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Friday, October 30, 2009

Sharp's Rule - Pt 2 (End Notes)

 Sharp's Rule - Part two


1.      What Every Jehovah's Witness Should Know, Prof. Arthur Bowser, pp. 59, 60.

2.       J. H. Moulton's  A  Grammar of New Testament Greek, p. 84, Vol. 1, says:  "We cannot discuss here the problem of Titus 2:13, for we must, as grammarians, leave the matter open ...."  As a trinitarian, however, he later tried to justify a trinitarian interpretation of Titus 2:13 "historically" (rather than grammatically) by citing certain 7th century A. D. manuscripts.  This certainly shows that Moulton ("one of the greatest grammarians of this century" according to Wallace himself) did not reject Sharp's "Rule" because of a "theological bias" as Wallace claims (p. 102), but, in spite of a strong trinitarian "theological bias" rejected Sharp's "Rule" on grammatical grounds even though he preferred (for inadequate "historical" reasons and a theological trinitarian bias) a trinitarian interpretation of Titus 2:13.

3.        The Roman Catholic scholar, Karl Rahner, commenting on 2 Peter 1:1, says that `God' "here is clearly separated from `Christ'." - Theological Investigations, Karl Rahner, pp. 136, 137, Vol.1, 3rd printing: 1965.

4.        According to An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, by C. F. D. Moule, Cambridge, England, 1971, p. 109, at Titus 2:13, the sense "of the Great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ ... is possible in [New Testament] Greek even without the repetition [of the definite article before the second noun]."

5.       Famed British NT scholar and trinitarian clergyman Henry Alford wrote: "I would submit that [a translation which clearly differentiates God from Christ at Titus 2:13] satisfies all the grammatical requirements of the sentence: that it is both structurally and contextually more probable, and more agreeable to the Apostle's [Paul's] way of writing." - The Greek Testament, p. 421, Vol. 3.  And,

“I have fully discussed the question in the note on [Titus 2:13], to which I would refer the reader as my justification for interpreting here [2 Peter 1:1], as there, [‘the god of us’] of the Father, and [‘savior jesus christ’] of the Son.” - p. 390, Vol. 4.

6.       "Of the Glory of the great God and of our Saviour Christ Jesus" - Titus 2:13, The Bible,  A New Translation by Dr. James Moffatt, Professor of New Testament Greek at Oxford University.

7.        The trinitarian scholar Murray J. Harris devotes a section to 2 Thess. 1:12 in his book Jesus as God, pp. 265-266, Baker Book House, 1992.  He admits, in effect, that the argument for a trinitarian interpretation ("according to the grace of our God and Lord, namely Jesus Christ") is less probable and more poorly supported than the non-trinitarian interpretation ("according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ").  He admits that, although "the first rendering has a few supporters," no  English translation supports that trinitarian rendering, and, in fact, the trinitarian NAB, LB, GNB, MLB, NLV, Douay, KJIIV, and Weymouth translations most clearly refute it by rendering "the grace of our God  and of the Lord Jesus Christ."  This alone destroys the assertion that this is an "absolute rule."  If it doesn't work at 2 Thess. 1:12, and most trinitarian scholars and translators indicate this, there is no reason to insist that it works in any other scripture!

8.        Analysis of Matt. 22:32; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:32:

Matt. 22:32  -  "The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob"
Luke 20:37   - "The God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob"
Acts    7:32   - "The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob"

     Luke 20:37 above is one of 7 scriptures specifically selected by Wallace and analyzed by him (p. 103) in an attempt to show how Sharp's rule "always" works!

     Luke (who also wrote Acts 7:32 above) and Matthew are both giving us the meaning of the words God spoke to Moses at Ex. 3:6 (compare Ex. 3:15).

     IF there were any significance to be found in Sharp's "rule," it certainly would not be ignored here!
     And if there were no significance for article usage in copulative "and" constructions, we might find variations in such article usage in different New Testament repetitions of this Old Testament passage.

     In other words, (1) if the article usage irregularity found with "prepositional" constructions (including genitives in general) holds true in Sharp's "rule" constructions, or, (2) if the initial article (and/or the initial article and noun) in a copulative "and" construction may be understood as being with the following items in that construction, then we might see different stylistic article usages in the various NT repetitions of an OT copulative "and" scripture, since the article usage under those conditions would have absolutely no effect on the actual meaning, and, therefore, Sharp's "rule" would be absolutely worthless under those conditions!
     Notice how Luke uses the initial article at Luke 20:37 ("The God of Abraham") but not the following articles (" __God of Isaac and  __God of Jacob").

     If this article usage had been significant in any way, all Bible writers would certainly have repeated it (especially if it truly aided us in knowing God - Jn 17:3).  And yet, Matthew, speaking of the very same OT words of God, used the article with each noun.  The meaning, therefore, is exactly the same.  Only the writing style is different!

     Now notice how Luke himself again writes the same words of God (Ex. 3:6) in Acts 7:32: "The God of Abraham and _ _ of Isaac and _ _ of Jacob."  Again the same meaning is expressed in a different writing style.

     Here, then, we have seen illustrated the principle that the initial article (and even the noun with it - "God," in this case) may be understood to be repeated with the following items in a copulative "and" construction (especially if it also contains "prepositional" forms)! 

     Obviously Sharp's "rule" is just wishful thinking by a few trinitarians who are desperately seeking for some shred of real scriptural evidence for a "Jesus is God" doctrine.  Tragically, they have grabbed at the floating straw of stylistic differences in the NT Greek that have no significance for the literal meaning in the original language but only appear to do so to the speakers of modern English.

9.        It's extremely significant that (unless one uses only the relatively few ambiguously worded scriptures which are grammatically capable of more than one honest interpretation) Jesus and God are so often and so clearly shown to be two separate persons: John 17:3; Acts 7:55, 56; Rev. 7:10; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; 1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rev. 1:1; Acts 2:33, 34; Acts 5:30, 31 (compare Gal. 1:1 and Eph. 1:17, 20); John 20:17; John 1:18; Ro. 8:34; Heb. 10:12; and many more!

     But the Father and God are never clearly shown as two separate persons (as Jesus and God so often are).  For example, we never see the Father standing beside God - e.g. Acts 7:55, 56.  The only honest reason for the above conditions is that the Father and Jesus are not both equally God, but that God is  one person only, and that one person is the Father (who alone is Jehovah)  - John 17:1, 3; Jn. 6:27.  Hence, "God the Father" is a common term in the Scriptures, whereas "God the Son" and "God the Holy Spirit" are never found anywhere in the entire Bible!

10.        Wallace lists 46 "Sharp's Constructions" with participles (instead of nouns) and 6 with adjectives (instead of nouns) - see listing in this Appendix.  These are improperly used as examples by Wallace.  This is because of a common usage of definite articles (and other adjectives) in New Testament Greek.  

Marshall, in his The New Testament Greek Primer, 1962, p. 26, states:  "adjectives and article as nouns - 55.  A common mode of expression is that of an adjective being used without a noun expressed; the latter is understood ....  56.  The def[inite] art[icle] may also be used alone."   (Also see p. xxxv in The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1980, by trinitarian NT Greek expert Dr. Alfred Marshall.) 

     In other words, the singular article standing alone needs a singular noun to be supplied by the reader.  And when we look at Wallace's list of participles and adjectives, we can see that this is invariably the case for the examples he has chosen.  That is, in Wallace's examples, a definite article preceding the first participle (or adjective) merely indicates an understood noun must be supplied by the reader.  It does not mean the first participle is taking the article and, therefore, according to Sharp's "rule" is identical with the second participle which doesn't "take" the article!  What it really means is that the single understood noun is doing the two separate, different participles.

     For example, 2 Thess. 2:4 (one of Wallace's participle examples) says in the Greek:  "The lying-against and lifting-up-himself-over upon everyone..."  The singular definite article is not meant to be applied to the first participle ("lying-against"), but, obviously, (check various Bible translations) is to be used with a single understood noun which is "doing" both participles:  "the [`one' or `man'] opposing and exalting himself ...."  There is only one (understood) noun and the singular definite article goes with that single noun only!  (If we do not supply the understood noun, we would have:  "the opposing and exalting."  We would then have two different and separate items that are certainly not "identical," and Sharp's "rule" collapses anyway!)

     If we were to examine similar constructions that use a plural definite article, we would be in a position to give a fair test to the "absoluteness" of  Sharp's rule.  You see, if a singular definite article is used for an understood noun, then we have no choice but to supply only one singular noun to do both participles.  So if a person selects only those constructions with one singular article, he has "stacked the deck" - a completely one-sided "examination" in which the results cannot possibly go against the "rule" he wants to prove.

     But if we allow plural definite articles in the same constructions, it could be honestly interpreted in two ways:  "The (ones) running and laughing," for example, could mean a single group that is doing both activities OR it could mean one group is running and another is laughing.

     So, although it still is not the equivalent of examining two nouns in a "Sharp's construction," it is still less improper to examine a plural article preceding two participles.  Compare and analyze Matt. 21:12 and Mark 11:15.  Those "buying" are certainly not the same ones "selling" even though Matthew uses a "Sharp's construction"!  The parallel account by Mark shows that such article placement is merely a matter of  style (rather than meaning) since he says the same thing without using a "Sharp's construction" (compare the article/noun usage of the parallel accounts of Mark 12:26 ["Sharp's construction"] and Matt. 22:32 [non-Sharp's construction]).

     As for the 6 Sharp's constructions with "substantival adjectives" which Wallace puts in his "exhaustive list," we can quickly see that he is applying the same inappropriate usage here as he did for participles.

     As we saw, "a common mode of expression is that of an adjective being used without a noun expressed; the latter [the noun] is understood ..." - Marshall.

     As an example, one might look at Col. 4:9 - "the faithful and loved brother."  "The" refers to the noun "brother" and makes it definite.  It does not refer to the two adjectives ("faithful" and "loved").  This same scripture could have been written "the faithful and loved" in NT Greek, and it still would have been understood by the reader as "the faithful and loved brother.

     Therefore, ALL Wallace's examples here - except for two (Philemon 1 and 1 Peter 4:18) which have an adjective and a noun (and Rev. 3:14, which does not have a Sharp's construction in the Westcott-Hort text I examined) - are to be understood in the same manner as his first example: Acts 3:14 - "The holy and righteous (one)".  So we have, in effect, two adjectives and one definite article which goes with the one understood noun!  This cannot be a proper example of Sharp's "rule" which demands two nouns (whether written or understood)!  Wallace has "stacked the deck" like he did with his participle examples. 

     Let's also examine Wallace's other two "adjective" examples: 

    (1) Philemon 1 - "the loved (one) and fellow worker  of  us" or "the loved and fellow worker  of  us.  Either we have two nouns ("one" is understood and "worker" is written) or we have only one noun ("worker") and "the" goes with it alone.  If we have only the one noun, then it simply cannot be a Sharp's construction!  If we have  two nouns (one understood), then it may really be a Sharp's construction.  However, in either case, we still have it as a part of a "prepositional" construction (see pp. 4, 5).

     (2)  1 Peter 4:18 - "the but godless [man] and sinner."  Here we have only one adjective and one noun.  There should obviously be an understood noun (probably "man") with the adjective such as given above.  Therefore, we do have a  Sharp's construction here with the first (understood) noun having the article and the second noun not having an article.

     The significant thing about this example is that, not only is it the only "adjective" example which really qualifies as a proper Sharp's construction (and, in fact, one of the very few proper examples of any kind that Wallace provides), but it is, in reality, referring to two separate persons: "the godless man" and "the sinner"!  (certainly not all sinners are godless.  King David, for example, sinned but certainly was not "godless"!)  The separation of these two is clearly shown in many trinitarian translations of 1 Peter 4:18 : NRSV ("the ungodly and the sinners"); NAB (the godless and the sinner"); JB, NJB ("to the wicked and to sinners");  KJV, NIV ("the ungodly and the sinner");  NASB ("the godless man and the sinner"); Phillips ("the wicked and the sinner"); etc.  It is equally clear in the translations of Prov. 11:31 (which is being quoted at 1 Peter 4:18) in most trinitarian Bibles:  "The ungodly and the sinner" – Septuagint (Zondervan, 1980); "the wicked and the sinner" – KJV; NKJV; NASB; MLB; RSV; NRSV; REB; NAB; NJB; NIV; "the wicked man and the sinner" – NEB.

It is significant that there is not an identical wording in the original Greek here at 1 Peter and Prov. 11:31 in the ancient Septuagint.  Peter is using his own word style to express the precise meaning of Prov. 11:31.

     In light of this, 1 Peter 4:18 is an excellent example of a proper Sharp's construction (even Wallace acknowledges it as such) which shows Sharp's Rule does not always work!

11.        Wallace doesn't dare allow the use of personal names because it's a no-win situation for him.  The very nature of a personal name is such that it is referring to only one, single individual!  Therefore, if we found personal names in Sharp's constructions, we would know they couldn't possibly be intended to be used as Sharp's rule insists.  Unfortunately for Sharp (and Wallace, et al.) personal names are commonly found in Sharp's constructions (e.g., Matt. 7:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10; Acts 15:22; etc.).  Fortunately for Sharp (and Wallace) personal names take the article irregularly and, therefore, are not good examples for proving (or disproving) a rule which is based on article usage.  This is the one exception by Wallace that has some justification (the exceptions of plural nouns and non-personal nouns, however, have no honest justification).  Notice the following examples from the writings of the NT writer who is acknowledged as having the best knowledge of NT Greek (Luke):

Acts 3:3 "having seen _Peter and _John" (no articles)
Acts 3:11 "holding fast ... the Peter and the John" (both articles)
Acts 4:13 "beholding the outspokenness of the Peter and _John" (Sharp's const.)
Acts 4:19 "But the Peter and _John" (Sharp's construction)

     So in the writings of Luke (who knew the NT Greek language better than any other Bible writer) we find either that Peter was the same person as John or  that Luke had no knowledge of Sharp's Rule (or anything similar)!! 

     If the NT writers had really been aware of anything even remotely like such a rule (even if it, somehow, excluded personal names), it is impossible to believe that they would have ever used such a construction with two personal names (as above).  It would have sent a strongly contradictory message to their readers - a strongly contradictory message that could have been easily and logically avoided by merely using one of many other constructions that would have exactly the same meaning.  (For example, instead of using a "Sharp's construction" they could have easily used the article with both names - Heb 11:20 - or both names without articles - Ro 16:3.)  If "Sharp's" Rule had really existed in the days of the NT writers, it would have been idiotic to use the construction which proved the two nouns are describing only one person when the names clearly belong to completely separate individuals!  

     Yes, in spite of any potential article ambiguity, it is obvious that the inspired Bible writers would not have chosen to use "Sharp's constructions" for personal names if "Sharp's Rule" were really valid.  Therefore, such examples as listed above show that the "rule" was completely unknown by the inspired Bible writers! 

12.        Moule, p. 110, sees no valid reason for excluding plural examples.  He lists an example using plural nouns, Eph. 2:20, as "Another instance of the same problem [whether to interpret it as two separate nouns or united]." 

     Wallace apparently realizes that there is absolutely no proper justification for rejecting plurals as evidence for (or against) Sharp's rule (although he also realizes that including them all would destroy any value the rule might have as trinitarian evidence).  He therefore devotes 1/3 (pp. 104-108) of his 12-page article to an attempt to justify most plurals as being "influenced" to some extent by Sharp's rule.  Although he is unable to do so for a significant number of plural nouns, he has, nevertheless, attempted to "explain" the connection of some separate plural nouns by "Sharp's constructions" as being "more or less united for  some reason" (p. 105) or, similarly, "the first group is a  sub-set of the second group" (p. 106).

     Obviously, whenever a writer chooses to connect two or more nouns with a copulative "and" (whether in a "Sharp's construction" or not), he is usually intending some kind of common relationship and has "more or less united" them "for some reason"!

     For example, if I write about the rabbits, robins, deer, snails, and beetles attacking my garden, I have "more or less united" them as being attackers of my garden.  They are "united" in no other sense and for no other reason!

     But Wallace uses this obvious and necessary "union" as his basis for implying that  "Sharp's rule" is responsible for "uniting" such groups. 

     Would that mean that the very distinct, separate groups, "the elders, and chief priests, and scribes" are "more or less united for some reason" by Sharp's rule at Luke 9:22 but are not "more or less united for some reason" in the parallel account of Mark 8:31 which does not use a Sharp's construction?  Obviously both accounts are noting some "unity" between the distinctly different groups because they are joined together for some reason by the writers' use of the copulative "and" and not because of the use or non-use of any Sharp's construction!  (Also compare the parallel accounts of Matt. 26:47/Mark 14:43 and Matt. 27:1/Mark 15:1.)

     Similarly, we should take note of Luke's use of "the apostles and the older men" making the great decision at Jerusalem at Acts 15:22, 23.  Then compare Acts 16:4 where Luke speaks of the very same group as "the apostles and older men" (as in "Sharp's rule")!  Obviously Luke did not intend for us to consider these men as "more or less united" at Acts 16:4 and not "united" at Acts 15:22, 23.  Clearly he intends the very same meaning whether it's in a "Sharp's construction" or not!  The article choice is merely a matter of writing style!

     Wallace is forced to admit that the majority of plural Sharp's constructions do not show an exact equality between those plural nouns.  And, of the minority of plural Sharp's constructions in which he claims both entities actually do "refer to the same group," he is forced to admit that "participles almost exclusively contribute to this semantic category."  (The only such example actually containing nouns that Wallace could find was Luke 1:2 which is a questionable example at best - the plural definite article probably referring to an understood noun:  "the (ones) who" or "those who" and not to be applied to "eyewitnesses" - see NIV, RSV, JB, etc.) 

     But, as we have already seen in footnote #10 above, participles (and adjectives) are frequently unacceptable as examples of Sharp's constructions since the noun frequently is understood as one single noun (Sharp's constructions properly require two or more nouns.)
     This leaves Wallace with no proper examples (or only one very questionable example at best) of plural nouns in Sharp's constructions actually referring to the same group!

     Some examples of plural Sharp's constructions are: John 7:45 (compare John 7:32 and John 18:3); Matt. 9:11 (compare Matt. 9:10 and Luke 5:29, 30); Acts 9:15 (compare this with 1 Tim. 5:21 - "in sight of ...").

     Even if we were to accept the specious reasoning that Sharp's constructions may make nouns "more or less united for some reason," we can see that the "Jesus must be absolutely equal to God" evidence collapses.  If we can apply Wallace's qualifications for plural nouns (and non-personal nouns) to singular nouns (and, of course, there is no valid reason why plural and/or impersonal nouns should be treated any differently from singular personal nouns), we will come up with the concept that Jesus and God were "more or less united for some reason" at the 4 verses in question.

     Most objective observers could probably tell you in what way God and Jesus are "more or less united" in these 4 scriptures.  For example, there is no doubt of the great righteousness of both God and his Son (whom he appointed king over us).  It would not be inappropriate to mention our great debt to (1) the righteousness of God, and (2) the righteousness of God's representative and mediator, Jesus Christ - 2 Peter 1:1.  Remember, we can write of the destruction (to our garden only) by both the neighbor's dog and mailman Smith (notice how all 4 Sharp's trinity "proofs" are directly connected to a personal name - "Jesus"), but we are implying no more equality than that they have both been destructive (in differing degrees) to our garden! 

     Another, but similar, attempt by Wallace to justify a Sharp's construction "influence" upon plural nouns is his explanation that "the first group is a sub-set of the second."  To show this alleged influence of a Sharp's construction Wallace uses Matthew 9:11 as an example.  This verse uses a Sharp's construction ("the tax-collectors and sinners") so Wallace can state:  "Obviously not all sinners were tax-collectors, but all tax-collectors were viewed as `sinners' by the Jews in the sense that their very occupation was sinful" (p. 107).

     Here, then, Wallace is showing us that a Sharp's construction has a strong "uniting" influence on these two groups.  It may not make them absolutely equal, but they are shown to be very closely related, he implies.

     But, if a Sharp's construction indicates this "uniting" influence at Matt. 9:11, shouldn't we expect to see the same "uniting" construction every time the Bible writers write about this incident of Jesus associating with "tax-collectors and sinners"?

     For example, in the verse immediately preceding Wallace's example, Matthew writes of these very same groups without using a Sharp's construction (Matt. 9:10)!  Did Matthew really see a strong "union" of these two groups in Matt. 9:11 and not see it in 9:10?

     Or compare the "tax-collectors and sinners" in the writing of Luke.  Wallace would want to tell us that Luke was expressing the near-unity of the two groups at Luke 5:30 (Sharp's construction) but not at Luke 7:34 (both nouns anarthrous = non-Sharp's construction) and Luke 15:1 (both nouns articular = non-Sharp's construction)!

     It is obvious that Matthew and Luke are using articles in a varying manner (including "Sharp's constructions" at times) strictly as a matter of writing  style which does not indicate any special "unifying" intent!

     Plural nouns (whether as "qualified" by Wallace or not) disprove the "absolute grammatical certainty that the rule applies to at least four passages in the New Testament which teach that our Lord is God" as Wallace claims.

13.         Wallace also improperly excludes non-personal nouns.  Again he does so without justification, for no other reason than that they will disprove the "absoluteness" of Sharp's rule.

     Again, as with plural nouns, he obviously realizes the great flaw in dismissing all these examples without justification for he devotes over 1/3 (pp. 108-111) of his 12-page article to a "study" of these non-personal constructions.  And, yet, as with plurals, he does not attempt to justify his rejection of these examples, but, strangely, attempts to show how they are really "influenced" by Sharp's rule!
     He even uses the same reasoning as with plurals: the two entities may be "more or less united for some reason," and the first entity may be "a sub-set of the second"!  Therefore, the same answers to this specious reasoning apply here as they did in footnote #12 above for plurals.

     We can also examine the following non-personal Sharp's constructions: Luke 21:12; 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Thess. 2:12; Phil. 1:25; 3:10; Rev. 1:9; 5:12; 20:10.  Sharp's rule obviously doesn't work here, and if it doesn't always work for these nouns, there is no reason why it should always work for personal nouns!  (Be sure to compare the "Sharp's" construction at Rev. 5:12 with the parallel non-"Sharp's" construction at Rev. 5:13.) 

     Also examine such non-Sharp's constructions as 1 Thess. 2:9 - "the labor of us and the toil".  In spite of "labor" and "toil" being EQUAL things, the definite article was used with both nouns!

14.       This ‘prepositional’ use includes, of course, genitive-modified nouns. Henry Alford wrote concerning Titus 2:13 in his The Greek Testament, “It [‘saviour’] is joined with [hmwn, ‘of us’ (genitive)], which is an additional reason why it may spare the article: see Luke 1:78; Ro. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3” - p. 420, The Greek Testament, by Henry Alford.

(Most often these “prepositional” constructions are actually a modifying genitive noun such as “of me” and “of God” - see the DEF study, Note #8.)

15.        Robertson makes a similar comment concerning 2 Thess. 1:12 and then makes a very significant further comment.  First he tells us that the grammar here makes it equally certain (as in Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1) that only one person (Jesus) is being described here as both God and Lord.  Then he says:

"This otherwise conclusive syntactical argument, admitted by Schmiedel, is weakened a bit by the fact that Kurios [`Lord'] is often employed as a proper name without the article, a thing not true of soter [`Savior'] in Titus 2:13 and II Peter 1:1." - Vol. 4, p. 46, Broadman Press.

 So Robertson admits that scriptures such as 2 Thess. 1:12 (and Eph. 5:5) are not really valid evidence simply because of the variable use of "the" with "Lord" in normal usage in the NT!

   However, he pretends that the use of the `prepositional' (whether the genitive soteros or other forms of soter with accompanying prepositional phrases) `Savior' is not affected in its article usage in a similar manner!  Therefore, he is saying, Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1 are conclusive proofs of Jesus being called God!!  As we have noted in study papers concerning John 1:1c (e.g. DEF, f.n. #4), genitives themselves and prepositional phrases added to other nouns often render the use (or non-use) of the definite article uncertain in the same manner as the use of proper names.

   But to be absolutely certain that it applies to such uses of "savior," why don't we simply examine some of its uses in the NT?  (Do you really think this is beyond the capabilities of trinitarian NT Greek expert Robertson?):

Eph. 5:23 - "he is the saviour of the body" (KJV) - soter without the article ("the").
1 Tim. 1:1 - "of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus" (NIV) - soteros without the article.
1 Tim 4:10 - "God who is the Savior of all men" (NIV) - soter without the article.
1 Jn 4:14 - "sent his Son to be the Savior of the world" (NIV) - soter without the article.
Jude :25 - "to the only God our Savior" (NIV) - soter without the article.

   So we can see that Robertson's endorsement of the "conclusive" trinitarian proof of 2 Pet. 1:1 and Titus 2:13 because of the use of "savior" without the definite article is completely false!  Like any other "prepositional" use of a noun the prepositional "Savior" often is used without the definite article (whether in a "Sharp's Construction" or not)!!

   Therefore, honestly, even 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2 :13 are completely invalid as scriptural evidence for the deity of Jesus!

16.        Let's examine some other instances of the nouns used in the 4 "Trinity-proof" examples. 

     (1) The critical part of the "Trinity-proof" of 1 Tim. 5:21 is "Christ Jesus."  If this part of the verse in question had the definite article with it, it would no longer be in a "Sharp's construction" and there would be no "grammatical" argument for trinitarians.  But, since this part has no definite article ("in sight of the God and of Christ Jesus"), some trinitarians tell us it refers to the same person as the first half of the statement ("the God").

     But notice that Paul (and other NT writers) most often used "Christ Jesus" without the definite article!

         As an example, 1 Tim. 4:6 says in the NT Greek: "you will be servant of Christ Jesus."  This is rendered: "you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus" - RSV.  We see here, as in a majority of uses by Paul, that "Christ Jesus" does not need the article in the first place, so to conclude that its proper absence in a "Sharp's construction" shows some special significance is specious and misleading! 

     Now let's also examine 1 Tim. 6:13.  In the NT Greek it says: "in sight of the God the (one) generating alive the all (things) and of Christ Jesus the (one) having borne witness upon Pontius Pilate."  This is rendered: "before God who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus who gave a fearless testimony before Pontius Pilate" - LB.

     Notice that, as usual, "Christ Jesus" does not have the article with it.  But also notice that, even though it is in a "sharp's construction," context clearly shows Paul is considering these as two completely separate individuals!  (Compare KJV.) 

   In fact, the phrase `Jesus Christ' (and `Christ Jesus') should be carefully analyzed in each of the 5 letters which contain the trinitarian (Sharp's Rule) `proof' that Jesus is God: Ephesians; 2 Thessalonians; 1 Timothy; Titus; and 2 Peter.

   In Ephesians `Christ Jesus'/`Jesus Christ' is used 18 times, and in 16 of these it is without the definite article. 16/18 = 89% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article!

   In 2 Thessalonians `Jesus Christ' is used 9 times and every one of them is without the article.  9/9 = 100% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article!

   In 1 Timothy there are 14 uses of `Christ Jesus'/`Jesus Christ' and every one of them is without the article.  14/14 = 100% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article! 

   In Titus there are 4 uses of `Jesus Christ'/`Christ Jesus' and every one of them is without the article.  4/4 = 100% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article! 

   In 2 Peter there are 8 uses of `Jesus Christ' and every one of them is without the article.  8/8 = 100% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article! 

   So in all of these inspired letters by Paul and Peter there are 51 times (out of a total of 53) where the phrase "Jesus Christ"/"Christ Jesus" is used without a definite article.  51/53 = 96% of the time that the phrase is used without a definite article! 

  For anyone to pretend to find any great significance in the fact that "Christ Jesus" is without an article when it follows an articular noun is truly amazing.  It would be much more surprising to actually find a few examples where it had the article with it!  

     (2) The critical part of the "trinity-proof" of 2 Thess. 1:12 is "Lord Jesus Christ."  Since this part has no definite article in the NT Greek, some trinitarians tell us it must refer to the same person as the first half of the statement ("the God of us").  But notice that Paul (and other NT writers) often used "Lord Jesus Christ" WITHOUT the article.  Some examples are Ro. 1:7 ("peace from God Father of us and of Lord Jesus Christ"); 2 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 1:2; Col. 3:17; 2 Thess. 1:1; 1:2; 3:12; Philemon :3; James 1:1.

     Philippians 3:20 in the NT Greek says: "also Savior we are eagerly awaiting Lord Jesus Christ," and this is rendered in the King James Version as: "also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."   Since "the Lord Jesus Christ" was often written without the article, it should come as no surprise that occasionally (in accordance with the law of averages) a "Sharp's Rule" construction would sometimes occur and would be no more meaningful to the writer than any other use of "the Lord Jesus Christ" with or without the article

     (3) The critical part of the "trinity-proof" of Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 is "Savior."  Since this part has no definite article, some trinitarians tell us it must refer to the same person as the first half of the statement ("the God").  But notice again that Paul (and other NT writers) also used "Savior" without the article.  Examples are: Phil. 3:20 (which we also examined above in #2); 1 John 4:14 (which says "The Father has sent off the Son Savior of the world" in the NT Greek and which the KJV renders as "the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.")

     Since "Savior" was also written without the article even when understood to be "The Savior," it should come as no surprise that occasionally (in accordance with the law of averages) a "Sharp's Rule" construction would sometimes occur and would be no more meaningful to the writer than any other use of "the Savior" with or without the article.

     So we can see that even if we disregard the grammatical reasons for such usage, the NT writers frequently did use the critical terms found in the 4 "Sharp's Rule" trinity examples both with and without the article (whether in a "Sharp's construction" or not)!  This alone makes "Sharp's Rule" absolutely worthless.

17.    But the Hebrew text reads `fear Yahweh son-of-me and king.'  `Yahweh' does not have `the' with it - see The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Vol. 4, Zondervan, 1984.  Therefore, the Septuagint rendering of "fear the god, son, and _king ...." is obviously not a fault of  the original Septuagint translator being "overly servile to the Hebrew text, translating into Greek ... with almost slavish literalism" as Wallace wants us to believe!  The Septuagint translator used "the god" in place of "Yahweh" (without `the') and used the noun of address `son' in place of `son of me' of the original Hebrew.  There was absolutely no "translational" reason to use a "Sharp's" construction in the Greek.  

Obviously, if the translator were aware of any such rule or understanding like Sharp's Rule, he would not have translated this in such a way as to "show" that the king actually was the same person as Jehovah! The fact that the translator did use it shows that there was no "Sharp's Rule" or any equivalent known at the time!  And since the copyists who made copies of the Septuagint (which the modern Septuagint is based upon) actually "corrected" anything they believed to be improper up to and during the time these copies were made, we cannot believe that the Greek-speaking copyists of the first four centuries A.D. knew of anything comparable to "Sharp's Rule," either!


Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian `proof' being examined in this paper.  The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS.  They truly believe it is false, even dishonest.  Therefore some of the following information, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates).  Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. - RDB

(From the RDB Files)

                Granville Sharp's Rule and 2 Peter 1:1, Titus 2:13

      In an attempt to prove the trinity doctrine, Granville Sharp made up a rule in 1798.  It is often called "Sharp's Rule" by trinitarians.  It says, in effect, that when two or more words (nouns) are joined by the word "and" they all refer to the same person if the word "the" (the article) comes before the first noun and not before the other noun(s): "THE  king  AND  _master of the castle."

     Sharp invented this rule after he noticed this particular construction (sometimes called a "Sharp's construction") was used with "God" and "Christ" in 5 places in the NT.   IF he could convince others that his "rule" was true, then they would think there was finally (after 1400 years of a "trinity" tradition) absolute grammatical Bible proof that God and Jesus are the same "person"!

The 5 "proofs" of Jesus' Godhood according to Sharp are (in the literal wording of the original manuscripts): 

(a) Titus 2:13: “of the   great    God    and   savior    of us    Christ   Jesus”
                             τοῦ      μεγάλου   θεοῦ     καὶ     σωτῆρος  ἡμῶν   Χριστοῦ  Ἰησοῦ,

(b) 2 Pet. 1:1: “righteousness  of the God   of us   and   savior     Jesus Christ”
                              δικαιοσύνῃ          τοῦ       θεοῦ   ἡμῶν     καὶ    σωτῆρος  Ἰησοῦ  Χριστοῦ

(c) 2 Thess. 1:12:“the  grace of the God  of us   and      Lord   Jesus   Christ”
                                   τὴν    χάριν   τοῦ     θεοῦ   ἡμῶν     καὶ        κυρίου  Ἰησοῦ  Χριστοῦ     


(d) 1 Tim. 5:21: “in sight  of the  God   and Christ    Jesus and the   chosen   angels”
                                ἐνώπιον       τοῦ      θεοῦ     καὶ   Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ  καὶ    τῶν  ἐκλεκτῶν  ἀγγέλων

(e) Eph. 5:5: “   the   kingdom   of the   Christ   and   God”
                               ἐν    τῇ     βασιλείᾳ       τοῦ       Χριστοῦ    καὶ     θεοῦ

Trinitarian Daniel B. Wallace in his Selected Notes on the Syntax of New Testament Greek, 3rd ed., 1981, p. 100, quotes "Granville Sharp's Rule":  

"When the copulative kai [`and'] 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 [ho], 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..."

     Staunch trinitarian defender Prof. A. Bowser quotes Sharp's Rule somewhat more simply:

     "When the copulative `and' connects two nouns of the same case, if the article precedes the first noun and is not repeated before the second noun, the latter always refers to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun."[1] 

Since the first noun ("God" in the first four scriptures) has the article ("the") with it and the following noun ("savior" in the first two scriptures) does not have the article ("the"), then (according to Sharp) God and Christ (the savior, etc.) are the same person

At any rate, Wallace and Bowser both claim that this "Rule" (which "gave rise to a controversy" as soon as it was proposed - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 466, v. 20, 1960) proves that Jesus is equally God with the Father.  As Wallace puts it, Sharp's Rule when applied to Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 (both of which he "analyzes" in some detail); and  2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Tim. 5:21 (both of which he merely lists and does not examine) teaches Jesus is God:

     "We have absolute grammatical certainty that the rule applies to at least four passages in the New Testament which teach that our Lord Jesus is God. ....  Sharing this material ... can give ... a solid defense `from the Greek' against troublesome cults." - p. 104.  And, "in summary, since the central doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is God, we can be encouraged that in four passages an absolute rule of Greek grammar absolutely asserts that Jesus Christ is Lord of lords, God in the flesh." - p. 111, Wallace, Selected Notes.  (Cf. The NIV Study Bible f.n.  for 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13.  Also see Zondervan's  So Many Versions?, p.100, 1983 ed.)

     It might be noteworthy to some that this essential information concerning the knowledge of God and of Jesus (John 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8) can be "absolutely" ascertained grammatically in only four places in the entire Bible by using a "controversial" rule that even the best trinitarian New Testament scholars disavow!

     Yes, probably the most telling blow against this 200-year-old controversial rule is the rejection of it by so many of the most respected trinitarian Bible language experts!  Even Wallace himself (who desperately tries for some kind of "absolute" scriptural proof for a trinity idea) complains that

"so many grammarians and exegetes objected to the validity of Granville Sharp's Rule with reference to texts dealing with the Deity of Christ"! 

He specifically mentions "the great Greek grammarian," G. B. Winer (trinitarian) and "one of the greatest grammarians of this century," J. H. Moulton[2]  (trinitarian) as rejecting this "rule"!

     I have also seen that the Roman Catholic scholar Karl Rahner[3]   rejects this rule as do C. F. D. Moule[4]  and Henry Alford.[5]   Even famed trinitarian scholar Dr. James Moffatt ("probably the greatest biblical scholar of our day") showed his rejection of the "absoluteness" of this rule by his rendering of Titus 2:13.[6]  

     In fact, even very trinitarian Daniel B. Wallace complains that the common translation of Titus 2:13 as found in the KJV ("the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ") treats "`God' and `Savior' separately"! - Compare 2 Peter 1:1, 2 KJV).  The same separation can be seen in the ASV (Titus 2:13), the Douay Version, and the NEB (footnote).

In vol. 5, p. 257 the respected The Expositor's Greek Testament says: "In the present case [Jude 1:4], however, the second noun (kupiov) belongs to the class of words which may stand without the article .... A similar doubtful case is found in Tit. ii. 13.... Other examples of the same kind are Eph. v. 5 ... 2 Thess. i: 12 ... 1 Tim. v. 21 (cf. 2 Tim. iv. 1) ... 2 Peter i. 1." [Except for kupiov, emphasis has been added by me.]

It is no secret to NT Grammarians that when you have more than one noun connected by "and" (kai in NT Greek) and the first noun has the article, the following nouns may or may not have the article but they can still be understood to have the article.

Moulton's Grammar of New Testament Greek says:

"(f) Repetition of Article with several nouns connected by kai

"The art. may be carried over from the first noun to the other(s)" - p. 181, Vol. 3, 1963.

We might compare Matt. 22:32 (all nouns with article) with Mark 12:26 (first article understood with following nouns).

So compare the KJV rendering of Titus 2:13 (which "treats `God' and `Savior' separately")  with that of 2 Peter 1:1,  KJV

(KJV) 2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"

Also compare:

(ASV) 2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ"

(Weymouth NT) 2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a bondservant and Apostle of Jesus Christ: To those to whom there has been allotted the same precious faith as that which is ours through the righteousness of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ."  

     Even clearer are the renderings by the trinitarian scholars who translated The New American Bible, 1970 ed. (2 Thess. 1:12; Titus 2:13); NAB, 1991 ed.  (Titus 2:13); New American Standard Bible (1 Tim. 5:21); Revised Standard Version (1 Tim. 5:21); NRSV (1 Tim. 5:21); The Jerusalem Bible (1 Tim. 5:21); NJB (1 Tim. 5:21); Today's English Version (1 Tim. 5:21); New English Bible (1 Tim. 5:21); The Living Bible (2 Thess. 1:12); Phillips (Titus 2:13); Modern Language Bible (2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Tim. 5:21); Douay Version (2 Thess. 1:12); King James II Version (2 Thess. 1:12); Good News Bible (2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Tim. 5:21); The Amplified  Bible        (1 Tim. 5:21); Barclay's Daily Study Bible, 1975 (2 Thess. 1:12); New Life Version (2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Tim. 5:21); Easy-to-Read Version(1 Tim. 5:21).

We can find numerous translations of Titus 2:13 (probably the most-used scripture for this "proof") which render it as referring to two persons:

Titus 2:13 
Also notice the following Bible translations:

13 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. - CJB

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glory of that mighty God, and of our Savior Jesus Christ. - GNV

And while we live this life we hope and wait for the glorious denouement of the Great God and of Jesus Christ our saviour. - Phillips

13 We are to be looking for the great hope and the coming of our great God and the One Who saves, Christ Jesus. - NLV

13 lokynge for that blessed hope and appearynge of the glory of ye greate God and of oure Sauioure Iesu Christ - Coverdale

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glorie of that mightie God, and of our Sauiour Iesus Christ, - Geneva

13 abidinge the blessid hope and the comyng of the glorie of the greet God, and of oure sauyour Jhesu Crist; - Wycliffe

13 lokinge for that blessed hope and glorious apperenge of ye myghty god and of oure savioure Iesu Christ - Tyndale

13 in expectation of that desirable happiness, the glorious appearance of the supreme God, and of our saviour Jesus Christ, - Mace

13 awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Saviour Christ Jesus, - Moffatt

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

13 looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ; - Noyes

13 waiting for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus, - Riverside

13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, - Sawyer

(KJV) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious [F9] appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Note: ' 
F9  glorious...: Gr. the appearance of the glory of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ' -  


(New American Bible - 1970) as we await our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus

(New American Bible - 1991) as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ

(A New Translation in Plain English - Charles K. Williams) while we wait for the blessed thing we hope for, the appearing oit the glory of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ

(CEV) We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. [A]
 A . Titus 2:13 the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ: Or "the glorious return of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" or "the return of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of our great God and Savior."

According to An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, by C. F. D. Moule, Cambridge, England, 1971, p. 109, at Titus 2:13, the sense "of the Great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ ... is possible in [New Testament] Greek even without the repetition [of the definite article before the second noun]."

Famed British NT scholar and trinitarian clergyman Henry Alford wrote: "I would submit that [a translation which clearly differentiates God from Christ at Titus 2:13] satisfies all the grammatical requirements of the sentence: that it is both structurally and contextually more probable, and more agreeable to the Apostle’s [Paul’s] way of writing." - The Greek Testament, p. 421, Vol. 3.

And, finally (I think) concerning Titus 2:13, the steadfastly trinitarian The Expositor's Greek Testament (vol. 4, p. 195) says specifically of Titus 2:13:

"On the whole, then, we decide in favour of the R.V.m. in the rendering of this passage, appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The grammatical argument - [Sharp's Rule] - 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 σωτὴρ ['savior'] in I Tim. i. I, iv. 10 [1:1; 4:10]." tells us:

"The Sahidic is probably the earliest of the [Coptic] translations, and also has the greatest textual value. It came into existence no later than the third century, since a copy of 1 Peter exists in a manuscript from about the end of that century."   

20th century Coptic scholar and New Testament translator George W. Horner gives a date closer to 188 CE, based on "the internal character of the Sahidic [version]," which, he says, "supplies confirmation of a date earlier than the third century."

Coptic scholar C. S. Malan said, "The Sahidic Version was made when Greek was a living language even in Egypt, possibly in the second century."

The Coptic Church gives the date of 200 A.D.

The Sahidic Coptic version is likely as old, and as valuable, as the more well-known Old Italian, Vulgate, and Syriac versions.

And, tells us:

Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. These verses are said in some circles to represent the "Granville Sharp Rule" that two nouns connected by kai (Greek, "and") and only the first noun has the definite article, it denotes unity or equality. Thus, in these verses, "the God and Savior Jesus Christ," applies to Christ the titles of both God and Savior. Was this the understanding of the Sahidic Coptic translators?

No. At Titus 2:13 the Sahidic Coptic text reads noute. mn penswthr ihsous pecristos, "God, and our Savior Jesus Christ." Thus, two Persons are in view, not one and the same. The Coptic translators did not know of a "Granville Sharp Rule."

And as for 2 Peter 1:1, the Coptic translators apparently had before them another Greek text, which read "Lord" instead of "God": "Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior." (For example, "Lord" instead of "God" is found in the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century, and also the Harclean Syriac version.)

     And notice Eph. 5:5 - one of the examples Sharp himself chose to "prove" Christ's deity which Wallace completely ignores.  Most trinitarian Bibles translate this example of Sharp's Construction: "in the kingdom of Christ and of God" - KJV; NRSV;  RSV;  NIV;  NEB;  REB;  NAB;  Douay;  MLB; LB;  GNB;  TEV;  The Amplified Bible; Third Millenium Bible; New Living Translation; New Century Version; God's Word;  Holman Christian Standard Bible; Wesley's New Testament;  Phillips; and the Webster Bible.  This is not the way it would be translated if the two descriptions were of the same person!  (At the very least it would be rendered more literally as "the kingdom of the Christ and God.")  Instead it clearly shows two persons!

Even trinitarian scholar Murray J. Harris notes, in discussing Eph. 5:5, that “It is highly improbable that Paul would introduce a profound, unqualified doctrinal affirmation (Christ is theos) in an incidental manner [such as here], in a context where the assertion is not crucial to the flow of argument.” - p. 262, Jesus as God, Baker Book House, 1992.

    Also, 1 Tim. 6:13 is translated in trinitarian Bibles as: "before (in the sight or presence of) God ... and before Christ Jesus...."  Although Sharp's Rule insists that this should be translated to show that it is speaking of the same person, it obviously is not!  Obviously, most trinitarian grammar experts simply do not believe Sharp's Rule is a valid absolute rule!

     Notice that Wallace's 4 examples also completely ignore  2 Tim. 4:1 even though it's identical to 1 Tim. 5:21 and should, therefore, be a  5th (or 7th)"absolute proof."  Maybe it's because so many trinitarian Bibles translate it to show a clear separation between God and Jesus in spite of "Sharp's Rule": ASV; NIV;  JB;  NJB; NEB;  NASB;  RSV; NRSV; REB; NAB (`70 & `91); Living Bible; GNB; MLB; Moffatt; Phillips; etc.

     Why were these examples left out of Wallace's "Exhaustive" lists of examples?  Probably for the same reason that he, like Bowser, quotes and examines ONLY 2 (Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1) and virtually ignores 2 Thess. 1:12[7]    and 1 Tim. 5:21: careful examination and com- parison of most trinitarian translations show them to be referring to 2 separate persons in these verses in contradiction of "Sharp's Rule"!

     If this "rule" can be ignored at these places in all these trinitarian Bibles, it cannot be considered an "absolute" (infallible) rule!  And if it's not an absolute  rule, it cannot be used as honest proof of anything!  Also, if this rule were really "absolute," not only must every Sharp's construction refer to a  single person, but every instance of a single person having two titles or descriptions joined by "and" must be in a "Sharp's construction"!  But many times God and Christ have titles joined by "and" without a "Sharp's construction" being used! - James 1:1; 1 Thess. 3:11; 1 Tim. 1:1; Rev. 14:4.  And many times in the scriptures we find personal nouns for the same individual connected by "and" even though they are not in a "Sharp's construction": Acts 2:36; 5:31; 7:35; 1 Tim. 1:13; 2 Tim. 1:11; Heb. 11:10; 2 Peter 1:1 (`slave and apostle'); Rev. 1:4, 5; 1:17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13; and many more.

 In fact we even find a statement written with "Sharp's Rule" by one inspired Bible writer and a parallel statement written without "Sharp's Rule" by another inspired Bible writer![8]  

     Even a doctrinal/grammatical examination should convince trinitarians that Sharp's Rule cannot prove Jesus' deity.  It is the "orthodox" understanding that, whereas there is only one God, that God is composed of three persons.  Therefore "God" is singular as an entity but plural in persons!!

     This is somewhat like saying there is one Senate which is a singular entity but plural in persons.  We cannot say that the single person, Senator Smith, is the Senate!  Likewise, if we are trinitarians, we should not say that Jesus is the only true God!  There is only one God, trinitarians say, but that God is composed of three  persons!  (But analyze John 17:1, 3 !!)

     Wallace himself, in discussing John 1:1 (p. 96), tells us that the attempt by some trinitarians to say that Jesus (in the last part of John 1:1) is the same  person as "the God" (in the first part of John 1:1) is "Sabellianism or modalism—in other words, heresy!"  And, "Since there are 3 Persons in the Trinity, it is not proper to conceive of `God' as being summed up by `the Word' [Jesus]."

     Now notice that each of the 4 "proofs" is interpreted by Wallace himself as proving that "the God" is the same person as Jesus Christ!  This is certainly a major contradiction!

     We should also be aware that Wallace rejects plural personal nouns from his list of "Sharp's constructions" (since plural nouns often disprove the "absolute" validity of this "rule").  And yet, "The God" (according to trinitarians) is plural in persons!  (Some trinitarians even try to claim that the Old Testament Hebrew word for "God," since it is plural - elohim - is proof of the "plurality of persons" who make up the single God.  In reality, of course, it's the well-known Hebrew "plural of excellence."  -  see the ELOHIM study.)

     Since Wallace himself insists (although improperly) that personal nouns that are plural must not be used as proper examples, the use of the "plural" (in persons, according to trinitarians) "The God" in each of the 4 Sharp's "proofs" would invalidate the "rule" before we even start!

     Jehovah's Witnesses, however, know that the only true God is really only one person: Jehovah, the  Father.  This is clearly shown throughout the Old and New Testaments (without the necessity of attempting to formulate a special grammatical "rule" to "prove" it[9]).  It's also significant that (as in nearly all "proofs" of the trinity doctrine) the Holy Spirit is never included in the "proofs" of Sharp's Rule.  Is that any way to show the respect, honor, and worship that are required by the only true God whom we must  know (John 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8): ignoring completely the third "person" who, allegedly, is "equally God with the Father and Son"?

     But even if we examine this "rule" in a strictly grammatical sense we find fatal flaws.

     It is relatively rare that singular titles are used in a copulative pair or series (other than for God and Jesus who have many titles and are frequently mentioned together because of their close relationship: Father/Son, Master/Servant, etc.).  Therefore, the majority of all examples for singular persons who are actually found in "Sharp's constructions" use personal names.  (The bulk of Wallace's "examples" are not even nouns at all but participles which are improperly used as examples by him.)[10]

     When we look for other examples of other individuals (besides those of God and Jesus) where titles or common nouns alone are used in Wallace's "exhaustive list for the NT" (see Appendix for Wallace's lists of "Sharp's constructions"), we end up with only  6  valid examples (pp. 102-103).  If we include plural constructions - which obviously would use titles and common nouns much more frequently (or if we use personal names[11] ) - we can then find enough examples to be meaningful and statistically significant, but, unfortunately for Sharp's rule, when we do this, they show that the two persons or groups connected in such a manner do not always equal each other.[12]

     The same thing happens when non-personal nouns are used[13] (and there is no reason, grammatical or otherwise, why they should be rejected as proper examples except that they, like plural personal nouns, prove Sharp's rule is not "absolute" as Wallace claims).  Therefore, if Sharp's rule is not "absolute" (and it certainly isn't), there is no reason to insist that it works at the 4 "trinitarian" scriptures claimed by Wallace!

     In addition to the extreme sparsity of examples (far too few to be valid) for singular personal nouns which Wallace allows (since he improperly rejects plurals and non-personal nouns) there is the problem
  of “prepositional” constructions (“the house of God;” “of the man of God”) which include the noun being modified by a genitive or a dative.

As we discovered in our detailed investigation in the study papers of John 1:1 (E.g. the DEF study), it is just as proper to reject examples of "prepositional" constructions[14]  as it is to reject examples of personal names since both cause irregular, inconsistent definite article usage in the NT Greek!  (Except for the irregular article usage, personal names would be the very best examples for Sharp's rule since nothing else is as explicitly a personal singular noun).

     Therefore, we must either include personal names as proper examples (which would absolutely destroy the validity of the "absolute" Sharp's rule - examine Matt. 17:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10; Acts 15:22; Micah 6:4 in the Septuagint), OR, more properly, we must reject all examples which include "prepositional" constructions.

     If we properly exclude "prepositional" constructions (which most often means genitives: 'of' nouns), we must necessarily exclude all of the 4 "Jesus is God" proofs: 2 Thess. 1:12 - "of the God of us and of Lord Jesus Christ;" 1 Tim. 5:21 - "in sight of the God and of Christ Jesus;" Titus 2:13 - "of the great God and of Savior OF us Christ Jesus;" 2 Peter 1:1   - "of the God of us and of Savior Jesus Christ."  (Isn't it more likely that a single article at the beginning of a series of nouns - especially nouns associated with "prepositional" constructions - can be understood to apply to each noun that follows?) 

     We can see that not only is each one of the 4 "proofs" part of a "prepositional" construction (which can cause irregular definite article usage) but each one includes the personal name of the Son (which can also cause great irregularity in article usage).

     In fact, the influence of the anarthrous (without the article) personal name is enough to make the descriptive nouns accompanying it anarthrous also.  Trinitarian NT Greek expert A. T. Robertson tells us:

"words in apposition with proper names are usually anarthrous"!  [In addition to "Jesus" he includes the titles "Lord" and "Christ" in this category]. - pp. 791, 760, 761, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research

In fact, trinitarian Robertson says:

"but the fact that kurios [`Lord'] is so often anarthrous like a proper name slightly weakens it [Sharp's Rule application].  The same remark also applies to 2 Thess. 1:12... and Eph. 5:5 ... (since theou [`of God'] often occurs without the article)." [It may only "slightly weaken it" for some trinitarians, but, in reality, it destroys any validity of such examples!] - p. 786.  Also see Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. iv, p. 46.[15]

     Moulton reaffirms Robertson's statement about words in apposition with proper names being anarthrous and specifically applies it to "Jesus" (p. 166).  He also tells us that "Christ", at least as used in Paul's and Peter's writings, functions similarly:

"The Epistles also usually omit the article with [`Christ']: it is here regarded as a proper name rather than = Messiah" - A Grammar of New Testament Greek, J. H. Moulton, Vol. III, p. 167, 1963. 

(Wallace himself admits the distinct possibility that Sharp's constructions by Paul may be invalid examples if, as some NT grammarians believe, Paul used "Christ" as a proper name.  Wallace even excluded Eph. 5:5 from his examples because of this possibility!)  So it is to be expected that the article would be missing in these particular "Trinitarian" examples whether Sharp's Rule actually works or not!  These 4 trinitarian "proofs" must be considered as invalid examples.

     And when we actually examine the NT Bible writers' use of the terms found in the 4 "Sharp's `proofs'" ("Lord," "Christ Jesus," and "Savior"), we find that, regardless of grammatical reasons, they are frequently used without the definite article even in non-Sharp's constructions!  To find them so used occasionally in a "Sharp's construction," then, is to be expected and indicates no special significance.[16]  

     Another exception used by Wallace is mentioned on p. 102.  Here he is commenting on an exception to Sharp's rule that is found in the Greek Septuagint Version at Proverbs 24:21.  In this scripture "the God and king" refer to two different persons in spite of Sharp's rule, but Wallace tells us this is merely a fault of a too literal translation of the original Hebrew into the Greek of the Septuagint! 

     Whether we accept such reasoning or not is another question.[17]  What interests me is his further qualification:  It's not surprising to see such an exception, he says,

"—especially since the two nouns `god' and `king' are  so distinct that no confusion could possibly have arisen through the omission of a second article."  [We often find the same thing in English, e.g., "the President and Vice President" in Amendment XX of the Constitution of the United States of America.]  - cf. Thayer, p. 437, #3588, III., 1., (includes "God," "Christ," etc.)

     A footnote on p.109 of C. F. D. Moule's  An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed., 1960, tells us: 

"T. F. Middleton, The Doctrine of the Greek Article, ... points out that in the idiom [`the Alexander and Phillip' in Greek] one article is manifestly sufficient, since the two names are obviously not predicated of the same person. Cf. Acts xv. 22, and ... Mark ix. 2." 

The point being (even if `Sharp's Rule' were accurate) if it is clearly known that two individuals are being spoken of, they may be described in a "Sharp's construction," anyway!

     But, as we have seen, Jesus and God are clearly separated throughout the NT (with the extremely unlikely "exceptions" of the four verses in question which are the ONLY places Wallace found an "absolute grammatical certainty" to the contrary).  An in-depth study of the history of early Christianity also shows the very first Christians (for the first 150 years at least) never confused the two.  They always considered Jesus to be separate from God.  (See the HIST study)

     Therefore, even if there were some validity to Sharp's rule, and even if they were really valid examples, it would not be surprising to see four "exceptions" in the New Testament - - especially since "the God" and "Savior Jesus Christ" are

"so distinct that no confusion could possibly have arisen through the omission of a second article."

     And, finally, isn't it more than strange that Paul, who is credited by Wallace with 3 of the 4 "absolute" Sharp's construction "proofs" that Jesus is absolutely equal to God is considered by so many trinitarian scholars as having never called Jesus "God" or "god" (theos)?

     As the highly respected (and highly trinitarian) United Bible Societies' (UBS) Greek New Testament committee explains it in a comment expressing the likelihood of a non-trinitarian interpretation of Ro. 9:5: 

"nowhere else ... does Paul ever designate [the Christ] as theos [`God' or `god'].  In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ's greatness by calling him God blessed forever [as some trinitarians wish to interpret Ro. 9:5]." - A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, UBS, 1971.

    For an honest picture of Paul's understanding of Jesus' relationship to God see: 1 Cor. 3:23; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:3; Eph. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:5; Titus 1:1.

     And even stranger, perhaps, is the fact that, even though Wallace's examples show Paul using "Sharp's rule" many times, John (who most trinitarians consider the Bible writer who most frequently and most clearly "declares Jesus' deity" and who, undeniably, is the only Gospel writer who ever actually applied the term  theos ["God" or "god"] directly to Jesus) never uses Sharp's "Rule" to show Jesus' alleged equality with god!

     And we can see John's understanding of Jesus' relationship to God at John 17:1, 3; John 20:17; Rev. 1:6 (RSV - Compare Rev. 5:9, 10); Rev. 3:12.

     There are many places where (if the trinity doctrine were really true, and if Sharp's rule really worked "absolutely") John  should have used the "Rule."  For example, see Rev. 14:4 - "the firstfruits to the God and to the Lamb."  (Compare Rev. 7:10 and examine Revelation chapters 4 and 5.)

     If Sharp's "Rule" is the only way (as even Wallace admits) that one can find even four passages which show with "absolute grammatical certainty" that "Jesus Christ is God," then the "Jesus = God" concept is actually grammatically uncertain in all of the Bible.  Certainly this would not be the case in God's inspired word if Jesus were really equally God!! - 2 Tim. 3:16-17.


1.   Prepositional constructions (including genitives) frequently do not use the article (anarthrous).  All 5 of the 'Christological' instances of Sharp's constructions (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Tim. 5:21; and Eph. 5:5) are filled with such exceptions to article usage!  It is, therefore, not unusual that so many 'Sharp's constructions' lack the second article.

2.  The use of such nouns as 'Lord,' Savior,' and 'Christ' frequently do not use the article in the Epistles regardless of sentence construction.  This, alone, is sufficienty to explain the lack of following articles in all 5 instances.

3.  The use of a personal name such as 'Jesus' (including 'Christ' in the Epistles) as an appositive also explains the lack of the articles in the first 3 examples above of the 'Christological' Sharp's constructions.

4.  The concept of 'God' and 'Christ' were so distinct in the first century that no confusion could have possibly arisen through the omission of the second article!

                          *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

     Wallace's "Exhaustive List" of Sharp's Constructions with nouns:

 1. Mark 12:26 - "The God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of ..."

 2. Jn. 20:17 - "The God of me and Father of you and God of me and ..."

 3. Ro. 15:6 - "The God and Father of the Lord of us"

 4. 1 Cor. 15:24 - "To the God and Father"

 5. 2 Cor. 1:3 (a) - "the God and Father of the Lord of us"

 6. 2 Cor. 1:3 (b) - "the Father of the mercies and God of all comfort"

 7. 2 Cor. 11:31 - "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus"

 8. Gal. 1:4 - "the will of the God and Father of us"

 9. Eph. 5:20 - "to the God and Father"

10. Eph. 6:21 - "the loved brother and faithful servant in Lord"

11. Eph. 4:20 - "to the but God and Father of us"

12. Col. 3:17 - (Not in Westcott and Hort, Nestle, or UBS text as a Sharp's construction)

13. Col. 4:17 - "the loved brother & faithful servant and fellow slave in Lord"

14. 1 Thess. 1:3 - "Of the God and Father of us"

15. 1 Thess. 3:2 - "the brother of us and servant of the God"

16. 1 Thess. 3:11 - "the God and Father of us and the Lord of us Jesus Christ"

17. 1 Thess. 3:13 - "of the God and Father of us"

18. 1 Tim. 6:15 - "the King of ... and Lord of ..."

19. James 1:27 - "beside the God and Father"

20. 1 Pet. 1:3 - "the God and Father of the Lord of us of Jesus Christ"

21. 1 Pet. 2:25 - "upon the shepherd and overseer of ..."

22. 1 Pet. 5:1 - "the fellow older man and witness of ..."

23. 2 Pet. 1:11 - "Of the Lord of us and of Savior Jesus Christ"

24. 2 Pet. 2:20 - "Of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ"

25. 2 Pet. 3:2 - "Of the Lord and Savior"

26. 2 Pet. 3:18 - "Of the Lord of us and of Savior Jesus Christ"

27. 1 Jn. 5:20 - "this is the true God and LIFE [abstract] everlasting"

28. Jude 4 - "the only master and Lord of us, Jesus Christ"

29. Rev. 1:6 - "To the God and Father of him"

30. Rev. 1:9 - "the brother of you and co-sharer in ..."

                Also Examined Separately by Wallace (pp. 102-103)

31. Eph. 1:3 - "the God and Father of ..."

32. James 3:9 - "the Lord and Father"

33. Mark 6:3 - "the son of Mary and brother of James"

34. Luke 20:37 - "the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob"

35. Phil. 2:25 - "the brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier of me"

     The above list is Wallace's "exhaustive list" of all nouns used in Sharp's constructions (except, of course, for the 4 trinitarian "proofs").

     Notice that all but James 3:9 and 1 John 5:20 are part of "prepositional" constructions (Col. 3:17 is not in a Sharp's Construction in the best trinitarian texts and refers only to the Father who is God).  1 John 5:20 violates Wallace's own rule: it has a non-personal noun ("life")!  "Life" is also abstract (see study on Wallace's "Qualitative" Rule for John 1:1).

    We must also ask ourselves: Why were 1 Tim. 6:13 and 2 Tim. 4:1 left out of this "exhaustive list" by Wallace? - See pages 2-3 above .

       Wallace's "Exhaustive List" of Sharp's Constructions (participles)

 1. Matt. 7:26 - "the (one) hearing of me ... and not doing them"

 2. Matt. 13:23 - "the (one) the word hearing and comprehending"

 3. Mark 15:29 - "the (one) tearing down the temple and building (it)"

 4. Mark 16:16 - "the (one) having believed and having been baptized"

 5. Luke 6:49 - "the (one) but having heard and not having done"

 6. Luke 12:47 - "the (one) having known the will ... not having prepared"

 7. Luke 13:34 - "the (one) killing the prophets and stoning the (ones) having been sent forth"

 8. John 3:29 - "the (one) having stood and hearing"

 9. John 5:24 - "the (one) the word of me hearing and believing"

10. John 5:35 - "the (one) burning and shining"

11. John 6:33                     29. 2 Cor. 5:15
12. John 6:40                     30. 2 Cor. 5:18
13. John 6:45                     31. Gal. 1:15
14. John 6:54                     32. Gal. 2:20
15. John 6:56                     33. Gal. 3:5
16. John 8:50                     34. Eph. 2:14 (listed separately, p. 103)
17. John 9:8                       35. 2 Thess. 2:4
18. John 11:2                     36. 2 Thess. 2:16
19. John 11:26                  37. 1 Tim. 5:5
20. John 12:29                  38. 2 Tim. 1:9
21. John 12:48                  39. Heb. 7:1
22. John 14:21                  40. James 1:5
23. Acts 10:35                   41. 1 Pet. 1:21
24. Acts 15:38                   42. 1 John 2:9
25. Romans 2:3                43. Rev. 1:5
26. 1 Cor. 11:29               44. Rev. 3:7
27. 1 Cor. 16:16               45. Rev. 16:15
28. 2 Cor. 1:21                 46. Rev. 22:8


See Part two for all the end notes.