The KJV and The Deity of Jesus Christ

This study is looking at the Greek grammar in a couple of passages in the New Testament, where the King James Version (KJV), is wrong in its translation from the Greek.

Titus 2:13

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (1611, edition)

προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

The KJV makes this to refer to two Persons, “the Great God”, as in God the Father; and “our Saviour Jesus Christ”. But this is not how the Greek construction has it. Note the unwarranted use of the comma after “God”, to show that two Persons are meant! In the Original Greek, there are no punctuations used.

On Titus 2:13, the words of the Greek scholar, Dr George Winer, will suffice on how we should understand the words of the Apostle Paul;

“In the above remarks it was not my intention to deny that, in point of grammar, Σωτηρoς ²μωv (our Saviour) may be regarded as a second predicate, jointly dependent on the article τoυ (the); but the dogmatic conviction derived from Paul's writings that this apostle cannot have called Christ the great God induced me to show that there is no grammatical obstacle to our taking the clause και Σωτ...Χριστoυ (from, 'and to Christ') by itself as referring to a second subject"

(A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, p.162. 1877 edition. - words in brackets are mine)

I have chosen Dr Winer’s remarks on purpose, because though was a great Greek grammarian, his “theology” was anti Trinitarian, and being a Unitarian, did not accept the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this note on this verse, it is clear that Dr Winer admits that in accordance with the Greek grammar, there is no doubt that Paul here calls Jesus Christ, both “the Great God and Saviour”. However, as admitted by Dr Winer, it was his “theology” that prevented him in accepting the fact, that Paul could and does call Jesus Christ, “the Great God”.

It is evident, that because of the importance of this verse in direct testimony to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, some, for purely theological reasons, translate the Greek to suit them. So we have the New Testament by Dr George Noyes, where it reads, “of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ”. Noyes was a Unitarian, so we cannot expect him to admit to the Deity of Jesus Christ! However, the 1985 Kingdom Interlinear Greek translation published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is very interesting. The English in the right-hand column, (In the narrower right-hand column of the pages will be found the 20th-century language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, p. 5) reads: "of our God and [the] Saviour Jesus Christ". [the] shows that it is not part of the text, but has been added to make “God” and “Saviour Jesus Christ”, as two distinct Persons! It is clear that the JW’s here admit to Jesus Christ being called “the Great God and Saviour”. This can also be seen in their other publication, the 1942 version of the Emphatic Diaglott, a Greek-English translation. Under the Greek text, the literal English reads, “of the great God and Savior of us Jesus Anointed”. The English in the right-hand column, reads, “the GLORY of our GREAT GOD and Savior Jesus Christ”. No one can doubt that this verse says that Jesus Christ IS the GREAT GOD, and Savior!

It is evident from the construction of the sentence in the Greek, that the "first rule" laid down by Granville Sharpe, applies here.

 "When the copulative και (and) connects two nouns of the same case, if the article Ï (the) or any of its cases precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or  participle, the latter always relates to   the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle; i.e, it denotes a further description of the first-named person"

( Granville Sharp; Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament, Containing many proofs of the Divinity of Christ, page 8)

This rules soundness can be seen in a couple of examples. In Ephesians 5:5, Paul writes, “τη βασιλεια του χριστου και θεου”, where we have the use of the one article “του”, and the copulative “και”. The natural way to understand this is, “the Kingdom of Christ and God”, as being of only the one Person. In 2 Thessalonians 1:12, Paul writes, “την χαριν του θεου ημων και κυριου ιησου χριστου”, literally, “the grace of  our God and Lord Jesus Christ”. Again, the use of the one article “του”, and the copulative “και”, show that only one Person is meant!

Instead of writing “τοῦ μεγάλου τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”; had Paul written, “τοῦ μεγάλου τοῦ Κυριoυ ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”. There would be no problem in anyone translating this into English as, “our Great Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”!

This takes us the next example of the error in the translation of the KJV

2 Peter 1:1

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (1611)

Συμεὼν Πέτρος δοῦλος καὶ ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

Like Titus 2:13, the KJV has translated this to mean two Persons, “of God”, the Father, and “our Saviour Jesus Christ”. Note the unwarranted use of the comma after “God”, to show that two Persons are meant! Which is not what the Greek grammar says. The same “rule” established by Granville Sharp, applies here.

In 2 Peter 2:20, and 3:18, the Greek has, “του κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”. The KJV translates both as, “of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ(1611), and “of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”. The Greek in 1:1 is, “τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ”, (1611) where the only difference is, in 1:1, we have τοῦ Θεοῦ”, and in the other two places, του κυρίου”. If in the latter two the Greek refers to only the one Person, then why in 1:1, where the Greek construction and wording is the same, it means two Persons?

Again, even the JW’s Emphatic Diaglott, gets it right in the reading of the English in the right-hand column, which reads, “by the Righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”

Just two important texts on the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the KJV has got wrong. This shows that those who hold to the veiw, that this version is “Inspired”, and “perfect”, is one that is based, not on facts, but personal sentiment!