Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
-Psalm 138:2, KJV

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Thomas Holland's Crowned With Glory, ©2000, used with permission.

Titus 2:13 - "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"

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

Modern versions such as the NIV render this as, "While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." It is argued that the KJV incorrectly translated this passage and violated the Granville Sharpe Rule of Greek grammar. [1] Basically this rule states that the two nouns (God and Savior) refer to the same Person, Jesus Christ. They are correct in their understanding of this grammatical rule. They are incorrect in stating the Authorized Version has violated it.

The problem is not with the KJV, but rather a lack of understanding English grammar. In English, when two nouns are separated by the phrase and our, the context determines if the nouns refer to two persons or to two aspects of the same person. Consider the following sentence, "He was a great hero and our first president, General George Washington." This statement is not referring to two persons but two aspects of the same person. Washington was a great hero by anyone's standards, but he was not everyone's president. He was our president.

The same is true of the phrase in Titus 2:13. When Christ returns He is coming as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He is returning as the great God (Titus 2:13; Revelation 19:17). Therefore, He will return as everyone's King, everyone's Lord, as the great God over all. But He is not everyone's Savior. He is only the Savior of those who have placed faith in Him. When He returns He is coming as the great God but He is also returning as our Savior, two aspects of the same Person.

This is illustrated elsewhere in Scripture. Consider the following two passages in the New Testament. In both cases two nouns are separated by the phrase and our. However, it is also clear that the two nouns refer to the same Person: God, who is our Father. In Galatians 1:4 we read, "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Likewise, in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 we read, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father." In both passages we know that God and Father are the same Person. They are separated by and our to convey the truth that the Eternal God over all is also our Father, thereby personalizing our relationship with Him.

The King James translation of Titus 2:13 is also consistent. In the Book of Titus we find the Greek phrase sotepos emon (Savior of us) used six times (1:3,4; 2:10,13; 3:4,6). Each time the Authorized Version consistently translates it as our Saviour. In the final analysis, we see that the KJV is harmonious in its use of Greek as well as in its proclamation of the deity of Christ.



[1] White, 267-270.

 

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