Trinity on Trial An in-depth examination of Trinitarian doctrine
1 Thessalonians 1:2

Our God and Lord, Jesus Christ

"the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ"

This passage is sometimes promoted by Trinitarians, along with an appeal to the Granville Sharp rule, as Paul is referring to Jesus as God. The mistake made here by Trinitarians is very similar to the mistake they make at Titus 2:13.

Major Trinitarian Translations

Carefully note that Trinitarian Greek scholars do not necessarily agree with the claims of Trinitarian apologists.

"that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (NIV).

"the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (NASB).

"the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (KJV).

"the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. (NAB).

NAB Footnote: "'The grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: the Greek can also be translated, 'the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.'"

that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (RSV).

that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ASV).

That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Douey-Rheims).

The Granville Sharp Rule

Now before we go any further we need to mention something you will hear Trinitarians ranting about. They will most certainly go on and on and on about something called the Granville Sharp rule. We will decisively deal with with their error and follow the Granville Sharp rule on top of it. The Granville Sharp rule states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), and the two nouns are connected by the word "and," and the first noun has the article ("the") preceding it while the second does not, both nouns are referring to the same thing. In other words, the word "the" is implied before the second noun even though it is not explicitly stated as it is with the noun preceding the word "and." An example in English would be, "the Commander and President, George Bush." In that example, both "Commander" and "President" are preceded with only one definite article which precedes only the first noun but we are to understand that both nouns refer to the same thing, that is, the person George Bush. Put another way, the definite article is intended to serve both nouns, "the Commander" and "the President," who is, George Bush." So since the definite article appears here in 1 Thessalonians prior to the first noun ("God") and not prior to the other second noun ("Lord"), the Trinitarian insists that the Granville Sharp rule demands that each term, "God" and "Lord," both refer to "Jesus Christ" because the phrase says, "the God of us and Lord Jesus Christ." Now we will demonstrate why this is a complete blunder.

The Grace of God

The passage literally reads, "according to the grace of the God of us and Lord Jesus Christ." The Trinitarian apologist now tries claim that Jesus is called "God," conveniently ignoring that the sentence contains a unitary phrase "according to the grace of our God and our Savior Jesus Christ."

Now let us have a look at the way Paul views the grace that Christians receive. Paul uses the terms "grace of God" and "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" throughout his writings. Let us look at those instances where he mentions both in one breath. The grace of God the Father is "in" His Son Jesus and this is the place where we may receive God's grace.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7).

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:23-24).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.(2 Corinthians 1:2-3).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthains 1:2).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:3).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2).

[God] raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6-7).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2).

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 1:2).

The grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:14).

Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2).

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages. (2 Timothy 1:8-9).

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 2:1).

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4).

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not out of works of righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3).

according to

THE

   (1) Grace of the God of us

AND      +

   (2) Lord Jesus Christ

THE

   (1) glory of the great God

AND      +

   (2) Savior of us

___________________

=   JESUS CHRIST

As we can see, "grace" applies to both God and Jesus because the grace of God is in Christ Jesus His Son. So the two things we have in this passage are not "God" and "Lord" but "the grace of God" and "the grace of Lord Jesus Christ." When we translate this way, we also strictly follow the Granville Sharp rule. This in itself nullifies the Trintarian claim. But there is more and we will not stop here.

The Greek Grammar

The grammar here is also telling. You will remember above the NAB and Douey-Rheims versions indicate the passage can be rightfully translated as "the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." In New Testament Greek, there is no such word the it is the same as our English word "of." Rather, the idea in the word "of" is expressed by the inflection of the Greek nouns. It is often spotted with the "ou" ending on a noun. When a noun is in the genitive case we are to understand that the word "of" is implied. For example, the words at Romans 3:22 actually say, "faith OF Christ" (the word "in" is not there). And this is what we have here in 1 Thessalonians 1:12.

At Ephesians 5:5, Paul writes, "the Kingdom of the Christ and God." Now, if we wanted to play games with the Granville Sharp rule we could also claim here that Paul is referring to one person under the nouns "Christ" and "God." But, it is rather obvious this is not what he intends. Paul says, "the Kingdom of the Christ and God" and both nouns are in the gentive case, christou and theou. What Paul is actually saying here is, "the Kingdom of the Christ and of God," and is referring both to the person of Jesus Christ and the person of God the Father.

In his Word Pictures, Trinitarian scholar Robertson writes:

"Here again [theos], like kurios, often occurs as a proper name without the article. So it has to be admitted that here Paul may mean "according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ," though he may also mean "according to the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ."

We can see here that Robertson does not want to admit it but he must admit it. What Paul actually wrote at 1 Thessalonians 1:12 is, "the grace of our God and of Lord Jesus Christ."

"Lord" Jesus Christ

What if Paul had said, "the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ?" It has a bit of a different ring to it doesn't it? Here is why. Watch what I do with this comma.

"the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ."

"the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ."

Notice the effect of the comma in the second sentence. It makes the reader certain that Jesus Christ is "our God and Lord." Let the reader be reminded that Paul did not use these commas as we do in English today. Now, let's try the same with "the Lord Jesus Christ and see what happens.

"the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"the grace of our God and the Lord, Jesus Christ."

Doesn't quite sound right does it? In this case, it sounds like we really just might be talking about two different people and have forefully misplaced a comma.

Now what Trinitarians will not tell you is that Paul habitually did not write "and the Lord Jesus Christ" in his letters. He did not write "the Lord Jesus" here either which is useful to the Trinitarian claim when English translations are used, but not to Trinitarian scholars who realize it completely weakens their case. Paul's habit was to simply write, "and Lord Jesus Christ" without the definite article "the." Translators add the word "the" in English translations. Paul will call Jesus "the Lord" when he does not also mention the names "Jesus" and "Christ," but he never says "the Lord Jesus." He may say, "the Lord of us, Jesus Christ," or "Jesus Christ, the Lord of us" to emphasize he is indeed the Lord of Christians. This is usually missed in English translations which do not use the terminology "of us" but instead use the possessive "our" and show rather, "Jesus Christ our Lord," or "our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul's habit was not to write "the Lord Jesus Christ."

Why is this important? Paul uses the word "Lord" in the place of a definite article when he says "Lord Jesus Christ" in the sense Greek speakers would say, "the Christ." He does something similar when he says "God the Father of us." In the same way, he would say "Jesus the Lord of us." But he also often simply says, "God Father," not "God the Father." The idea here is that "God" replaces the definite article. So he could say "the Father" or he could say "God Father." In English, we would have to say "Father God" or it simply doesn't sound right to our ears.

Paul's Greek writing custom is to say "the Savior" or "the Father" or "the Lord." But when one title modifies another title it acts as a definite article. We do the very same thing in English. We might say, "the President of us, George Bush." But we would also say, "and President George Bush" instead of "and the President George Bush."

In 2 Thessalonians 1:12, when Paul says, "and Lord Jesus Christ," the word "Lord" is a distinguishing identifier for Paul. As Robertson admits above, the word "God" is often definite without the article. The same is true of "Lord." A definite article is implied by Paul who uses the word "Lord" in place of a definite article to modify the words "Jesus Christ" just as he does when he uses the word "God" in the place of a definite article to modify the word "Father."

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