Ephesians 5:5 – Did Paul Call Jesus “God” in This Verse?

For, this, ye know, if ye take note—that no fornicator, or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and God. — Ephesians 5:5, Rotherham

Unless otherwise noted, scripture citations are from the World English Bible translation.

Ephesians 5:5 is often quoted as proof that Jesus is God Almighty. Of course, the scripture does not really say that Jesus is God Almighty, but some could read this into the phraseology used. The question is, was it Paul’s intention here to call Jesus “God”, or rather was he emphasizing the kingdom that God has given to Jesus? That the kingdom is given to Jesus by God (Yahweh, Jehovah) can be seen from the following scriptures: Psalm 2:7,8; 110:1,2; Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:32; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:13,14; Hebrews 1:2,6; Isaiah 11:1-4; 42:1; John 5:22,23,27-30; Acts 17:31.

According to some of the trinitarians who believe that Jesus is God, the lack of the definite article before God and its presence before Christ in the Greek would seem to indicate that Christ and God being spoken of are one person (by supposedly applying Granville Sharp’s alleged “rule” concerning article-substantive-kaiv-substantive construction). Thus, according to them, Jesus is called “God.” Yet the context indicates that two personages are being spoken of. The article (denoting possession) before kingdom is distributive between both the One Anointed (Christ) and his God. — Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 1:9.

Please note that Sharp’s rules have several exceptions, or “restrictions”, as some prefer, even according to his own admission. Even many trinitarians scholars argue that this verse offers no proof that Jesus is God, claiming that Sharp’s rule does not apply to this verse. Nevertheless, Sharp developed his rules and exceptions to these rules for the very purpose of making these rules appear to support the idea that Jesus is God Almighty.

Let us now look at how Paul uses the word “God” in Ephesians 5. “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.” (Ephesians 5:1,2) It should be plain that Paul is speaking unipersonally of the Father, not the Son, as “God” in these two verses. (Hebrews 9:14; 10:12) Likewise, in Ephesians 5:20: “giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father.” There is no reason (except to satisfy the various doctrines that claim that Jesus is Yahweh) to think that Paul is suddenly applying the term “God” to Jesus.

We also need to take notice of this point: the statement of the Christ and God does not make Jesus and God one “being”, or one God, according to Sharp’s rules, but rather one person, thus it would make Jesus and God one person, and since in the context “God” is applied to the Father, such would go against the trinitarian defintion of the trinity. Throughout Paul’s writings Paul refers to the Father as God, thus laying the foundation for realizing that he used this term in application to the Father, and therefore when he used expressions like “the Christ and God”, he is speaking of Jesus and Jesus’ Father, as illustrated by Ephesians 1:2,3,17; 4:6; 5:20; 6:23; Romans 1:3, etc.

Additionally, some trinitarians have claimed that Ephesians 5:5 is an exception, or restriction, to Sharp’s rule anyway, since it is usuage of two “proper” names. Robert Bowman, in his defense of the trinity doctrine, refers to the application of Sharp’s rule to Ephesians 5:5 as “dubious”. He states concerning Ephesians 5:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 1 Timothy 5:21; 6:13; 2 Timothy 4:1: “None of these five texts, then, can be definitely said to call Jesus “God,” and probably none of them should be taken that way.”
http://www.armchairtheologians.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/SharpsRule.pdf
(Presented for reference only; we do not agree with all of Bowman’s conclusions.)

At any rate, we prefer common sense application of scriptures in context and harmony with the entire Bible over a set of rules with restrictions designed for the very purpose of trying prove that Jesus is God Almighty.


USA
[amazon-element asin=”B005DHCC2Y” fields=”ListPrice,LowestNewPrice,LowestUsedPrice” labels=”ListPrice::List Price:,LowestNewPrice::New From:,LowestUsedPrice::Used From:” msg_instock=”In Stock”]

Canada * United Kingdom

[amazon-element asin=”B005DHCC2Y” fields=”desc” labels=”desc::Product Description:”]

         
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 Jesus and His God

3 comments to Ephesians 5:5 – Did Paul Call Jesus “God” in This Verse?

  • yt

    Those that acknowledge that the context, not the article configuration, determines whether the referent of two singular personal nouns that have the same grammatical case and that are connected by kai (and) is two persons or one person include the highly reputed German non-Trinitarian Greek grammarian Dr. George Winer (1789-1858) and the highly reputed British Trinitarian Greek grammarian Dr. Charles Ellicott (1819-1905) and the highly reputed British Trinitarian Greek grammarian Dr. Henry Alford (1810-1871).

    Those that incorrectly claim that the article configuration, not the context, determines whether the referent of the two singular personal nouns is two persons or one person include Mr. Granville Sharp (1735-1813) and Dr. Thomas Middleton (1769-1822) and Dr. A. T. Robertson (1863-1934) and Dr. Daniel Wallace (1952- ).

    Out of those seven people identified above, only Mr. Sharp and Dr. Middleton claim that the referent of the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is not two persons (the Son and Father). The other five people acknowledge that two persons (the Son and Father) are in view in Ephesians 5:5.

    Sharp’s Rule is the false belief that a singular personal non-proper article-noun-kai-noun configuration cannot refer to two persons.

    The phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a singular personal non-proper article-noun-kai-noun configuration that refers to two persons (the Son and Father), which proves that Sharp’s Rule is false.

    Dr. Robertson tries to sweep that fact under the rug, so to speak, by claiming that the noun “God” in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name, and Dr. Wallace tries to sweep it under the rug by claiming that the noun “Christ” in that phrase is a proper name.

    However, neither Dr. Robertson nor Dr. Wallace has any legitimate basis for claiming that the noun “God” or the noun “Christ” is a proper name.

    Dr. Robertson claims that the noun “God” in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name because the noun “God” is often anarthrous (not preceded by an article) in the Greek New Testament.

    However, Dr. Robertson also claims that the noun “Savior” in the phrase “of-the great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ” in Titus 2:13 is not a proper name, even though the noun “Savior” is anarthrous in the Greek New Testament more often (on a percentage basis) than the noun “God” is.

    Therefore, Dr. Robertson has no legitimate basis for his claim that the noun “God’ in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name, but that the noun “Savior” in the phrase “of-the great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ” in Titus 2:13 is not a proper name.

    Dr. Robertson’s only real reason for claiming that the noun “God” is a proper name is his unwillingness to admit that the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is proof that Sharp’s Rule is false.

    Dr. Wallace claims that the noun “Christ” in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name because the noun “Christ” is often anarthrous (not preceded by an article) in the nominative case in the Greek New Testament.

    However, Dr. Wallace also claims that the noun “Savior” in the phrase “of-the great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ” in Titus 2:13 is not a proper name, even though the noun “Savior” is anarthrous in the nominative case the Greek New Testament more often (on a percentage basis) than the noun “Christ” is.

    In fact, in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, the nouns “Christ” and “God” and “Lord” are always preceded by an article in the nominative case, whereas the noun “Savior” is not preceded by an article in the nominative case.

    Dr. Wallace also claims that the noun “Christ” is a proper name because it is not written in the plural form in the Greek New Testament.

    However, the noun “Savior,” like the noun “Christ,” is not written in the plural form in the Greek New Testament.

    Therefore, Dr. Wallace has no legitimate basis for his claim that the noun “Christ in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name, but that the noun “Savior” in the phrase “of-the great God and Savior of-us Jesus Christ” in Titus 2:13 is not a proper name.

    In a footnote on the same page on which he claims that the noun “Christ” is a proper name, Dr. Wallace even admits that the noun “Christ” in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 may well not be a proper name, which is an admission that Sharp’s Rule may well be false. Dr. Wallace’s final word on the matter at the end of that footnote is that he is undecided.

    Dr. Wallace’s only real reason for claiming that the noun “Christ” is a proper name is his unwillingness to admit that the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is proof that Sharp’s Rule is false.

    For additional information regarding the fact that Sharp’s Rule is false, see the third comment at the end of this website’s article regarding Titus 2:13 (linked below).

    http://jesus.rlbible.com/?p=1192#comment-1228

  • yt

    Correction.

    In Dr. Wallace’s footnote, Dr. Wallace’s stated reason for saying that the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 may well not be an exception to Sharp’s Rule is not his admission that the noun “Christ” may well not be a proper name (even though it is NOT a proper name), but that the noun “Christ” is the first noun instead of the second noun.

    Dr. Wallace says in that footnote that “it is possible that the reason proper names do not fit Sharp’s Rule is that they are usually in the second position.”

    In a subsequent footnote, Dr. Wallace says with more certainty that “the only real instance in which a proper name becomes a factor in Sharp’s construction is when it stands second in order.”

    That raises a question.

    If Dr. Wallace really thinks what he says in that subsequent footnote, then why does he ever suggest in the first place that the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is an exception to Sharp’s Rule because the first noun is (according to Dr. Wallace) a proper name? If he really thinks what he says in that subsequent footnote, then why is he “undecided” in the first footnote?

    According to what Dr. Wallace says in that subsequent footnote, even if the noun “Christ” were a proper name (which it is NOT), the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 would still not be an exception to Sharp’s Rule (according to Dr. Wallace) due to the fact that the noun “Christ” is the first noun instead of the second noun. Therefore, there is no reason for Dr. Wallace to be “undecided” in the first footnote.

    Dr. Wallace’s only reason for choosing to be “undecided” is his unwillingness to admit that the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is proof that Sharp’s Rule is false.

    Dr. Wallace cannot claim that the noun “God” (the second noun) in the phrase “of-the Christ and God” in Ephesians 5:5 is a proper name, because Dr. Wallace spends a lot of time explaining why the noun “God” is NOT a proper name.

    By the way, the two footnotes to which I am referring are footnote 7 on page 237 and footnote 58 on pages 253-254 in Dr. Wallace’s 2009 book, Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin, which correspond to footnotes 154 and 198 in Dr. Wallace’s 2004 essay, Sharp’s Rule Redivivus, at the webpage linked below.

    https://bible.org/article/sharp-redivivus-reexamination-granville-sharp-rule

    According to Sharp’s Rule, which incorrectly assumes that the referent and the article configuration have a causal relationship (the one being the cause of the other), it matters whether the two singular personal nouns are non-proper nouns or whether they are proper names, because a phrase such as “the Paul and Barnabas” in Acts 13:50 proves that Sharp’s Rule is false.

    In reality, the referent and the article configuration do NOT have a causal relationship (the one NOT being the cause of the other). Therefore, it does NOT matter whether the two singular personal nouns are non-proper nouns or whether they are proper names.

    The two singular personal nouns (referring either to two persons or to one person, depending on the context) can be expressed either as one idea (article-noun-kai-noun) or as two ideas (article-noun-kai-article-noun) or as neither one idea nor two ideas (noun-kai-noun), regardless of whether the nouns are non-proper nouns or proper names.

  • […] the word “THEOS”. (Some other scriptures sometimes listed by some include: John 5:18; Ephesians 5:5; Philippians 2:6,7; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16 and Revelation […]

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

Categories