the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Along with an appeal to the Granville Sharp rule, Trinitarians claim that this verse is identifying Jesus as "God."
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts show that Trinitarians are appealing to highly questionable manuscript evidence as well as grave inconsistency regarding their own interpretations.
The Problems with the Claim
1. Trinitarian Translations
Notice the difference between these two sets of translations.
the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (NASB)
the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (RSV).
the justice of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Douay-Rheims).
the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ. (NAB).
the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. (NIV).
the righteousness of our God and [the] Saviour Jesus Christ. (ASV).
the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (KJV).
The second set clearly does not attempt to identify Jesus as "God." The NAB also adds this footnote, "The words translated our God and savior Jesus Christ could also be rendered “our God and the savior Jesus Christ." The NRSV adds the footnote, "Or of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ." Hence, it is quite clear that Trinitarian scholars are not in agreement as Trinitarians would have everyone believe.
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. However, the Trinitarian claim would have us believe that 2 Peter 1:1 is 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. Therefore, the Trinitarian claim is an extremely unlikely proposal even on the face of it.
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 Facts
1. The Construction of the Greek Text: A Certain Peculiarity
God of us and Savior Jesus Christ." If Peter wanted to identify Jesus as "the God and Savior," then one would also expect him to have rather said, "righteousness of the God and Savior of us Jesus Christ." Put another way, the word "our" ("of us") only qualifies "God" and it becomes somewhat tenuous to insist that the Granville Sharp rule means Jesus is being identified as "God" since if Peter wanted us to think Jesus is both OUR (1) God and OUR (2) Savior, it is more likely he would have written it as "the God and Savior of us Jesus Christ" rather than "the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ."
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.
Trinitarian apologists would also have everyone assume that "the Lord" in all the above verses is Jesus. However, it is also not entirely clear whether the word "Lord" at 1:11 and 3:18 refer to God the Father or to Jesus. Concerning 2 Peter 1:11, compare Ephesians 5:5 and Revelation 11:15. Concerning 2 Peter 3:18 compare Jude 1:25.
3. 2 Thessalonians 1:12
We also find the same Greek construction at 2 Thessalonians 1:12, "according to the grace of the God of us and Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Thess 1:12
of the God
2 Peter 1:1
of the God
Although 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is the very same sentence structure as 2 Peter 1:1, it is also abundantly clear that most Trinitarian translation scholars 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.
These translations make it quite clear that translation scholars do not think Jesus is being identified as "God" at 2 Thessalonians 1:12. But since the grammar at 1 Thessalonians 1:12 is exactly the same at 2 Peter 1:1, and it is clear to every scholar that two persons are being mentioned at 1 Thessalonians 1:12, then how can anyone honestly insist that Jesus is being identified as "God" at 2 Peter 1:1? It is the exact same sentence construction!
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, footstamping and insisting that their preferred version of 2 Peter 1:1 is authentic will not authenticate anything for anyone. It is highly disingenuous to make such a claim based on such highly suspicious evidence as if the evidence were an established fact.
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 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 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 cannot be determined based on the available facts and an unbiased evaluation of those facts. Based on the available evidence, one simply cannot decisively conclude whether the manuscript evidence originally said "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 simply no reliable evidence to conclude Peter has identified Jesus as "God." The only thing we find here is wishful thinking on the part of Trintarians.