What is the Granville Sharp Rule?

The Granville Sharp Rule deals with the Greek construction of the word ‘the’ that appears before two or more nouns that are joined by the word ‘and.’ It is important when dealing with the deity of Christ in two significant verses (Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1). When this construction occurs, both nouns refer to the same thing.

The Granville Sharp Rule is “a grammatical dictum stating that when two or more personal, singular substantives (not proper names) are joined by καί and governed by a single article, they refer to the same person. This type of construction is often signified by TSKS.”(DeMoss, Matthew S. Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.)
TSKS Construction T = the article ‘the’; S = Substantive (a moun / adjective / particple); K = copula (‘kai’ in the Greek word for ‘and’

Some examples of this construction, in English, would be…

“Let’s walk to the biggest and best restaurant on 12th street.”  (biggest and best refer to the same thing: restaurant)
“Bob is the son of Mary and brother of Tom.” (Bob is both son and brother, see Mark 6:3)
“The successor and heir of the business is Franklin.”  (Franklin is both successor and heir)
“The longest and widest street in town is Orange Street.”  (Orange Street is both the longest and the widest street)

As you can see from the above examples when the word “the” occurs in front of two nouns joined by the word “and”, the two nouns refer to the same thing. Some biblical examples of this rule are found in the following verses.

Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.”

The carpenter is both the son and brother.

Acts 3:14, “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,”

The ‘One’ is both Holy and Righteous. Both refer to the ‘One.”

Philippians 2:25, “But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my [Greek contains ‘the’ here, tov adelphon, ἀδελφόν] brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;”

Epaphroditus is brother, worker, and fellow soldier. They all refer to one person.

Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”

Jesus is both the Apostle and High Priest

1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Both ‘the God and Father’ refer to the same single thing.

Revelation 22:8, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.”

John is both the one who heard and saw things.

The Granville Sharp rule in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1

The reason this rule is important is because of how it relates to the person of Jesus. In two very significant verses, Jesus is called the God and Savior. the Granville Sharp rule substantiates this position. Here are the two verses.

Titus 2:13, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,”
2 Peter 1:1, “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:”

In both these verses the phrase “God and Savior” which is preceded by the word “the” refer to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is our God and Savior.

Granville Sharp Rule defined by Scholars

The following is three quotes on this rule

“Sharp’s rule, briefly stated, is as follows: In the TSKS1 construction, the second substantive refers to the same person mentioned with the first substantive when: 1) neither is impersonal; 2) neither is plural; 3) neither is a proper name. [See note below, a proper name here means it cannot be pluralized] Therefore, according to Sharp, the rule applied absolutely only with personal, singular, and nonproper nouns. The significance of these requirements can hardly be overestimated, for those who have misunderstood Sharp’s principle have done so almost without exception because they were unaware of the restrictions that Sharp set forth.” (Wallace, Daniel B.; Wallace, Daniel B.. The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar, Zondervan. Kindle Edition., p. 121, underline added)
“When two or more attributives (i.e., adjectives, participles, descriptive substantives) joined by a copulative or copulatives, are assumed of the same person or thing, before the first attributive the article is inserted, before the remaining ones omitted.” Simply put, when two or more nouns (or adjectives or participles) are joined by “and,” the first having the definite article and the others not having it, they all refer to the same subject.” (Cairns, Alan. Dictionary of Theological Terms. Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002.)
“A grammatical dictum stating that when two or more personal, singular substantives (not proper names) are joined by καί and governed by a single article, they refer to the same person. This type of construction is often signified by TSKS.” (DeMoss, Matthew S. Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.)

Note:

“A proper noun is defined as a noun which cannot be “pluralized”— thus it does not include titles. A person’s name, therefore, is proper and consequently does not fit the rule. But θεός is not proper because it can be pluralized (cf. John 10: 34)— thus, when θεός is in a TSKS construction in which both nouns are singular and personal, it fits Sharp’s rule.” (Wallace, Daniel B.; Wallace, Daniel B.. The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar (p. 128). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)

Conclusion

The Granville Sharp rule, when applied to Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, reveals that Jesus is being called both God and Savior. Of course, these are not the only two verses where his deity is proclaimed. for more information on that please see the article Is Jesus God?

References[+]

References

1 TSKS Construction T = the article ‘the’; S = Substantive (a moun / adjective / particple); K = copula (‘kai’ in the Greek word for ‘and’

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