Thursday, February 24, 2005

Biblical arguments for the Trinity, part 2

Continuing from yesterday...

4. The Son is God.

As long as nobody disputes that "the Son" refers to Jesus, we'll be fine. Like I said in the first blog on the Trinity, I'm not writing a book, so I'm just going to give a few arguments for the deity of Jesus.

The first argument is that Jesus is explicitly called God in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Although most modern translations are clear about this, there's a reason for it that has to do with the grammer of the underlying Greek. All you have to know is one very simple rule of Greek grammer having to do with the definite article. You'll have to excuse me for not using a Greek font.

That rule is called the Granville Sharp rule, because it was discovered by Granville Sharp. Here is what the rules says: Whenever the copulative "kai" (and) joins two nouns, and the first noun is preceded by the definite article "ho" (the) but the second noun has no definite article, then both nouns refer to the same person if (1) both nouns are singular, (2) both nouns are personal, and (3) neither noun is a proper name. The basic pattern is article noun kai noun.

Here's a couple of examples:

2 Corinthians 1:3
ho theos kai pater
the god and father

Clearly, "god" and "father" both refer to the same person.

Hebrews 3:1
ton apostolon kai archierea
the apostle and high priest

"Apostle" and "high priest" both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ.

Now let's apply this rule to Titus 2:13.

tou megalou theou kai soteros hemon Iesou Christou
the great god and savior of-us Jesus Christ

The two nouns are "god" and "savior." God has the definite article tou while soteros is without the article, so "god" and "savior" both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ. The context bears this out.

Now let's look at 2 Peter 1:1.

tou theou hemon kai soteros Iesou Christou
the god of-us and savior Jesus Christ

Again, we have two singular personal nouns that are not proper names, god and savior, separated by kai. The first noun has a definite article, and the second doesn't. God and savior both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ.

It is interesting to look at translations such as the New World Translation, because they are inconsistent in their translations in 2 Peter. Notice the following:

2 Peter 1:1 our God and [the] Savior Jesus Christ
2 Peter 1:11 our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The way they translate 1:1, with "the" makes it look like God and Savior could be referring to different persons. But it's clear in 1:11 that Lord and Savior refer to the same persons. Even though the translations are different, the grammatical construct of these two phrases is identical in the Greek. Only the words "god" and "lord" are different.

2 Peter 1:1 tou theou hemon kai soteros Iesou Christou
2 Peter 1:11 tou kyriou hemon kai soteros Iesou Christou

The King James Version also has these discrepencies, because it was translated long before Granville Sharp did his research on the uses of the definite article. A good example of how the Granville Sharp rule clarified a passage that was ambiguous in the KJV is Revelation 1:6. If you compare the KJV of Revelation 1:6 to more modern translations, like the NIV or NASB, you can see a big difference. The KJV makes it look like God may have a father above him. And in fact, that's exactly how Mormons understand the passage. But Granville Sharp's rule makes it clear that "God" and "Father" both refer to the same person, and that is made clear in the NIV and NASB.

In the interest of keeping these blogs kind of short, I'll continue with the deity of Jesus tomorrow. If you're interested in reading more about Granville Sharp's rule, Daniel Wallace, author of Greek Grammer Beyond the Basics has an article about it here. I could be mistaken, but I think Wallace did his PhD dissertation on Granville Sharp.

For the Trinity, part 3


At 1/09/2013 11:46 PM , Blogger ncv, jr. said...

I am compiling articles on apologetics. Please allow me to re-post your articles in my blog.


At 1/09/2013 11:49 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Sure, go for it.


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