referred to in the first. -- Curtis Vaughn, and Virtus Gideon, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament" (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979), p. 83.}" But Sharp came up with exceptions to this rule so that it would not apply to John 20:28.

Since writing the above, we have been given some quotes of various scholars concerning Titus 2:13, that we believe would be beneficial here:
The repetition of the art[icle] was not strictly necessary to ensure that the items be considered separately." -- A Grammar of the New Testament Greek, (Volume # was not supplied), by James Hope Moulton and Nigel Turner.
Unfortunately, at this period of Greek we cannot be sure that such a rule [Sharp's] is really decisive. -- Grammatical Insights into the New Testament, 1965, by Nigel Turner
It will probably never be possible, either in reference to profane literature or to the NT, to bring down to rigid rules which have no exception,... -- A Grammar of the New Testament Greek, by Alexander Buttmann
The grammatical argument ... is too slender to bear much weight, especially when we take into consideration not only the general neglect of the article in these epistles but the omission of it before "Savior" in 1 Timothy 1:1; 4:10. -- The Expositor's Greek Testament, by N. J. D. White
Let us look at an interlinear of Titus 2:13:
prosdechomenoi teen makarian elpida kai epiphaneian
AWAITING THE HAPPY HOPE AND MANIFESTATION
4327 3588 3107 1680 2532 2015
tees doxees tou megalou theou kai swteeros heemwn
OF THE GLORY OF THE GREAT GOD AND OF SAVIOR OF US
3588 1391 3588 3173 2316 2532 4990 1473_8
christou ieesou
OF CHRIST JESUS,
5547 2424
Westcott & Hort Greek / English Interlinear
NEW TESTAMENT coded with Strong's numbers
(as obtained from the Bible Student's Library DVD)
It should be obvious from the above that the Greek structure here is highly complex. First we have an article before two nouns -- two things -- connected by kai for which the Christian is awaiting -- teen makarian elpida kai epiphaneian -- the happy hope and manifestation. It is apparent that that in this verse that there are two things being waited for -- "hope" and "manifestation", although one article is present, both of which are related to "glory" that is to be manifested at that time -- the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Compare Romans 8:19,24,25) The manifestation is followed by a phrase describing what the manifestation is: "of the glory of the great God and of Savior of us, Jesus Christ." We again have an article used of the possessive; the article before glory is of the great God and Savior of us. Thus the "glory" is applied to two nouns, "God" and "Savior". It is speaking of the glory of God and it is speaking of the glory of our Savior. As one reads this, we don't think anyone would see in this that the reference to the great God and the savior are speaking of one person, except that their minds had been preconditioned to think of the expression in such terms. We certainly don't think Paul was trying to structure his sentence in such a way to leave the impression that Jesus is God Almighty. Regardless of whether one would think that THEOS in Titus 2:13 is applied to Jesus or not, one would still have to call upon the spirit of human imagination to think that it means that Jesus is the Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And, if one wishes to think of trinity regarding this verse, he still has to use the spirit of human imagination so to think that THEOS means the second alleged person of the alleged triune God, which God is never once mentioned in the Bible.

There is even more to this, for let us read the verses before:

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; -- King James Version.

Now we know that "grace" or "favor" did not make some physical appearing, but rather the knowledge through Christ concerning the grace of God appeared to all the men being spoken of, that is, Christians, both Gentile and Jew, teaching them how to live in this evil world while they awaited the happy hope and manifestation of the glory. Thus Paul is summing up the work of the first advent and the second advent, as to what is revealed at both events. The parallel between the advents is "grace" and "glory". The grace is of God through Christ. (Titus 1:3) The "glory" is of the great God and our Savior, the latter who is then identified as Jesus Christ. Thus the whole idea is the glory of our great God and the glory of our Savior, which glory we are awaiting the manifestation of.

As seen from Westcott & Hort's Interlinear, the Greek has the possessive *heemwn*, which appears after *swteeros*, which, according to the usual construction, would also demand an article before that which is possessed, that is, *swteeros*. There is no definite article before swteeros, so we go looking for a definite article earlier, which we find before *megalou theou*, "great God". Then this article is applied to both "great God" and "Savior." Since there is no separate article applied to Savior, some wish to conclude that one person is referred to as both God and Savior. Still, there we have no reason to think that this was Paul's intention, and there is certainly nothing definite in this conclusion. Sharp himself had to make exceptions to his rules in order to seemingly narrow them down for his purposes.
In view of the context, we do not believe that Paul here was constructing this sentence this way to show that Jesus is God Almighty, regardless of how one applies or makes exceptions for Sharp's rule in this verse. One still has to use the spirit of human imagination to think that it means that Jesus is Jehovah, and further use of the spirit of human imagination to think that it means one person of a triune Jehovah. It does appear more likely that he just wrote what seemed to him to be a way of saying that we are awaiting the appearance of both the glory of the great God and of our Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, even if Jesus is being called 'Great God", we should connect the phrase "Great God" here with the phrase with the more general Hebraic usage of such, that is, of Jesus as the Great Mighty One, rather than to call upon the spirit of human imagination so as to think that Paul was saying that Jesus is the Most High. This application would still not make Jesus into God Almighty, but as a Great One of Power, as made so by the Almighty Jehovah.

Then there is one more thing to consider concerning Titus 2:13 and Sharp's rules. As noted above, he provided exceptions to his rules if the nouns were proper nouns. Some argue that "God" and "Savior" in Titus 2:13 are semantic equivalents to such proper names, as titular names, and therefore Sharp's exception to his rule should apply to this verse.

Overall, actual proof is lacking in Titus 2:13 that Jesus is Jehovah. The arguments presented for such are questionable, to say the least. One has to first assume that Jesus is God Almighty, then read this into the scripture, and then say that this is proof, which is, in effect, circular reasoning. Without all the circular reasoning that has been imagined toward the verse, it is not that difficult to understand in harmony with the entire Bible.
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Does The Above Deny the Deity of Jesus?

No, denying that Jesus is his God is not the same as denying that Jesus is deity. Jesus' being deity does not mean that Jesus is his God. Jesus is never depicted as being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but this does not mean that Jesus is not deity, a mighty spirit being.
See our studies related to Jesus' deity:
http://jesus-rlbible.com/?page_id=4009
Results in multiple pages.

Related RL Studies
My Lord and My God
Hebraic Usage of the Titles for “God”
Who Are the Gods?

We received the following comment from "YT" regarding the above:

In Titus 1:4, Paul says, “from God Father and Christ Jesus the Savior of-us.”

In Titus 2:13, Paul says, “of-the great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ.”

Those two phrases look synonymous to me.

Sharp’s Rule is an example of the “Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (with this, therefore because-of this) logical fallacy, in which two simultaneous things are incorrectly assumed to have a causal relationship (the one being the cause of the other) when in fact they have no such relationship. For example, if I see a blue car containing one person, and if I assume from that observation that every blue car must contain one person, then I am engaging in the Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. Likewise, if I assume from the fact that the phrase “TO-THE God and Father” in 1 Corinthians 15:24 refers to one person (the Father) that every singular personal article-noun-kai-noun configuration must refer to one person instead of two persons, then I am engaging in the Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. It is contextually clear that the phrase “OF-THE Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 refers to two persons (the Son and Father), just as it is contextually clear that the phrase “THE Paul and Barnabas” in Acts 13:50 refers to two persons (Paul and Barnabas). The context always determines whether the referent is two persons or one person. The article configuration always determines whether the two singular personal nouns (referring either to two persons or to one person, depending on the context) are expressed as one idea (article-noun-kai-noun) or as two ideas (article-noun-kai-article-noun) are as neither one idea nor two ideas (noun-kai-noun). The phrase “THE Lord and THE Teacher” in John 13:14 expresses the two singular personal nouns (Lord, Teacher) as two ideas (THE Lord and THE Teacher) because Jesus is saying that he (Jesus) is not only the Lord, but also the Teacher, hence the phrase “THE Lord and THE Teacher.” If Jesus had wished to express those two nouns as one idea, then he would have said “THE Lord and Teacher.” In 1 John 2:22, John says that when a person denies the Son, he denies not only the Son, but also the Father, hence the phrase “the-one denying THE Father and THE Son.” If John had wished to express those two nouns as one idea in describing, for instance, their reign over the kingdom, then he would have said, “They-reign, THE Father and Son, over the kingdom,” as in Ephesians 5:5, where Paul says, “in the kingdom OF-THE Christ and God.” In Titus 2:13, Paul says, “of-the glory OF-THE great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ.” Here, Paul expresses the great Father and Son as one idea via the article-noun-kai-noun configuration in order to identify whose glory (one thing) will one day appear. There are examples of two nouns referring to one person being expressed as one idea (article-noun-kai-noun) and as two ideas (article-noun-kai-article-noun) and as neither one idea nor two ideas (noun-kai-noun), and there are examples of two nouns referring to two persons being expressed as one idea (article-noun-kai-noun) and as two ideas (article-noun-kai-article-noun) and as neither one idea nor two ideas (noun-kai-noun). That could not happen if the article configuration had anything to do with whether the referent was two persons or one person. Therefore, the Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy known as Sharp’s Rule is simply wrong.

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