Trinitarians claim, along with an appeal to the Granville Sharp [First] Rule, that Jesus is here being identified as "our great God and Savior."
Examination of the Claim
1. Trinitarian Translations Inconsistencies
Trinitarian translation scholars have inconsistently translated this verse in 3 different ways. The first set of translations do not attempt to describe Jesus as "our great God and Savior."
looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (ASV)
Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Douey-Rheims).
the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ. (NAB)
Carefully note how the above translations do not attempt to describe Jesus as "God." They instead refer to Jesus as "our Savior" but do not attempt to describe Jesus as "our great God." The above translations essentially deny that the Granville Sharp rule has any validity with respect to this verse or they would not have translated this verse as they have done. At the outset, we can see clearly that some Trinitarian scholars do not believe that Paul had any intention of identifying Jesus as "God" in this verse.
A second translation, the King James version, changes the noun "glory" (doxa) into the adjective "glorious" so that it reads "the glorious appearing of" rather than "the appearing of the glory of" as we find in most other translations.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (KJV).
as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NETBible)
The NIV also once had the verse translated similar to the KJV in the abo e manner but it has now been changed to "the appearing of the glory of" rather than "the glorious appearing of." We must carefully observe that the phrase "the glorious appearing of" says something quite different than the phrase "the appearing of the glory of" and so we must honestly inquire into the intent of the person who actually wrote this verse, the Apostle Paul.
A third translation set does not attempt to rule out that Jesus is called "God" nor do these versions change the noun "glory" into the adjective "glorious."
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (NASB).
awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (RSV).
while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NIV).
The literal Greek text says, "awaiting the appearing of the glory of." Unlike the majority of these translations, the KJV changes the noun "glory" to the adjective "glorious" to have it modify the word "appearing." This completely changes the meaning of the passage from believers eagerly awaiting the appearing of the glory of our God and Savior, to believers eagerly awaiting the glorious appearing of our God and Savior. One translation has us waiting for the glory; the other has us waiting for God. These are two completely different ideas. Trinitarian apologists prefer to use the KJV here and it already becomes evident that these apologists are tendentiously attempting to manipulate the Scriptures for the sake of their Trinitarian traditions.
2. The Greek Grammar and Sentence Structure
The literal Greek sentence structure is key to a proper interpretation and translation of this passage.
Notice Paul's literal words. The passage does not say, "the glorious appearing." The verse says we are awaiting "the appearing of the glory of." By changing the word "glory" to the adjective "glorious" in order to modify the word "appearing," we would totally change the meaning of Paul's words.
3. The Granville Sharp (First) Rule
In simple terms, the Granville Sharp rule of Greek grammar states that when you have a word construction in Greek that takes the form THE-NOUN1-AND-NOUN2, both nouns refer to one person and not to two persons and two nouns are being used to refer to the same person. As Titus 2:13, the construction is "[THE]-[GREAT GOD]-[AND]-[SAVIOR]" which, according to this rule, means that this entire phrase does not refer to two persons:(1) the great God and (2) another person who is the Savior.
Trinitarians here claim that the one person who is in view is Jesus who is being identifed or described as "the great God and Savior of us." However, this is not the only possibility that satisfies the Granville Sharp rule. The most natural reading of Titus 2:13 is to see that Jesus is not being described as "the great God and Savior" but as "the glory OF the great God and Savior" since, after all, this is precisely how it reads.
Additionally, there has been a recent effort among Trinitarian apologists to try and justify the KJV translation, "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." The reason they would like this translation to be valid, is not because of any good grammatical reason, but because such a translation would rule out the second option. In this case, Jesus could not be described as "the glory of our great God and Savior." However, English translations are not the issue. What a Greek writer or reader saw and understood in these words is the issue.
Analysis of the Evidence
The word Savior is used 24 times in the New Testament. It is used both of God the Father and of Jesus. At Isaiah 43:11, we read that YAHWEH says "there is no Savior besides me." And we find that the reason Jesus is also called a Savior in addition to YAHWEH is because God has raised up many Saviors and He is the one responsible for these Saviors. In the case of Jesus, we read that Jesus is "God's salvation" and that God raised up Jesus to be Savior. In this way, it is God the Father who is ultimately responsible for our salvation. There is not Savior apart from Him; He raised up Jesus to be His salvation. Essentially, Trinitarians wish to claim that both the Father and Jesus are that identity known as "YAHWEH" our Savior. However, this is not how it is explained in the Bible. In the Bible, Jesus is not YAHWEH the Savior but YAHWEH's Savior, the man who YAHWEH raised up to save.
Paul refers to "God our Savior" in verse 10, three verses before Titus 2:13. It would be extremly tenuous and self-serving to insist this is a reference to Jesus. Therefore, we should most readily see that "our great God and Savior" is a reference to the Father in verse 13.
2. The Greek Noun "doxa" ("glory")
The KJV translates the Greek noun doxa as "glorious" and Trinitarian apologists like to disingenuously appeal to this type of translation exclusively for the sake of their doctrine. There are approximately 168 occurrences of the feminine noun doxa in the New Testament. Of these, the King James Version translates ten instances (6%) as "glorious" rather than "glory." It also translates the word doxa as "honor," "praise," "dignity or "worship." Some of these instances occur more than once in the same sentence. An examination of those nine other exceptions is also very revealing.
Carefully compare the KJV "glorious" translations with the Young's Literal translation which follows each example and observe how there is absolutely no reason to translate this word as "glorious" in any of these verses and also no reason not to translate doxa as "glory" in each and every case.
"Glorious" or "Glory"?
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.(Romans 8:21 KJV).
that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God. (Young's Literal).
But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?...For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious....In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 3:7-8,11, 4:4 KJV).
and if the ministration of the death, in letters, engraved in stones, came in glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look stedfastly to the face of Moses, because of the glory of his face--which was being made useless, how shall the ministration of the Spirit not be more in glory?... for if that which is being made useless [is] through glory, much more that which is remaining [is] in glory... in whom the god of this age did blind the minds of the unbelieving, that there doth not shine forth to them the enlightening of the good news of the glory of the Christ, who is the image of God. (Young's Literal).
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21 KJV).
who shall transform the body of our humiliation to its becoming conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working of his power, even to subject to himself the all things. (Young's Literal).
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. (Colossians 1:11 KJV).
in all might being made mighty according to the power of His glory, to all endurance and long-suffering with joy.((Young's Literal).
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.(1 Timothy 1:11).
according to the good news of the glory of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted. (Young's Literal).
When we review the actual facts, we find that there is not one single reason that doxa should ever be translated as "glorious" in the New Testament. Indeed, if the Greeks wanted to express such the adjecive "glorious" they actually had another word just for this purpose.
Endoxos: How to say "Glorious" in Greek
The Greeks actually had a word they could use to express the concept "glorious." It is not the word doxa but the word endoxos.
But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are in glorious clothing and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! (Luke 7:25).
As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him. (Luke 13:17).
We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are glorious, but we are without honor. (1 Corinthians 4:10).
that He might present to Himself the glorious church... (Ephesians 5:27)
It is quite clear that there is absolutely no excuse for translating the word doxa as "glorious."
3. The Context
Carefully note the context of the passage:
"That they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing Salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, awaiting the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us."
In verse 10, we see God the Father is identified as "our Savior." Now notice what Paul says in verse 13. He says we are awaiting the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. The passage does not say we are waiting for our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. It says we are waiting for the "glory of" our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. And that is just what Jesus is - the glory of our great God and Savior, the glory of the Father.
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels" (Matthew 16:27).
4. The Grace of our God and the Glory of our God
In verse 11, we read about the "grace of God" having appeared as a result of our Lord Jesus Christ's ministry, death, and resurrection. If the grace of God appeared with Christ's first coming, then it should be no surprise to anyone that the glory of God comes with Christ's second coming. Just as Jesus himself was the grace of God, the risen Jesus himself is now the glory of God, "the radiance of God's glory."
5. Israel was the glory of our God
If Israel was the glory of our God, then how much more shall we believe the King of Israel, Jesus Christ, is the glory of God. Even more, God has placed all things in all creation under Jesus' feet. He is King over all creation. If Israel was the glory of our God, then we can certainly believe Jesus is the glory of our God.
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. Isaiah 44:23.
You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Isaiah 49:3.
They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. Romans 9:4.
Behold, you shall call nations that you know not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you. Isaiah 55:5
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.... No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. Isaiah 60:1,19.
But now, thus says YHWH, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!... Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for MY glory, whom I have formed, also whom I have made." Isaiah 43:1-7
I will put salvation in Zion, to Israel MY glory. Isaiah 46:13.
Also see Luke 2:32-
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
The Scriptures also tell us that Jesus manifests his Father's glory.
Summary of the Facts
- There is a marked inconsistency among major Trinitarian translations which reveals to us that Trinitarian scholars do not agree this verse refers to Jesus as God
- The verse literally reads, "awaiting the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
- There is no reason whatsoever to translate doxa as "glorious" rather than "glory."
- God our Savior has just been mentioned in verse 10 and it is obviously a reference to God the Father.
- It is then clear that Paul does not intend to say Jesus is "our great God and Savior" but that Jesus is the "glory of our great God and Savior," that is, the glory of God the Father. Indeed, this understanding fits perfectly with Matthew 16:27 where we are told Jesus will come again in the glory of his Father.
When we realize that Jesus is going to come again in the glory of his Father, the truth of the matter becomes quite clear. Paul is referring to Jesus' second coming. In the immediately preceding context we find Paul referring to "God our Savior," a reference to God the Father. And at verse 13, Paul is here telling us that we are awaiting "the appearing of the glory OF our great God and Savior." What is appearing? What is appearing is the glory of God the Father and that glory is Jesus Christ.
Last Updated: May 25, 2015
"Awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels" (Matthew 16:27).