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Titus 2:13

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of
the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ”

[King James/Authorized Version, 1611]

titus-uncial


Many believe this passage shows that the apostle Paul taught that Jesus was God.

The controversy surrounding the passage centers around how the original Greek should be translated.

Some grammarians cite the so-called "Granville Sharp Rule" involving the single placement of the Greek article "the" before two nouns in a sentence. This leads many modern translators to render Titus 2:13 to mean that Jesus is "our great God and Savior."

The rule is also applied at 2 Peter 1:1, where many versions call Jesus "our God and Savior." [Dana and Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, (1927), p. 147]

However, the rule is not consistently applied by many translators elsewhere in the NT, suggesting that its selective application may serve doctrinal purposes, not translational consistency.

What also informs minority dissent is that this verse [Jesus is great God] is not the voice or mind of Paul. Throughout his letters, he draws lines between "God" and "Jesus," even though he affirms the preexistence of the Son and calls him "the image of God" (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15).

Nearly every letter of Paul begins with salutations mentioning "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1:7, etc.). This includes the opening of Titus itself: "Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (1:4). Paul concludes his stellar letter to the Romans by offering eternal "glory" to "the only wise God, through Jesus Christ" (Rom 16:27).

Reading Paul, in entirety, conveys consistent imagery: "For us there is one God, the Father...and one Lord, Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 8:6).

Elsewhere in Titus, "Savior" (soter) is applied to God (1:3, 2:10, 3:4) and to Jesus (1:4, 3:6).

In the Hebrew Bible "great God" is used five times: Deut 10:17 [ha'el hagadol]; Ps 95:3 [el gadol]; Dan 2:45 [elah rav, Aramaic]; Ezra 5:8 [elaha rabba, Aramaic]; Neh 8:6 [ha'elohim hagadol].

A PDF article by J. Christopher Edwards examines Granville Sharp's "Rule" and its application to Titus 2:13. "The Christology of Titus 2:13 and 1 Timothy 2:5".

The majority of modern English translations follow the reading Jesus=Great God. These include versions such as NIV, NASB, HCSB, ESV, LB, NET, ISV, GNT, RSV, NRSV, The Message, The Voice. Source: biblegateway.com.

In the other, minority reading of v. 13, Jesus is called "our Savior" and is distinguished from "our great God." This is indicated by adding "of" after "and."

"...looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ."


In commenting on Titus 2:13, the Messianic Jewish scholar David H. Stern writes:

"[V.] 13 points to, literally, 'the blessed hope,' meaning the blessed fulfillment of our certain hope, which is the appearing at the End of Days of the Sh’khinah (manifest glory) of God, and (at the same time) the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah.

"An alternate rendering: '...the appearing of the Sh’khinah of the great God, which Sh’khinah is our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah.'...

"Many translators and commentators believe the sense is as in the Revised Standard Version: '...the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.' The verse then states clearly that Jesus is God. But I think that understanding forces a statement about Yeshua's divinity into a passage not concerned with it. Yeshua's divine nature is not compromised by rendering as I have done. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the New Testament usually uses more indirect language to express Yeshua's God-aspect."

D. H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary (Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992), p. 656


Below is a sample list of versions of Titus 2:13 that follow the alternate reading in which Jesus is distinguised from God. Most add the preposition "of" before the pronoun "our."

The Greek text is printed for comparison.

Greek Text Titus 2:13
Greek New Testament
United Bible Societies
(4th ed. 1998)
προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν
της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου
και σωτηρος ημων Ιησου Χριστου
Authentic New Testament
(Hugh Schonfield, 1958)
waiting for the blessed Hope and visible manifestation of the glory of the Great God and of our Deliverer Jesus Christ
Blue Red Gold Letter Edition
(2012)
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ
Complete Jewish Bible
(David Stern, 1998)
...while continuing to expect the blessed fulfillment of our certain hope, which is the appearing of the Sh'khinah of our great God and the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah
The New Testament: A New Translation
(James Moffatt, 1913)
...awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Saviour Christ Jesus.
The Letters of Saint Paul and Hebrews
(Arthur S. Way, 1901, 1903)
So will we wait expectant of the realization of our blest hope, Expectant of the dawn-splendour of the glory of God Almighty, and of our Saviour, Jesus the Messiah
Letters to Young Churches
(J.B. Phillips, 1947, 1957)
And while we live this life we hope and wait for the glorious dénouement of God Himself and of Jesus Christ our Saviour
New American Bible
(1986, 1991, revised 2010)
...as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ.
New Life Version
(1969)
We are to be looking for the great hope and the coming of our great God and the One Who saves, Christ Jesus.
Modern Hebrew Translations Titus 2:13
HaBrit HaHadashah
(Franz Delitzsch)
unchabeh latiqvah hamasheret ulhopa'at kevod eloheinu hagadol umoshieinu yeshua hamashiach
HaBrit HaHadashah
(Israel Bible Society)
betzipiyah lemimush hatiqvah hamvorachah ulhopa'at hadar eloheinu hagadol umoshieinu yeshua hamashiach
HaBrit HaHadashah
(Isaac Salkinson)
ve-eineinu nesuot el-hatiqvah hatovah le-et yigaleh kevod haelohim hagadol veyeshua hamashiach moshieinu
Sifrei HaBrit HaHadashah
(Hebrew portion)
(Aramaic Scriptures Research Society in Israel, 1986)
bechakoteinu latiqvah haberuchah ulhitgalut tiferet haelohim hagdol umoshieinu yeshua hamashiach
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