ONE LORD AND ONE GOD
Those familiar with the 4th chapter of Ephesians will not regard this heading as either remarkable or challenging in any way. Yet its validity is virtually called into question by what can only be described as an astounding claim that - "God the Father" js. "the Lord Jesus Christ". This assertion has been made, on the basis of Eph.1.2., by the late Otis Sellers; and it will be found in his publication. Seed & Bread No.122 of March 1980.
One is imnediately prompted to ask. To whom did Jesus when on the earth address his prayers ? And are we to believe that he spoke to himself in those instances related in Mat.26.42., Lk.6.12., and John 17. ? Such questions demand a most exacting investigation of the claim that evoked them.
The warrant for this interpretation of Eph.1.2., and similar verses, was held to be Granville Sharp's Rule. This is here condensed from Home's Critical Study of the Scriptures, thus -
When two or more personal nouns of the same gender, number and case, are joined by kai if the first has the article, but not the others, then all relate to the same person(s).
The deficiency of this so-called Rule is to be seen in instances where it fails, as for example. Mat.16.21. apo tOn presbuterOn kai grammatOn, "from the elders and high-priests and scribes". Obviously these three are not identical, though of the same gender, number and case, as can clearly be observed.
An inadequate attempt to rectify this Rule was made by Bishop Middleton; but the basic fault is that it was devised to confirm a desired interpretation, and this bias has led into the camion trap of confusing the Particular and the General cases. In fact, when two personal nouns do relate to the same person it is in order in Greek, as in English, that the article stands before the first with just a conjunction between them. But the converse may not be true, for this construction does not always imply identity whether in Greek or in English.
Concerning Greek the governing principle has been satisfactorily defined by Dr Samuel G. Green in his Handbook to the Granmar of the Greek Testament, p.198, as follows -
In the enumeration of several persons or things, joined by a connective particle, an Article before the first only intimates a connection between the whole as forming one object of thought
This defining principle embraces every case, including Mat.16.21., Acts 4.19. & 15.22.. It does not settle whether the "object of thought" means identity or only association. But then neither is such a query resolved in English as in the example of "he called on the mayor and doctor". We cannot tell whether or not the mayor is the doctor unless the context is known; and the same situation applies to Greek. As Otis Sellers rightly says, "this is a matter of context and interpretation".
Now if in the example given it was otherwise established that the Mayor and the Doctor were the same person (this was so in Oxford fifty years ago), then the "and" linking them is Explicative ; but if they proved to be different people it would be Connective, the more usual case.
Much the same applies in Greek to the conjunction kai; it can be Connective, as most often it is, or less frequently. Explicative. The basic sense of kai is "also" as a Connective, though a meaning of "being also", or "namely", applies to it as an Explicative. But only reference to the context can decide which it is; we are not at liberty to conclude that a given kai is Explicative just to suit a preferred interpretation.
Consideration of context involves not only adjacent verses but when, where, by whom and to whom the words are said, and in the case of Scripture the character of the book as well as the general teaching of the same subject in other passages. Now the subject forming the heading is nowhere so well expressed as in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, and this must be carefully examined.
The chapter concerns the queries raised by the Corinthians regarding idol sacrifices and how they were to relate to such things, seeing that they had knowledge that they were not real gods. The Apostle makes much of the matter of knowledge, which some did not possess. The subject throughout is the many gods, which Paul admits. So why, needlessly it seems, does he introduce the idea of many lords ? Is it not for the sole purpose of contrast with the "one Lord" ? Thus he declares -
"there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him"..................verses 5 & 6 ASV.
This passage contains four instances of "and" translating kai, all of which are, and can only be. Connective. The one preceding "one Lord" cannot be Explicative, since explication is already given for both God and Lord in what follows in each case as the name, the Divine function and how we relate to that Divine Person. The distinction between our God and our Lord could hardly be clearer.
Now the Word of God cannot contradict itself, nor can the Apostle Paul be inconsistent with his own statements. So let us see how he opens his Epistle, either 2 Corinthians or Ephesians : -
"grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" chapter 1 vv.2/3
It is not grace and peace that are co-joined but two greetings, the first being grace from Paul himself. Nor are there "two givers" of peace, since God is the source of that peace and the Lord Jesus Christ its channel. If we arbitrarily insist on a kai,KAI Explicative in v.2 and so read "God our Father, even the Lord Jesus Christ", this makes v.3 refer to "the God and Father of our" God and Father ! The plain teaching of 1 Corinthians 8 guards us against such an absurdity.
There is an unambiguous example of "our Lord" and "our God" as being distinct expressed in the same context in 1 Tbes.1.3.. Here there is no possibility of imposing Granville Sharp's dubious Rule, nor is there any occurrence of kai, needing to be classed as Connective or Explicative.
In the interests of accuracy it should be noted that in Eph.4.32. - "even as God also in Christ forgave you", there is no kai, Explicative; it is kai, Connective, represented by "also". The "even as" translates the Greek kathOs. But the sense is unaffected. Two distinct Divine Persons are here seen acting in perfect concert, our God, "of whom are all things" and our Lord, Jesus Christ, "through whom are all things".
The synergy between our Lord and our God is so integrated in the effecting of salvation that either equally may be called our Saviour. So we find it is "God our Saviour" in 1 Tim.2.3. and also in Titus 3.4.; while it is "Jesus Christ our Saviour" in 2 Tim.1.10. and Titus 3.6.. There are of course several other such references, but these quoted are not disputable.
In translating from the original text it must be realised that there is no Greek word for "our"; so "our God" has to be expressed as tou theou EmOn, i.e. "the God of us". The place of EmOn in following its noun is important in understanding problem statements.
Thus 2 Pet.1.1. reads dikaiosunE toutheou EmOn kai sOtEros iEsou christou. As theou and sOtEros are not directly linked by kai, then not even Granville Sharp applies. There can be no question but that God is our Saviour, but Peter is not saying so here. The proper translation is - "righteousness of our God and (of) the Saviour Jesus Christ"; the "of" being required for the sense in English. In contradistinction 2 Pet.1.2. has - epignOsei tou theou kai iEsou tou kuriou EmOn. In a similar way this should read - "knowledge (of) God and (of) Jesus our Lord".
A verse that always comes up for comnent in any reference work on the syntax of N.T.Greek is Titus 2.13.. The New World NT of 1951 even has a lengthy Appendix on this one verse. That Greek portion to be considered is - prosdechomenoi tEn makarian elpida kai epipaneian tEs doxEs tou megalou theou kai sOtEros EmOn iEsou christou. There is no question but that the first kai, is an Explicative, but the absence of the Article after the second one leaves it uncertain. By analogy with 2 Peter 1.2. above the EmOn governs only sOtEros, which could read, "a Saviour of us"; and as also in 2 Peter 1.1. the three final nouns are Genitive, and here relate to epiphaneian. A suitable rendering of this would be - "awaiting the blessed expectation, namely, the forthshining of the great God's glory and of our Saviour Jesus Christ". This form of the last phrase accords with that of Sharpe, Alford, Moffatt and Philips. The several versions that here read "our God" are making an interpretation, not a translation.
The deity of Jesus Christ is not here in question; however, the Scriptures present Him unto mankind not as our God, but as our Lord. That He is presented to angelic beings as God would appear to be the case from Hebrews 1.6-8.. In the Bible, therefore, it is the humanity of Jesus Christ that is prominent, whether as the perfect man in true relationship with his God, or as the exalted man at God's right hand. Because of this, much scope is available to anyone disposed to refute his deity. So likewise, some feel too little stress is found in Scripture on Christ's deity, a defect supposedly they are always trying to remedy. Surely this is to question the competence of the Holy Spirit to^magnify Christ: it compares with Uzza's presumption regarding the Ark of Moses.
This fresh study of this difficult section of Titus has given the writer a clearer perception of its teaching. The forthshining of our Saviour is intrinsic with the forthshining of the glory of the great God, being what constitutes the blessed hope. It is not the second coming of Christ for his Parousia at the end of the age. It is the start of the revived kingdom of God on the earth, the climax which completes the present age, referred to in Isaiah 40 (as OQS rightly points out). It is this epiphany which marks the end of what had begun with that epiphany alluded to in Titus 2.11., namely, the present administration of grace, which also transpires during the present age.
M. S. Lloyd. Glasgow. January 1993
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