looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah (Titus 2:13, PME)
Titus 2:13 is a verse which unambiguously affirms the Divinity of Yeshua the Messiah, referring to Him as both “God and Savior.”
The Greek source text of importance is epiphaneian tēs doxēs tou megalou Theou kai sōtēros hēmōn Iēsou Christou.
One will note some variance among Messianic versions, witnessing: “the appearing of the Sh’khinah of our great God and the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah” (CJB) or “appearing of the glory of the Great God and of our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah” (The Messianic Writings), and also “appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua” (TLV).
Those who argue that “our great God and Savior” speaks of Yeshua, and that a single entity is being referred to in Titus 2:13, consider the definite article tou to apply to both the titles “God and Savior.” A major feature of Greek grammar, which all students of Biblical Greek will learn about at one point or another, is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after Granville Sharp (1735-1813) who was an English linguist and son/grandson of clergy. Wallace describes this rule in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics:
“In Greek, when two nouns are connected by [the conjunction] [kai, ‘and’] and the article precedes only the first noun, there is a close connection between the two. That connection always indicates at least some sort of unity. At a higher level it may connote equality. At the highest level it may indicate identity. When the construction meets three specific demands, then the two nouns always refer to the same person” (Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 270).
The significance of this grammatical issue is heightened, as Wallace informs, “according to Sharp, the rule applied absolutely only with personal, singular, and non-proper nouns” (Ibid., 272; a further summary of the Granville Sharp rule with Greek examples to be considered, is offered in Ibid., pp 270-290).
Grammatically speaking, there is no second reference in the Greek to “the Savior Jesus Christ,” which is what one would expect in the syntax, separating out “the great God,” meaning the Father from the Son. Elsewhere in the Pastoral Epistles the definite article is used to separate out the title Savior (1 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10; 3:4, 6). William D. Mounce, Word Biblical Commentary: Pastoral Epistles, Vol. 46 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000), 427 who is also a Greek grammarian, indicates how “If Paul was speaking of two persons, it would have been easy to say so unambiguously,” giving two possible options:
- tou megalou Theou kai Iēsou Christou tou Sōtēros hēmōn, “the great God and Jesus Christ our savior.”
- tou megalou Theou hēmōn kai tou Sōtēros Iēsou Christou, “our great God and the savior Jesus Christ” (Ibid.)
The main point, as Mounce states, is that “If [Sōtēros] referred to a second person, it would have been preceded by the article” (Ibid.), and this way the God and the Savior could then be referring to two different entities (cf. 1 Timothy 1:2). But this is not what appears in Titus 2:13, and as Mounce concludes, “if Paul did not believe that Jesus was God, it seems highly unlikely that he would have been so sloppy in making such a significant theological statement. If Paul did believe that Jesus was God, it is not a surprise to read this” (Ibid.).