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A Total Deconstruction Of James White's Fallible Rule.

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

A written amplification to a recent YouTube response to Dr. James White’s view of Titus 2:13 and his rule that he presents as infallible. I had the pleasure of sharing this interesting view with the blessings of another senior writer. Please enjoy!

A grammatical analysis: θεοῦ The Father? Or θεοῦ the Son?

A short examination of a neglected rule with no exceptions:

The anaphoric article: By I.apologist

Did you know that the article in “The Great God” at Titus 2:13 clearly identifies him as the Father from Titus 1:4 based upon the Greek anaphora in the exact same way that a pronoun identifies its antecedent?

The article τοῦ that modifies μεγάλου Θεοῦ [great God] in vs 13 has an anaphoric origin in the very first chapter of Titus. [1:1,4]

When an articular substantive (noun) is present it will likely have an anarthrous (without the article) first mention in the same book, chapter, or verse. When applied to Titus 2:13 we have a live example of the Greek individualized anaphora providing us with exegetical proof for the seemingly ambiguous mention of "the Great God” in vs 13 as to its proper antecedent.

Interestingly, Dr. Dan Wallace, who is a well-known and highly respected evangelical Greek grammarian gives a detailed treatment in TBNTS:

"Amplification. Most individualizing articles will be anaphoric in a broad sense. That is, they will be used to point out something that had been introduced earlier—perhaps even much earlier." Excerpt from: "The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar" pg. 171 by Daniel B. Wallace.

A verbal Idea

Greek lexical and grammatical resources teach also that when και is adjunctive, it has an adverbial force and “stresses an important idea, usually the idea set forth in the word that follows.” (Smyth, p. Adverbial και 2881) This is also the view of the Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek.

An example of the adverbial και is John 14:1"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also [και] in me. (English Standard Version, 2001). Note that the main semantic function of the adjunctive και does not necessarily add two nouns together as does the copulative. Instead, it adds an idea to the previous one.

Also, note that the verbal idea, “believe in” is repeated with both terms. (Cp. Romans 1:16;2:9, 10; 6:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12,). The word appearing (epiphaneian/ἐπιφάνεια) is a verbal noun which is the head noun of a verbal genitive. Taken as subjective, it unpacks to “the glory of the Great God appears”. Furthermore, Jesus Christ does not seem to be appositional to “great God” but rather is in simple opposition to “glory of the great God”. See Matthew 16:27.

Applying the concepts from the Smyth and Cambridge Greek grammars, and applying the verbal concept from the “adverbial και” to the word or phrase that follows can be expressed as:

“looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and [the appearing of] our Saviour Jesus Christ;” A more emphatic way of expressing the addition of the verbal idea might be “also the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

One barrier to understanding the text in the non-traditional way is that some English bibles deliberately shift the possessive pronoun “our” (I-mon/ ἡμῶν) from the second phrase to the first. Does this change the meaning, and is there a valid grammatical reason for moving it? Apparently not.


My feeling is that the relatively impersonal τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ is sufficiently distinct from the more personal σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ as to eliminate the possibiity that these are intended to have the identical referent. Rather, they are being contrasted.I take τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν to mean that the appearing is what the hope consists of (as in English 'nice and tasty' means 'nicely tasty') and hence not semantically two co-ordinated nouns. More importantly, the καὶ connecting θεοῦwith σωτῆρος is governed by ἐπιφάνειαν in the same way: in other words, this is not an example of co-ordination of nouns but of concepts: the appearance of the great an impersonal glorious God is manifested by the appearance of the person named individual Jesus Christ who is our saviour. This is much the same idea as in Colossians ch. 1 where the Jesus is described as the image (eikwn) of the invisible (aoratou) God. And again, the idea comes through in 1 John 1 where Jesus is spoken in terms of what our eyes have seen and our hands handled.

One further minor point, the ἡμῶν clearly belongs with σωτῆρος not with μεγάλου θεοῦ. I would have expected in the normal TSKS structure that this would appear immediately after θεοῦ. This would lend credence to the view that this verse is not such a structure and that really, ἡμῶν is actually functioning as a definite article anyway.

The Greek anaphora apparently has no real exceptions, as opposed to the Granville Sharp rule [that has many exceptions e.g. plurals, proper names, secular Greek literature, absolute rules (rules without exceptions), etc. Therefore, rules without exceptions when applicable by default overrides rules with exceptions, thus the Greek Anaphora has a higher priority and greater influence to the exegetical outcome of a text than the GSR. Rendering the rule ineffective to be used as a proof text for the deity of Christ.

When the smoke clears, a plausible literal reading should read as follows, "while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the [same] great God [previously introduced in the Salutation (Cp. 1:1-5)] and of our Savior [used as the instrument of God (Cp. 3:6), Jesus Christ.”

See relevant video here:

Forwarded by I.alologist

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