Titus 2:13 - the modern versions mangle "our Saviour Jesus Christ"

Steven Avery

Steven Avery - Dec 5, 2017

Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

In English, if you talk of “our Saviour" you are using a possessive adjective “our” and so you do not also add an article: "the our Saviour”" is gibberish. Thus, the possessive adjective “our” is functioning, in a sense, as a definite article, in that it refers to a specific, defined noun element. The book == Our book, in that there is a specificity of a particular book that is lacking if it is anarthous or an indefinite article.

In Titus 2:13, how is this aspect handled by Wallace, Sharp and others? Rather than a missing article, it looks as if the possessive adjective is working as the de facto article, thus modifying the grammar parsing (and, if you want to play the game, you can even add this to the myriad Sharp rule exceptions.)

When you look at the actual text (see below), and simply understand it in the English as well, it is clear that ἡμῶν (our) has a major potential impact on the verse understanding, and basically ship-wrecks the identity attempt. Take out the our from the English AV, and you can have an identity verse. So the modern translators had to find ways to move the our from its natural and clear position.

Now I realize that the Daniel Wallace translation in NETBible is:
"“our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”"

This translation has applied an “our” to the previous nouns, that are viewed as a double adjective to the glory. It looks like an awkward usage and placement, and we find the definite article τοῦ is actually untranslated.

When you look at the actual breakdown of the two translations (e.g. in BlueLetterBible) this aspect becomes even more interesting.

(Note: In the parsing below we can allow that the forms of the words are under discussion and you might change the English .. e.g. noun to adjective):

TR and CT
ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
appearing..the glorious the great... God and Savoiur ..our ..Jesus ..Christ

the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;


the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Note all the funniness, the definite article τοῦ is gone in the NetBible, replaced with an our. Yet by the parsing given in BlueLetterBible the our is not the ἡμῶν that really is connected to Saviour.

It looks like the natural grammar is ignored, and a stiff, convoluted attempt is made, simply in order to comply with the supposed rules of Granville Sharp.

They simply could not leave the powerful and natural:

our Saviour Jesus Christ

alone ..
They had to mess up the translation.

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


Steven Avery

Gregory Blunt shows that the natural and obvious grammar is as in the AV

Granville Sharp Rules

Now let us return to Titus 2:13 and the GSR. Gregory Blunt is often underestimated in his early critique of Sharp.
Gregory Blunt is likely the pen name for Thomas Pearne (c. 1753-1827)

Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

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

It appears then, from what has been said, that the text contains two proper names, God and Jesus. Each of these is attended by its appropriate description. To the one is prefixed the epithet of great, or mighty ; and to the other is prefixed, in like manner and situation, the corresponding epithet of our saviour. The sentence, therefore, naturally and obviously, divides itself into two parts; and the structure of it plainly points out two distinct and separate beings. p. 88

Gregory Blunt is the pen name for Thomas Pearne (c. 1753-1827)

Six More Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq. on His Remarks Upon the Uses of the Article in the Greek Testament (1803)
Gregory Blunt

This is clear and sound.
Blunt also discusses how God must be a proper name, not an appellative, in p. 86-87. A good read.

Then on p. 89 he discusses the problems with the first adjectives placement in the Sharp construction, how it would really mean including the very unlikely "great Saviour". The two nouns are being grouped with one adjectival description of Jesus Christ, then Great should apply to both, and great is never applied to Saviour.
For if, according to your mode of construing, the two nouns θεοῦ and (Gr-Saviour) be understood as descriptive appellations of one and the same person, then, as I have shewn you, when I investigated the nature of your general form for such expressions, the article which precedes the first noun must be supplied by ellipsis before the second. But the idiom of the language, if we would follow the natural and obvious construction, requires, that when we bring forward the article from the first noun to the second, we should also bring forward whatever intervenes between that article and the first noun, that is, in this case, the adjective great. But that adjective is altogether inapplicable to the second noun, Saviour, and cannot be construed with it. Nay, the word saviour is never found throughout the New Testament accompanied with any adjective whatever. These two nouns, therefore, God and saviour, are not here intended to be descriptions of one and the same being. p. 88-89

One really interesting part follows when he looks at the possessive adjective our, my point above.
The position of ἡμῶν also militates against your interpretation. For though it may, in such a situation, be construed with both, and often is so construed, yet the most obvious and natural construction is to restrict and confine it to the noun to which it is immediately annexed, unless something forbids, or points out a different construction. And here there is nothing to forbid, but your fanciful, unfounded theory' of the article. p. 89

And if our is naturally and properly placed with Saviour, the whole Granville Sharp attempt falls apart, as it is acting with the sense of a definite article.

The next one is style and consistency:

The order of the words is likewise against your interpretation. For if the two nouns were both intended to describe the greatness of Jesus’s person, it is natural to suppose the writer would rise in his description ; but here, on the contrary, he sinks. It is an anti-climax. There is also an odd mixture of a metaphysical description, God, with one that is moral, saviour. p. 89

The section continues with additional excellent material, including Erasmus.

All of the word order and related issues are rather easy to understand, and all support the natural flow of the text as in the AV.

Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;


The reference to Samuel Clarke contra Nelson goes back to 1714, way before the Sharp nonsense of trying to make a "rule".

A Reply to the Objections of Robert Nelson, Esq: And of an Anonymous Author [i.e. James Knight] Against Dr. Clarke's Scripture-doctrine of the Trinity. Being a Commentary Upon Forty Select Texts of Scripture. To which is Added, An Answer to the Remarks of the Author Of, Some Considerations Concerning the Trinity, and the Ways of Managing that Controversy (1714)
Samuel Clarke

Blunt defers to Clarke's p. 85-89 for more New Testament style discussion of how the apostles writer of God and Lord and Christ.

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Winer knew the σωτῆρος ἡμῶν - our Saviour - helps refute the GSR attempt on Titus 2:13

From the CARM page

word order and adjective analysis is the simple refutation of the GSR mangling of Titus 2:13

Ezra Abbot mentions that Benedict Winter pointed out how "our" makes the Saviour definite. (Remember, Wallace attacks Winer rather unfairly, in a bogeyman approach to the historical analysis.)

"σωτῆρος is made sufficiently definite by the addition of ἡμῶν (Winer)"

On the construction of Titus ii. 13 (1888)
Ezra Abbot

And thus if the trailing noun is definite, the identity translation of the GSR fails, it is as if there were in fact two definite articles. (Another exception, ho-hum.)

Abbot, after discussing a couple of examples, also gives a classic quote that could be one sentence that simply ends the controversy.

But the omission of the article before the second of two subjects connected by καὶ is not without effect. Its absence naturally leads us to conceive of them as united in some common relation, while the repetition of the article would present them to the mind as distinct objects of thought.
Simple enough.
The end of the Granville Sharp Rule charade.

Even in Titus 2:13, one of the last two verses where anybody tries to place in a Sharpite text, a simple look at the verse shows you that the AV text was pure, simple, consistent and flows directly from the Greek.

Remember, the purpose of Sharp was supposedly to correct the AV text, verses which he said were "wrongly translated in the Common English Versions", but instead he just gave us mangling.