Along with an appeal to the Granville Sharp rule, Trinitarians claim that this verse is identifying Jesus as "God."
There are several serious problems with the Trinitarian claim. There is significant doubt about the interpretation when the Greek grammar is compared to an identical construction at 2 Thessalonians 1:12. There is important manuscript evidence which casts serious doubt upon the "our God and Savior" version of the verse. And there is significant internal evidence which casts serious doubt upon the Trinitarian claim.
1. Trinitarian Translations
Notice the difference between these two sets of translations.
The second set clearly does not attempt to identify Jesus as "God."
2. The Very Next Verse
The very next verse reads, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." This in itself casts suspicion upon the Trinitarian claim especially since Jesus is commonly called "our Lord" in Scripture but this would be the only place in all of Scripture where Jesus is called "our God." 2 Peter 1:2 makes a clear distinction between God and the Lord Jesus. This would be very confusing language if "God" and the "Lord" were two titles for one person in verse 1 but the same two titles referred to two different persons in the very next verse. It is an extremely unlikely proposal.
3. Codex Sinaiticus: Very Important Manuscript Evidence
Codex Sinaiticus is a very important document. This manuscript was made between 325 and 360 A.D. and is likely the oldest manuscript we have of the Bible. This manuscript does not say "righteousness of the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ." Rather, it says, "righteousness of the Lord of us and Savior Jesus Christ." There are also other manuscripts which read "Lord" instead of "God." The evidence from Codex Sinaiticus shows us that we cannot be certain that Peter wrote "our God and Savior." This fact alone completely nullifies the Trinitarian claim concerning this verse.
The following is the actual image of the Codex Sinaiticus manuscript at 2 Peter 1:1. The circled Greek letters which look like "KY" are a nomen sacrum form of the Greek word kyrios ("lord"):
Analysis of the Evidence
1. 2 Thessalonians 1:12
We also find a similar construction at 2 Thessalonians 1:12, "according to the grace of the God of us and Lord Jesus Christ." Although it is the same grammatical construction as 2 Peter 1:1, it is also abundantly clear that most Trinitarian translators simply do not believe Jesus is here being identified as "God."
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. KJV
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. ASV
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. NASB
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. RSV
according to the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Douay-Rheims
by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. BBE
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ ESV
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. NIV
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.NAB
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. NET Bible.
Now this is very significant when we compare the construction of these two verses:
|2 Thess 1:12||grace||of the God||of us||and||Lord||Jesus Christ
|2 Peter 1:1||righteousness||of the God||of us||and||Savior||Jesus Christ
Notice that the construction is exactly the same. However, it is clear that translators do not think Jesus is being identified as "God" at 1 Thessalonians 1:12. Since the construction at 1 Thessalonians 1:12 is exactly the same at 2 Peter 1:1, then how can anyone honestly insist that Jesus is being identified as "God" in this verse?
The issue here is that the word "Lord" at 2 Thessalonians probably serves in place of a definite article. The same would then be true at 2 Peter 1:1 where the word "Savior" serves in place of the definite article.
2. The Internal Evidence
The internal evidence also strongly suggests the Sinaiticus rendering is correct. Nowhere else in Scripture is Jesus called "our God and Savior" but Peter regularly refers to Jesus as "Lord and Savior" in this same letter.
1:11: kingdom of the Lord of us and Savior Jesus Christ.
2:20: in knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
3:2: commandment of the Lord and Savior.
3:18: in knowledge of the Lord of us and Savior Jesus Christ.
Since Sinaiticus is such an important manuscript, this in itself completely nullifies the Trinitarian claim for this verse. Their claim is an irresponsible claim based on unreliable evidence. Later manuscripts were written after the Council of Nicea and the Trinitarian Niceans would not have preferred the "Lord" rendering found in Sinaiticus and would have rather promoted the "God" rendering. Cherry-picking and footstamping and insisting that their preferred version of 2 Peter 1:1 is authentic will not authenticate anything for anyone. It is only one possibility and possibilities are not established facts. It is highly disingenuous to make such a claim based on such highly suspicious evidence as if the evidence were an established fact.
I am also highly suspicious of the Granville Sharp rule in this particular case. While Trinitarians can be expected to try and water down the problem, 2 Peter 1:1 is exactly the same construction as 2 Thessalonians 1:12 where it should be obvious to any honest person that Jesus is not there being identified as God. It appears to me that in each case, the titles Lord or Savior, in each verse respectively, may take the place of, and serve as, the definite article. Therefore, even if Peter wrote "our God and Savior" rather than "our Lord and Savior," the Trinitarian claim would still be highly questionable and would not amount to established fact but rather a doctrinal desire based on another desire that the GS rule is valid when they need it to be and can be ignored whenever they choose to do so as the above translators have so clearly done at 2 Thessalonians 1:12.
Based on the available evidence, and concerning the manuscript renderings, I believe the evidence indicates that Peter most likely wrote, "Lord and Savior" rather than "God and Savior." However, while I think this is most likely, I conclude that the evidence for the authentic rendering of 2 Peter 1:1 is inconclusive based on these available facts and an unbiased evaluation of those facts. Based on the available evidence, one simply cannot decisively conclude whether the manuscript evidence originally read "God" or "Lord."
When all these facts are considered, I can find no reason at all to suppose that there is any reliable evidence that Peter is here identifying Jesus as God. The manuscript evidence is extremely significant casting serious doubt upon the rendering which Trinitarians wish was authentic. The peculiar nature of the Greek grammar structure, found also at 2 Thessalonians 1:12, is very significant, Granville Sharp rule or not. And the internal evidence does not support the Trinitarian claim either. There is absolutely no reliable evidence in this verse which should compel anyone to conclude Peter has identified Jesus as "God."
Last Updated: June 21, 2014
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