From: Harold R. Holmyard III (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 12:52:50 EST

Dear Michael,

You suggest that the Granville Sharp rule should apply to the phrase
"apostles and prophets" in Eph 2:20 and 3:5. There is a good article
touching this rule by Daniel B. Wallace. Its name is "Granville Sharp: A
Model of Evangelical Scholarship and Social Activity" (Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society 41 [December 1998] 591-613). The author
says (p. 606) that the Granville Sharp rule, strictly speaking, applies
just when both nouns are singular.

Wallace adds (p. 609):

Almost without exception, those who seem to be acquainted with Sharp's rule
and agree with its validity misunderstand and abuse it. This widespread
misunderstanding shows no partiality--grammarians, exegetes, and
theologians alike are culpable. Typically the rule is perceived to extend
to plural and impersonal constructions, in spite of the fact that Sharp
restricted the rule to personal singular nouns.
What are the reasons for such abuse? For one thing, as we have seen, the
statement of Sharp's rule is not clear. Only an examination of his
monograph explicitly reveals his requirement of of personal singular nouns.
Second, the last clear statement of the limitations of Sharp's canon in any
major work was published over one hundred and fifty years ago in
Middleton's Doctrine of the Greek Article.

So the Granville Sharp rule apparently does not apply to the phrase
"apostles and prophets."

                                        Harold Holmyard

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