James White and his criticism of Titus 2:13 in the King James Bible
Titus 2:13 - " Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
James White has a lot to say in his book, The King James Version Controversy, about how badly he thinks the King James Bible mangles the meaning of this verse and obscures the Deity of Christ. On page 81 he says: "the KJV is shown to be wanting in Titus 2:13." On page 201 he says, regarding Titus 2:13 in the KJB: "The simple fact is that the KJV provides an inferior translation, one that unintentionally detracts from the presentation of the full deity of Jesus Christ. The unwillingness of KJV defenders to overlook this fact is most disturbing." [End of James White's comments]
James White is entitled to his personal opinions, but there are a couple of things you should know about this man. He SAYS he believes the Bible IS the infallible words of God, but if you ask him to show you a copy of this infallible Bible he professes to believe in, he will never tell you. He will immediately try to change the subject.
Secondly, I believe he and many like him have been deceived when it comes to the Bible version issue. The modern version he promotes like the ESV, NIV, NASB are all in fact the new Vatican Versions. The Vatican has made a formal agreement with the United Bible Society to create an "inter confessional" text to unite "the separated brethren" and one of the main editors of this text was the Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Martini. Nobody seriously believes any of these modern versions are the inerrant words of God; certainly not the people who put them together. Don't believe it? Then please see my article and the links found in it called James White - the Protestant Pope of the new Vatican Versions
And thirdly, James White is completely wrong in his understanding and analysis of Titus 2:13 as it stands not only in the King James Bible but in many others as well. The King James Bible is actually the most literal translation of the Greek text here and it brings out a special truth that apparently is hidden from Bible correctors like James White.
Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR Jesus Christ;”
Here the critics like James White and others say the KJB rendering does not fully bring out the deity of Jesus Christ. I don’t really understand what they are talking about, because when I read this passage, it clearly declares that Jesus Christ is both the great God as well as our Saviour.
Even a basic Greek grammar book like Dana and Mantey in their book A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, on page 147 when discussing the definite article with nouns connected by kai, give Titus 2:13 as one of the examples - του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ιησου χριστου - and then state in no uncertain terms - "After the same manner, του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ιησου χριστου, ASSERTS THAT JESUS IS THE GREAT GOD AND SAVIOUR."
"Scholarly opinions" are constantly changing. What one affirms, another denies. I do not place my trust in them. The "scholars" and those who follow them, can always say "Oh, well scholars used to believe that way, but now we know better." It is just musical chairs. Then somebody else will come along with his new theory or "deep insight" and disagree with those who have gone before him. I have zero confidence in the so called scholars.
But when I read the passage in Titus 2:13, it clearly says to me that Jesus Christ is both the great God and our Saviour.
The verse says: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious APPEARING of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Since God the Father is a spirit and is invisible, then He cannot appear Himself. So who is this "the great God" that appears in such a way that we will actually see Him? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. And He is the great God of everybody, saved and unsaved, but He is also OUR Saviour. For me, the KJB makes perfect sense and it does follow the Greek word order. It is the fake bibles like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, ESV etc. that change things and miss the point.
Dr. Larry Bednar, who also addresses this passage at his KJV Textual Technology site correctly asks: "One wonders if White thinks saints and faithful brethren (Col.1:2) separates saints and faithful brethren, as if they were two different types. Or does he think God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Col.1:3) separates God from the Father, as if the Father were not God?"
The NKJV, NIV, ESV and NASB translate this verse in different ways. They don't even agree with each other. The NKJV is not quite as bad as the NIV, NASB, ESV in that it says: "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of OUR great God and Savior Jesus Christ".
The NKJV does not follow the literal Greek word order as does the King James Bible and it obscures the full and wonderful truths we see in the King James Bible.
But the NIV, NASB, ESV don't have us looking for THE APPEARING OF GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR Jesus Christ" but instead looking for THE APPEARING OF THE GLORY of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." God's glory and His actually appearance can be two different things. The heaven declare the glory of God, but it is not God Himself.
At one of the forums a Vatican Version defender and unbeliever in the inerrancy of ANY Bible, named Sam, posted: “As you can see the word for “appearing” (επιφανειαν) precedes the words “the glory” (της δοξης). So if we go by word order then the versions which read “and appearing of the glory…” are more correct. However, the reason why some versions along with the AV render the phrase “glorious appearing” is because they take the words της δοξης (“the glory”) as an adjective modifying the word επιφανειαν (“appearing”). So it isn’t as simple as you make it out to be. Therefore, you need to either revamp your article to address these points or, better yet, you need to simply drop this point altogether since such an argument only provides further documentation for your inconsistency.”
To whom I responded: Sam, is it wrong to use a Greek noun in conjunction with another noun and translated it as an adjective? Yes or No? The fact is, even in his modern Vatican versions they do the same thing with the same word "glory" (της δοξης) and make it an adjective when connected to the main noun in a phrase.
For example, the ESV does this both in Philippians 3:21 - "to be like his GLORIOUS body" (συμμορφον τω σωματι της δοξης αυτου) and in Colossians 1:11 - "according to his GLORIOUS might" (κατα το κρατος της δοξης αυτου).
The NASB does this same thing with the same word in Colossians 1:11 and in 1 Timothy 1:11 "according to the GLORIOUS gospel" (κατα το ευαγγελιον της δοξης) and the NIV does the same in 2 Corinthians 3:8 "the ministration of the Spirit be even more GLORIOUS" (διακονια του πνευματος εσται εν δοξη), in Philippians 3:21 "his glorious body" and in Colossians 1:11 "his glorious might".
While the NKJV does the same thing with the same word in Romans 8:21 - "the GLORIOUS liberty of the children of God" (την ελευθεριαν της δοξης των τεκνων του θεου), 2 Corinthians 3 verses 7, 8 and 11 (twice) - "ministry was GLORIOUS", Philippians 3:21 "his GLORIOUS body", Colossians 1:11 "His GLORIOUS power", and 1 Timothy 1:11 "the GLORIOUS gospel" for a total of 8 times.
So what we see here is that our self appointed school boy Greek "expert" Sam doesn't know his Greek as well as he thinks he does, and he STILL has NO inerrant Bible to believe in himself or to give to anybody else.
It is necessary to point out two very important things in this verse. Number one is that the Greek reads exactly as it stands in the KJB, and not as it is in the NKJV, NIV, ESV and NASB.
The Greek in all texts reads “the great God and OUR Saviour.” This is one of the few verses in the N.T. that has no textual variants; they all read the same and the King James Bible is the most literal by far. All Greek text read -προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων ιησου χριστου
This is the important part here - της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων ιησου χριστου = the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The crucial difference in meaning is this. When Christ appears again in glory, He is the God of everybody - every man, woman and child, believer or unbeliever - but He is OUR Saviour. He is the Saviour of only those who are true Christians, but He is the God and creator of all, and He will be the judge of those who have not believed on Him. Jesus Christ is BOTH the Great God AND OUR Saviour. We are looking for Him to appear as such, and this truth is fully brought out in the King James Bible and many others that have likewise translated it this way by following the literal Greek text.
"The Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
Other Bible translations that read as does the KJB are Wycliffe’s 1380, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535 - " appearynge of the glory of ye greate God and of oure Sauioure Iesu Christ", the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Douay-Rheims 1582 - "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.", the Geneva Bible 1599 - "that mightie God, and of our Sauiour Iesus Christ", the Beza N.T. 1599, Mace's N.T. 1729, Whiston's Primitive N.T. 1745, John Wesley's translation 1755, Worsley Translation 1770, Webster’s Bible 1833, Etheridge Translation 1849, Murdoch's translation 1851 and Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta 1933 - "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ", the Emphatic Dioglott 1865, the Living Oracles 1835, Julia Smith translation 1855, Noyles Translation 1869, Alford N.T. for English Readers 1870, The Revised English Bible 1877, the ASV of 1901 - "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ", Rotherham's Emphasized Bible 1902 "the glory of the great God and our Saviour Christ Jesus", Worrell N.T. 1904, James Moffatt N.T. 1913 - "the Glory of the great God and of our Saviour Christ Jesus", Riverside N.T. 1923 - " appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ", J.B. Phillips 1962, the New American Bible 1991, The Word of Yah 1993 - "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Yahshua the Christ", the KJV 21st Century 1994, Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce), Lawrie Translation 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998 - “looking for the blessed expectation and esteemed appearance of the great Elohim and our Saviour yahushua Messiah”, the Third Millennium Bible 1998 - "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.", The Last Days N.T. 1999, Tomson N.T. 2002, The Apostolic Polyglot Bible 2003, Concordant Version 2006, Faithful N.T. 2009, Biblos Interlinear Bible 2011 - "the great God and Saviour of us Christ Jesus", The New European Version 2010 - “as we look for the blessed hope: The manifesting of the glory of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ”, The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bbile 2011, Conservative Bible 2011 - "the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ", The Aramaic N.T. 2011 - "the revelation of the glory of The Great God and Our Lifegiver, Yeshua The Messiah", Hebrew Names Version 2014 - “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah”, the Holy Bible Modern Literal Version 2014, The Modern Literal New Testament 2014 - "the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ"
Many foreign language Bible translate the passage exactly as the King James Bible has it. Among these are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602 and 1865, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, Spanish Jubilee Bible 2000, and Spanish La Palabra 2010 - "la manifestación gloriosa del gran Dios y Salvador nuestro Jesucristo.”, the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910 - “l'apparition de la gloire du grand Dieu, et notre Sauveur, Jésus-Christ”, the Italian Diodati 1649, and La Nuova Diodati 1991 - “della gloria del grande Dio e Salvatore nostro, Gesú Cristo.”, the Portuguese de Almeida 1681 and A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués - "o aparecimento da glória do grande Deus e nosso Salvador Jesus Cristo", the Russian Zhuromsky New Testament, the Norwegian Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930-"og åpenbarelsen av den store Guds og vår frelser Jesu Kristi herlighet,", the Finnish Bible 1776 - " ja suuren Jumalan ja meidän Lunastajamme Jesuksen Kristuksen ilmestystä", the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible - "van den groten God en onzen Zaligmaker Jezus Christus;" = "of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
Martin Luther’s German translation of 1545 also reads just like the King James Bible as does the German Schlachter Bible of 2000 with: “großen Gottes und unsers Heilandes Jesu Christi”. = "the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Matthew Henry comments - "Jesus Christ, that great God and our Saviour, who saves not only as God, much less as Man alone; but as God-man, two natures in one person. He loved us, and gave himself for us...they are not two subjects, but one only, as appears by the single article"
John Gill comments - "and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; not two divine persons, only one, are here intended."
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown comment - "the great God and our Saviour Jesus—There is but one Greek article to "God" and "Saviour," which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being.
Joseph Benson's Commentary - "the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ...Beza is of opinion, that one person only is spoken of, namely, Jesus Christ, to whom he thinks the title of the great God is given in this verse."
Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible - "Of the great God - There can be little doubt, if any, that by “the great God” here, the apostle referred to the Lord Jesus...No one, accustomed to Paul‘s views, can well doubt that when he used this language he had his eye throughout on the Son of God"
Matthew Poole comments - "And the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; and in order thereunto, looking for the coming of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, to the last judgment. The same person is here meant by the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
James White, who is now promoting the modern Vatican Versions and who SAYS the Bible is the infallible words of God but will NEVER tell you where to get one, is dead wrong in his criticisms of this verse, and the King James Bible is absolutely correct and infallible, as always.
All of grace, believing the Book - the King James Holy Bible.
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The Glorious Appearing (1867)
An Advent Sermon
“And here, before passing from this branch of our subject, I would remark upon the convincing testimony which is borne by our text, to the supreme and unqualified divinity of our blessed Saviour. The phrase, " The Great God," is here distinctly and unquestionably applied to Christ. This language cannot apply to God the Father, for we have no intimation in Scripture, that God as such, or in contradistinction from His incarnate Son, will appear at the last day. It is said, indeed, that the Saviour will come "in the glory of His Father;" but that the Father himself will appear, is not taught in the Bible. The uniform teaching here is, that God will be manifest in His Son; that the Divine approach to our world, will he through Him, to judge our race and that though He will he accompanied with the appropriate symbols of divinity, yet it will be the Son of God alone who will be visible. When Paul used the language of our text, he had his eye on the Son of God, and expected no other manifestation than would be made through Him. In no place in the New Testament is the phrase, " the manifestation or appearing of God," applied to any other one than Christ. And no plain reader of the New Testament, accustomed to the common language there used, would have any doubt that the Apostle was referring here to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The language which the Apostle here uses, is just such language as one would use who believed that the Lord Jesus is divine, and that the name of God may properly be applied to Him. It is language which would obviously and naturally convey the idea of His divinity to one who had no theory to defend. If the Apostle did not mean this, then he used language which was exactly fitted to lead men into error; and at the same time it is to be observed, that the fair construction of the Greek here, according to the application of the most rigid rules, abundantly sustains the interrelation which the plain reader of the New Testament would affix to it- And this being the case, our text must be regarded as furnishing a most important proof of the divinity of Christ, at the same time that it shows us that the event referred to is the personal coming of our Saviour to this earth again, when it speaks of "the appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Notes From the Internet.
Brother Tony Owens has written a very good short article on Titus 2:13. Here it is.
Titus 2:13 - "the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"
Modern versions such as the NIV render this as, "While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." It is argued that the KJV incorrectly translated this passage and violated the Granville Sharpe Rule of Greek grammar.  Basically this rule states that the two nouns (God and Savior) refer to the same Person, Jesus Christ. They are correct in their understanding of this grammatical rule. They are incorrect in stating the Authorized Version has violated it.
The problem is not with the KJV, but rather a lack of understanding English grammar. In English, when two nouns are separated by the phrase and our, the context determines if the nouns refer to two persons or to two aspects of the same person. Consider the following sentence, "He was a great hero and our first president, General George Washington." This statement is not referring to two persons but two aspects of the same person. Washington was a great hero by anyone's standards, but he was not everyone's president. He was our president.
The same is true of the phrase in Titus 2:13. When Christ returns He is coming as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He is returning as the great God (Titus 2:13; Revelation 19:17). Therefore, He will return as everyone's King, everyone's Lord, as the great God over all. But He is not everyone's Savior. He is only the Savior of those who have placed faith in Him. When He returns He is coming as the great God but He is also returning as our Savior, two aspects of the same Person.
This is illustrated elsewhere in Scripture. Consider the following two passages in the New Testament. In both cases two nouns are separated by the phrase and our. However, it is also clear that the two nouns refer to the same Person: God, who is our Father. In Galatians 1:4 we read, "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Likewise, in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 we read, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father." In both passages we know that God and Father are the same Person. They are separated by and our to convey the truth that the Eternal God over all is also our Father, thereby personalizing our relationship with Him.
The King James translation of Titus 2:13 is also consistent. In the Book of Titus we find the Greek phrase sotepos emon (Savior of us) used six times (1:3,4; 2:10,13; 3:4,6). Each time the Authorized Version consistently translates it as our Saviour. In the final analysis, we see that the KJV is harmonious in its use of Greek as well as in its proclamation of the deity of Christ.