While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NIV)
1. Scholars debate the exact translation of this verse, and the two sides of that debate are seen in the various translations. Some scholars believe that “glory” is used in an adjectival sense, and that the verse should be translated as above in the NIV. Versions that follow suit are the KJV and the Amplified Version. Many other versions, such as the Revised Version, American Standard Version, NAS, Moffatt, RSV, NRSV, Douay, New American Bible, NEB, etc., translate the verse very differently. The NASB is a typical example. It reads, “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” The difference between the translations is immediately apparent. In the NIV, etc., we await the “glorious appearing” of God, while in the NAS and other versions we await the “appearing of the glory” of God our Savior (this is a use of “Savior” where the word is applied in the context to God, not Christ. See the note on Luke 1:47), i.e., we are looking for the “glory” of God, which is stated clearly as being “Jesus Christ.” Of course, the glory will come at the appearing, but Scripture says clearly that both the glory of the Son and the glory of the Father will appear (Luke 9:26). God’s Word also teaches that when Christ comes, he will come with his Father’s glory: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory” (Matt. 16:27). Keeping in mind that what is revealed in other places in the Bible about a certain event often clarifies what is being portrayed in any given verse, it becomes apparent from other scriptures referring to Christ’s coming that the Bible is not trying to portray God and Christ as one God. In this case, the glory of God that we are waiting for is Jesus Christ.
2. It has been stated that the grammar of Titus 2:13 forces the interpretation that Jesus is God because of the Granville Sharp Rule of grammar. That is not the case, however. The Granville Sharp rule has been successfully challenged, and an extensive critique of it occurs in this appendix in the notes on Ephesians 5:5. The point is that when Scripture refers to “our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” it can mean two beings—both the “Great God,” and the “Savior,” Jesus Christ. The highly regarded Trinitarian Henry Alford gives a number of reasons as to why the grammar of the Greek does not force the interpretation of the passage to make Christ God.
3. The context of the verse helps us to understand its meaning. The verse is talking about saying “no” to ungodliness while we wait for the appearing of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of God. Its purpose is not to expound the doctrine of the Trinity in any way, nor is there any reason to assume that Paul would be making a Trinitarian reference here. It makes perfect sense for Scripture to call Christ “the glory of God” and for the Bible to exhort us to say “no” to ungodliness in light of the coming of the Lord, which will be quickly followed by the Judgment (Matt. 25:31-33; Luke 21:36).
1. The Greek New Testament (Chicago, Moody Press, 1968 edition, Vol. 3), pp. 419-421. Back to top