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Doubting Thomas: A Grammatico-Exegetical Case For The Two Referents View

Updated: Apr 24


Much can be said about the words that John records from Thomas. This text is traditionally minted as cornerstone support text for the "Deity of Christ” proponents. However, a proper grammatico-historical exegetical method will be employed so that we can properly determine what a particular grammar can say before we determine what it means and what is said. The chapter we have now begun brings us from Christ’s death to Christ’s resurrection. Much like the Synoptics, John expounds on the two great aforementioned events with peculiar fullness and specificity. And we need not wonder. The whole of saving true Christianity hinges on the two facts, that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-22), any third alternative would be an addendum to the original biblical-theological paradigm. The Gospel of John is also a masterpiece of thematic development. Chapter 14 in conjunction with Chapter 20 is before our eyes and deserves unique attention. Of all the four evangelists, none supplies such deeply interesting evidence of the affirmation of the resurrection as the disciple whom Jesus loved.[1] The nuances of the language and settings give us great assistance as to what we read before us. So, let’s look at the context in conjunction with grammar which presents John 20:28 as identifying Jesus as “Lord” and the Father as “God.” We will call this the “Objective Grammatico-contextual” view.

A contextual case for John 20:28

A few disciples along with Mary Magdalene had the blessed pleasure of conversing with Jesus post-resurrection before vs 28 after they had seen the stone had been moved. We see titles are thrown around with ordinary and customary value. Mary mentions to the two angelic figures that appeared in the tomb in vs 13 that they have taken her κύριόν away. Mary, assumed to be a devout Jew still, would not have likely seen the Covenant God, the source of all reality, as vulnerable to death, but rather indeed had seen an eternal and omniscient entity in common Jewish ideology. At that moment, it seems rather strange that she even believed YHWH did not exist at any moment. We are pressed ahead to vs 13. Jesus himself commands Mary to “Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν). Keeping with the flow of discourse, we now have clear evidence for our interpretation and antecedents to the unique titles.

Therefore, the context on the surface of John 20 makes it relatively clear, it explicitly expresses that κύριος μου ("my Lord") was an inscribed title for Jesus Christ (v. 13) while ο Θεος μου ("my God") was used (by Jesus himself) for the Father (v. 17); [2] It also should be noted that after Thomas says "The Lord of me and the God of me" in verse 28, John himself tells us that we are to believe Jesus is the "Son" “of” "the God" (ο Θεος) in verse 31. The essential inclusio to John’s thesis in the book. How anti-climactic would it have been if John records Thomas calling Jesus the covenant God of Israel, only to conclude him with a subordinate title as Son of God immediately after?

Some may oppose, the title in the aforementioned verse carries the connotations of divinity in relation to the divine God of Israel himself. However, this objection misses the mark and is completely absent from the literature. The special designated title "Son of God" in John’s context is likely in relation to II Samuel 7:14, indicating that Jesus Christ is the promised king from the line of David. Moreover, likewise, kings, along with priests and prophets, were one of the anointed offices in the OT. Hence, the kingly reference is indeed truly Messianic. Furthermore, I would expect the term Son (υιός) to be epexegetical or appositional to θεός (God).[3] We should see a similar construct by the likes of, ὁ Θεός ὁ υἱός. Unfortunately, we don’t see in any contemporary Greek (or Hebrew) works of literature that Son was used as a proxy for God. Introducing the idea that Thomas believed Jesus has perished away to believing he is the creator and sovereign God of Israel within a split second seems bizarre and unusual. [See the The significance of the inclusio in 20:31 section for a more detailed discussion.]

With regard to κύριος (lord), I suspect that there is a little more flexibility because the title (κύριός) is used for both God the Father, Human authorities, and Jesus Christ.[4] However, nobody except God the Father was ever addressed as ό θεος with a modifying genitive pronoun (μου “my” God) or "God" par excellence (i.e. compounded nouns such as ό θεος κύριός μου, τὸν θεὸν τὸν ὕψιστον or θεος παντοκράτωρ) elsewhere in the GNT. [5] Not to mention, Mary Magdalene missed the unique opportunity to notify the Disciples that she has seen ο Θεος (God),16-18. Instead she addressed him only as κύριον.

This then leads us to the exclamation of Thomas, and is bracketed by references to believe and is undeniably critical to the immediate context of the relevant passage in chapter 20. Jesus declares “Let not your heart be troubled: "believe in God, (καὶ) believe also in me.” (ASV, John 14:1). Here two persons are to be the object of Thomas’ faith. God and Jesus. This is further supported by the adjunctive force of the conjunction καί [also]. [6] Additionally, verse 5 reads “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing [πιστός].

The fourteenth chapter provides us with an abundance of helpful information and is what sets up the stage for the proclaimed climatic statement. A theme of doubt and believing is at the forefront of the Gospel now. Consequently, most Johannine scholars staple it "doubting Thomas" because of it's emphasis on "seeing and believing". Moreover, the fact that it was just a few days early doesn’t negate it being in the same integral and a great influence to the immediate context. For again, just days earlier Jesus had told his disciples, where Thomas is singled out, that he and his Father were both to be objects of belief. "You believe in God; believe also in me.”[πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν *καὶ* εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε] -John 14:1. While 6 chapters earlier, in an allusion to the "believing” motif, Jesus declares in the closing in 20:31 that the objective of the book was to assure them that by πιστεύοντες (believing) in God the Father and Jesus whom he sent as his human emissary, they will indeed have life.

Fast forward to 14:8, we can now see a puzzle being ascertained. Philip (a disciple present) asked Jesus with inquisitiveness "Lord, show us the Father". Jesus’ timely response is very helpful to our exegesis of chapter 20. Again, with the emphasis on πιστεύεις (“believing”) is the focus, the Lord himself says "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works." - [ASV]. The obvious reaffirmation and inclusion of God the Father is now re-embedded into the disciple's psyche and now has significant value to our inclusio with the controversial verse six chapters ahead.

A Fresh Grammatical Analysis

I feel it necessary to investigate the greek conjunction και and apply it to the exegesis of 20:28. We now explore the forgotten Smart’s Rule’ (which was introduced on the B-Greek discussion forum as a parody) that gives us useful information for exegetical purposes and appears to neutralize the Trinitarian's interpretation when applied.

The rule sought out the Greek syntax in the GNT (Greek New Testament) that was the same as John 20:28. [7] It started out as aforementioned a parody of Sharp’s rule. What it did demonstrate, is that most verses like John 20:28 had two persons in view. The rule of the construction “noun genitive personal pronoun και noun [repeat of the same pronoun]” was manufactured to look at and reexamine all examples of the “copulative” και in the GNT. [8] Smart’s rule rightfully distinguishes between the correlative και and the additive, or adjunctive και. This paper will build upon Smart’s rule but analyzes more than the copulative και when used with coordinated substantives modified by the same genitive personal pronoun in New Testament Greek. (GNT). This is a subset of the Sollamo study and compares every verse in the GNT with the same syntax as John 20:28.[9] In addition plural substantives are included.

1 Thess. 3:11, 2 Thess. 2:16, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:5, Hebrews 8:11, Mark 7:10 (LXX quote) are all examples of the same construction as John 20:28 where there are two persons are in view. [10] Similarly, the verses that are like John 20:28 and also from John don’t indicate the grammatical Hebraism. Hebraisms is exhibited when two harmonizing substantives in Hebrew connected by "wav" (and) are each modified by the pronominal suffix (i.e Hireq Yod) “my” and rendered into Greek. If each Hebrew pronominal suffix is converted into the Greek personal pronoun in the genitive (μου), one will locate a particular Greek syntax. However, the syntax found in John 20:28 certainly could only be considered coordinating (one referent) if it were to exhibit a specific grammatical Hebraism i.e. Psalm 35:23. However, this is highly unlikely in the latter part of the gospel of John as attested by Greek grammarian James Moulton.[11] Finally, the repeated μου, so far from necessarily reflecting two distinct addressees, simple reflects the repetition of the pronominal suffix with copulated nouns in Hebrew and Aramaic and has the influence of personalizing the response.

Yes, the narrator's pronoun in vs 28 "answered to him" is singular. Yes, the genitive (possessive) pronouns (2x) of Thomas’s declaration are singular by the use "my". However, it's essentially insignificant because there is no nominative pronoun in Thomas's declaration either, e.g. no "You are". Also, compare Nathaniel's declaration in John 1:49. Thomas is not saying "you are my Lord God". [12]

Some would argue with respect to the vocative that is only relevant to the predicative view. That the ‘direct address’ is conclusive evidence against the view that the Father is addressed as God. That is, that Thomas is directly addressing Jesus in his statement as the lone antecedent to both titles. [13] Yes, Jesus was the lone person physically there in Thomas’s view. Nevertheless, a two person view can be easily be reconciled since the God of Jesus dwells in him and heaven (14), the dative singular pronoun (αὐτῷ) doesn't neutralize the two-person’s view neither does the grammatical vocative that doesn’t negate a dual subject being acknowledged. It would be in my opinion irrational to “direct address” someone who is not visually in your sight. However, that is not to say others can't be indirectly acknowledged. Consider 1 Sam 20:12, “And Jonathan said unto David, Jehovah, the God of Israel, be witness:” The LXX reads καὶ εἶπεν Ιωναθαν πρὸς Δαυιδ -κύριος ὁ θεὸς. Here we have Jonathan speaking directly to David, but acknowledges God, and one would not collapse David with the God of Israel.[15]

αὐτῷ and it's significance:

Some may inquire, how can a 3rd person singular personal pronoun such a αὐτῷ also reference a 3rd person plural, which would be along the lines of αὐτοῖς. It is said that Thomas was referencing a singular Θεός and Κύριός, not two persons. That is, how could Thomas have seen two persons where there are no references based on αὐτῷ being used for a plural semantic? Margaret Davies in Rhetoric and Reference in the Fourth Gospel answers this grammatical concern in contextual grandeur.

"But it is perfectly appropriate for Thomas to respond to Jesus' resurrection with a confession of faith both in Jesus as his Lord and in God who sent and raised Jesus. Interpreting the confession in this way actually makes much better sense in the context of the Fourth Gospel. In 14:1 belief both in God and in Jesus is encouraged, in a context in which Thomas is particularly singled out. Moreover, nowhere else in the Gospel is Jesus called God. Rather, he is called God's son, and this is the confession that the Gospel urges its readers to make at the end of ch. 20:"[16]

Thus, bringing great significance to the conjunction (καὶ) in 14:1 & 20:28 by giving it an adjunctive force that which brings two possible antecedents to the titles employed. Jesus, his & his disciples God. To make a short hermeneutical point; Context always triumphs and guides stand-alone grammar features. [17]

Does this view reek of Modalism?

The outlandish charges of "modalism" are unwarranted. Chapter 14 exhibits a clear distinction between God the Father and Jesus. The very important adjunctive καὶ (believe also) is in full compliance. Verse 7 exegetically confirms a unitarian and not a modalist thesis. For Jesus says "If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also". The verb ἐγνώκειτέ has no compatible ontological connotations.

So to it, Jesus in 14:9 says "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father" is what we see in 20:28. This is not to say they are the same person, but the Father dwells in the Son spiritually and does the work in Christ proves essential, this is a far cry from maintaining that the Son just is the Father with no fundamental ontological distinctions. This is basic Unitarianism, not Modalism.

How is 14:1 relevant when the disciples were already believers?

In John 14:1, πιστεύετε can be taken as an indicative or imperative but the case for the imperative meaning is more decisive. It likewise perplexed me as to why Jesus would command His disciples to believe in God and also him when they already did. Yet Jesus was still validating one disciple’s faith at the inclusio (vs 31). The explanation offered by Beasley-Murray offers an excellent solution:

"The following imperative “keep on believing in God” is entirely in place (rather than an indicative statement); the world may appear to have gone mad, but the disciples must continue to believe in God as the sovereign Lord of creation. “Keep on believing in me” will be much more difficult; how can the disciples continue to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God and Son of Man, when he is dragged off to the courts, condemned by the rulers, nailed to a cross, and mocked by the onlookers? Only the kind of faith seen in Abraham—“who against all hope, in hope believed” (Rom 4:18)—can prevail in such circumstances, and that is why they are bidden, “keep on believing in me.”[18]

The concept of God’s anointed being in close association with God is common theme in the Bible. Consider Exodus 14:31, Moses was a co-object of belief for the covenant people of YHWH. The LXX uses the verb ἐπίστευσανand is applied to the Supreme deity and his human servant. Also see 1 Sam 12:18, 1 Chronicles 29:20 & 2 Chronicles 31:8

The significance of the inclusio in 20:31

John concludes: “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Should we ask, does this declaration at the end of the chapter from John seem de-climatic from 20:28? I propose it does indeed, if one believes Thomas's confession in 20:28 is a deep Christological proof text of the Deity of Christ. There appears to be no grammatical or contextual warrant to see otherwise. We will examine the semantic ranges of ὁ Χριστὸς & ὁ υἱὸς θεοῦ. There is a case to be made that both titles are used somewhat distinctively but without much of a difference. Largely because the structure Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁΧριστὸς & ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ are likely in an epexegetical* relationship. That is, that ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (the Son of God) is a clarification of Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁΧριστὸς (Jesus is the Christ). The latter term is used in an adjectival semantic. Secondly, we have historical prevalence to see a link between both terms explained in texts that express the coming of a promised Davidic ruler. See II Samuel 7:13-14 where it explicitly speaks about sonship and messianic implications. Additionally, most translations rendered in english separate the terms with a comma (,), and this is a clear sign of an epexegetical arrangement. The first clause, (“but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;") of the verse seems more contextually related than that of the second clause, though in the same discourse ("and that believing ye may have life in his name.").

A scriptural-compatible analogy can be seen in Ephesians 1:1 as a true epexegetical structure. It reads in the ASV, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

*Greek: παυλος αποστολος χριστου ιησου δια θεληματος θεου τοις αγιοις τοις ουσιν [εν εφεσω] και πιστοις εν χριστω ιησου

What is the relationship of παυλος & αποστολος χριστου ιησου? I contend that αποστολος χριστου ιησου explains and gives clarity to the name παυλος. Paul is the equivalent of an apostle of Christ and can be synonymously visualized with each other. Thus, epexegetical. It can also be argued that "to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:” are also systematically epexegetical.

Although commas are interpretive, they illustrate how the terms are committed to each other. This is not to say that there maybe contextual exceptions, but it would not suffice here because the text points to only one antecedent who carries either title. Jesus. However, the evidence for historical and linguistic warrant is overwhelming.

It is quite astounding, although customary for all gospel writters, for the author to give his own functional equivalence for words or concepts that may seem ambiguous, retricted or flexible on the surface. This is what I believe is the beauty of the Gospels, they usually immediately clear up any ambiguity we may have about terms. Neither title, "the Christ and "Son of God” seems to reference Jesus’ deity because both titles are used synonymously according to the structure of the verse.


The story of the unbelief of Thomas is a narrative peculiar to the Gospel of John. Founded on the evidence cited in the immediate context here, the obvious understanding is that Thomas was using Ὁ Κύριός μου [my Lord] as a designation for Jesus (who was the man on earth standing in front of him) and ὁ Θεός μου [my God] as a marker for God The Father (who was another being, influentially in him and positioned in heaven).

A few points:

  1. 1 Sam 20:12 (LXX), although a hebraism as opposed to John 20:28 which is natural native Greek, the syntax is not the issue, but both are expressing similar ideas. The 3rd person verb εἶπεν is emphatic in 1 Sam 20:12 just like in 20:28 (καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Ὁ Θωμᾶς καὶ *εἶπεν αὐτῷ) because we have two instances where an individual was speaking to another, yet a 3rd subject was acknowledged in a doxología fashion. Though not precisely direct addressed.

  2. The charge of Unitarianism is supporting an antithetical and a self-refuting position [as some have claimed] with respect to Jesus in conjunction with God the Father being objects of belief are a result of a lack of familiarity with Unitarianism. For two persons to be the object of someone's belief doesn't put them equally on par in ontology, especially given the nuances at hand. Trinitarians and Deity of Christ proponents alike continue to conflate essence with non-substantial propositions when the Father and Son are mentioned. Likewise, It’s a simple command and reaffirmation that we are to πιστεύω (believe) in the True God and the True God’s sent human Son (Prophets were also representations of God on earth, thus the Israelites were required to believe them also). There are no metaphysical implications to that. Another, if for example God’s decree requires our obedience, then that is just what we should do. It’s quite similar to his moral laws. We are to obey his moral laws which he gave to his creation (because they represent him much like Christ), however that doesn’t make the law equal to an ontological equality with God… Yes, we acknowledge and πιστεύω (place confidence in or see to be true) that the man Jesus was sent by the True God to reconcile on our behalf, thus an important component of our faith. That is indeed part and parcel of Unitarianism.

  3. To dismiss the anaphoric origins of the entire incident that stretches back to Chapter 14 is to dismiss the entire context of Thomas’s famous declaration in 20:28 and Jesus’s inclusio in 20:31. Messiaship and Sonship seems to be an emphasis with the two terms interpreted as equals. Along with the "seeing and believing" theme that is emphatically expounded upon in the book. It has been demonstrated that it is highly unlikely that the relationship between “My Lord” and “My God” is coordinate, connective and copulative, but rather additive or adjunctive. That is, adding an idea with dual subjects. Likewise, the splitting of the titles in the immediate context in verses 13 (κύριόν μου) & 17 (θεόν μου) proves reasonable for our interpretation as to what titles should be applied to whom. The traditional view that one referent is addressed would be more favorable if a grammatical Hebraism was present in a book that Grammarians identify as mostly free from them. [19]

We could also propose another grammatical argument based upon the use of the two definite articles in John 20:28 to distinguish the titles from one another. However, It's susceptible to see the distinctive usage of each title that the author established earlier in the context (John 20:13,17) that should oversee the way we understand how Thomas used them both in the controversial text. The appeal to LXX parallels to John 20:28 such as those in Psalms is actually evidence against the view that John 20:28 has one person in view. The repeated personal pronoun with the copulative και is an ungrammatical Hebraism which is not found in the book of John.

It can be shown without a doubt, that all other usages of "ὁ Θεός μου" throughout the rest of the apostolic writings were explicitly attributed to God the Father (and not Jesus). Thus, there's no reason to isolate John 20:28 as a parallel to John 1 and try to force the title to be intended for Jesus when much like all the Gospels, the immediate context usually gives the anaphoric origins. That is, the statement must be stabilized by the words of Jesus himself.

In retrospect, as mentioned earlier one would need to uncover an example in native koine Greek to weaken the conclusion of my outcome. For what it's worth, there exist a more probable Greek syntactical structure that would have emphatically proven Jesus was the lone antecedent to the confession. It could have read as such, "ο κυριε μου και ο θεε μου...".

The Raija Sollamo research that this paper builds on is exceptionally strong evidence that the repeated pronoun will not be found with the correlative και except in translation Greek, or Greek with a particular grammatical solecism.[20] This means that the only grammatical way to view the syntax is with και as adjunctive or additive, along the lines of “My Lord, and [also] my God.” However, theologically speaking , when looking at this text zoomed out, Trinitarians should not have an issue with the two-person view. Since according to Trinitarianism, ὁ θεός μου can be applied likewise to God the Father.[21] Theodore of Mopsuestia an ancient commentator, interestingly read a one-person view, that the titles ὁ κύριός μου & ὁ θεός μου was a designation for the Father only [22]…For clarity, my article is not intended to be a roadblock against truth, It's only a roadblock against tradition.

Forwarded by I.apologist


References :

[1] See Stanley E. Porter’s notes on the origins in “Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament / edited by Stanley E. Porter” BRILL ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS, INC,BOSTON · LEIDEN 2002 pg 7 … He notes “The underlying hermeneutical philosophies of grammatico-historical exegesis began to be formulated as early as 1788 by the Leipzig theologian Karl Keil. Keil explained that, to interpret an author meant nothing more than to teach what meaning he intended to convey, or to assure that, when reading a work, the interpreter would think the same things as the author initially conceived.” See also Dr. Russell T. Fuller’s interview at

[2] Jhn 20:13 “Because they have taken away my Lord” [τὸν κύριόν μου”]: Jhn 20:17 “Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” [καὶ θεόν μου καὶ θεὸν ὑμῶν]…Some Trinitarian apologist seems to take the conjunction καὶ in this verse as a alternative or disjunctive conjunction. That is, the idea of The Father being our God and Father is different from the Father being Jesus’ God and Father. However, there is not grammatical or contextual reasoning for this claim, as all signs point to a comparative conjunction. That is that God the Father was worshipped by Jesus, Mary, and the disciples.

[3]Epexegesis/epexegetical: Additional explanation or explanatory material. [Greek epexēgēsis, from epexēgeisthai, to explain in detail : ep-, epi-, epi- + exēgeisthai, to explain; see exegesis.] Apposition: a grammatical construction in which two usually adjacent nouns having the same referent stand in the same syntactical relation to the rest of a sentence. [Also see "The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar" by Daniel B. Wallace. Pg. 490]

[4] See James D.G. Dunn's “Did the first Christians worship Jesus?” pg. 110

[5] For scriptural references see Gen.14:22 (LXX), Philip. 4:19, Dan. 9:3 (LXX) and Rev. 21:22

[6] John 14:1; Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε

[7] "In native KOINE Greek when the copulative KAI connects two titles of personal description [viz. singular nouns, plural nouns, article noun kai noun constructions (e.g. 1Th 3:11) or compound proper name (e.g. 2Th 2:16) which are both either articular or anarthrous] and a personal pronoun in the genitive case modifies the first of the said titles, and is repeated with respect to the second title, there are always two persons (e.g. Jn 20:28; 1Th 3:11; 2Th 2:16;1Ti 1:1) or groups of persons (e.g. Mt 12:49; Mk 3:33-34) in view."( archives/html4/2000-10/2482.html)

[8] Smart’s rule specifies the copulative και, however some tagged as such are really adjunctive.

[9] Corpus from Sollamo: Polybius: The first five books of his histories, which are available in direct manuscript tradition. Ptolemaic Papyri: Cairo Zen Nos 59001-59139, Rev.L. (in full),Witk.Ep. (in full), UPZ Nos 1-170. Inscriptions: The inscriptions from the last three centuries B.C. published in Dittenberger's Sylloge (Ditt.Syll.3 Nos 310-767) and Ptolemaic material in Ditt. OGI (Nos 16-198). Jewish Greek: Pseudo-Aristeas (= The Letter of Aristeas), 2 Macc, Philo: De migratione, and Josephus: The first book of his DeBello Iudaico. (Sollamo, p. 7)

[10] See: (BDAG, 2000); A marker to indicate an additive relation that is not coordinate to connect clauses and sentences.

[12] Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel.” [σὺ εἶ ὁυἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ] Jhn 1:49

[13] See Harris, "Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus" (pg.106-7); He notes about the direct address that “In addition, the immediate context (w. 24-27, 29) contains numerous references to Jesus, but none to the Father, so that a sudden apostrophe is highly improbable, especially since the whole statement is introduced by εἶπεν αὐτῷ.”…More modern evangelical Grammarians interpreters see it as the nominative for vocative, i.e William Verner’s Facebook post here

[14] see John 14:5,10

[15] 1 Samuel 20:12 καὶ εἶπεν Ιωναθαν πρὸς Δαυιδ κύριος ὁ θεὸς Ισραηλ οἶδεν ὅτι ἀνακρινῶ τὸν πατέρα μου ὡς ἂν ὁ καιρὸς τρισσῶς καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀγαθὸν ᾖ περὶ Δαυιδ καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀποστείλω πρὸς σὲ εἰς ἀγρόν: compare Jhn. 20:28, “καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Ὁ Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου…2 referents are acknowledged and one antecedent is directly addressed in both text because ὁ Ἰησοῦς in vs 26 is clearly the antecedent to αὐτῷ in vs 28 in the gospel, likewise Δαυιδ is the only possible antecedent to whom Ιωναθαν addresses in the OT text, notwithstanding ὁ θεὸς being declared.

[16] Full quote from Margaret Davies on John 20:28 :"The final instance [in which Jesus is potentially called 'God' in GJohn] occurs in Thomas's response to meeting the resurrected Jesus. Jesus encourages Thomas to change from an unbeliever to a believer, and Thomas's 'My Lord and my God' (20:28) is his expression of belief (see 20:29). Naturally, the interpretation of Thomas's words was hotly debated by early church theologians who wanted to use it in support of their own christological definitions. Those who understood 'my Lord' to refer to Jesus, and 'my God' to refer to God were suspected of christological heresy in the fifth century CE. Many modern commentators have also rejected that interpretation and instead they understand the confession as an assertion that Jesus is both Lord and God. In doing so they are forced to interpret 'God' as a reference to the Λόγος. But it is perfectly appropriate for Thomas to respond to Jesus' resurrection with a confession of faith both in Jesus as his Lord and in God who sent and raised Jesus. Interpreting the confession in this way actually makes much better sense in the context of the Fourth Gospel. In 14:1 belief both in God and in Jesus is encouraged, in a context in which Thomas is particularly singled out. Moreover, nowhere else in the Gospel is Jesus called God. Rather, he is called God's son, and this is the confession that the Gospel urges its readers to make at the end of ch. 20: 'These things are written that you may believe or continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that continuing to believe you may have life in his name' (20:31). If we understand Thomas's confession as an assertion that Jesus is God, this confession in 20.31 becomes an anti-climax." (Rhetoric and Reference in the Fourth Gospel), pp. 125, 126

[17] as adjunctive, i.e. introducing something in addition to what has already been mentioned, also (Danker, 2009)

[18] WBC, John, 249

[19] See Winer, 1897, p. 39, “In a grammatical point of view the N.T. idiom bears few traces of Hebrew influence.”, “The N.T. writers considered separately exhibit extremely few purely grammatical peculiarities. Only the book of Rev. requires particular, though not exceptional, attention in a treatise on the grammar of the N.T.”: Some NT books, particularly the Synoptics have Hebraisms…See also Moulton (A Grammar of New Testament Greek by James Hope Moulton, Volume II, p. 33), he says John’s latter part of the gospel do not to contain “a breach of the laws of grammar.”

[20] Sollamo concludes "the normal LXX practice of repeating the possessive pronoun with coordinate items proves to be a Hebraism." (Sollamo, “the Repetition of the Possessive Pronouns in the Septuagint.”1995)

[21] Morna Hooker increases the suspicion that John 20:28 is simply a confessional statement rather than a dogmatic prescription and thus has to be treated with caution. Also Cupitt also warns that ‘People might feel impelled to cry out “Long live the King!” ... the early Christians may have acclaimed Jesus as if he were a god to them, positing him as divine without thought of the theological problems this must one day raise’ (Cupitt 1979, 36)

[22] Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428), a 4th century Antiochene whose work survives in fragments only. Theodore was a truly extraordinary commentator, and if his work survived in totality he would rank with Ambrosiaster or even higher.


Definitions *

Epexegetical is an adjective that describes something that provides additional explanation or clarification. In particular, it refers to a type of interpretation or commentary that explains the meaning of a text or passage in more detail. Epexegetical writing often involves breaking down complex ideas into smaller parts and providing examples or analogies to make them more understandable.

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