Re: GS Rule in 1 John 5:20

Date: Wed May 17 2000 - 15:32:02 EDT

In a message dated 05/17/2000 12:04:34 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

<< Greetings:
 I'm a little ashamed to admit that I haven't followed the various
 discussions on the Granville Sharp rule too carefully, and I know I
 should check the archives. However, perhaps someone will just give me a
 quick "yes" or "no" on the following question.
 Am I correct in concluding that "...hO ALHQINOS QEOS KAI ZWH AIWVIOS," in
 1 John 5:20, is an example of the rule?
 Many thanks.
 Ted >>

Dear Ted:

There was some extensive consideration of this text back in the early part of
1999, I believe, between myself, Carl, and others.

This text does not conform to the typical GS pattern. We have the difference
in gender between THEOS and ZWH, for starters. Also, there is the issue of
the adjective AIWNIOS.

In addition to what you will read in the archives, there are two very
significant observations to keep in mind when interpreting 1 John 5:20. The
first has to do with the immediate context. In the first part of 1 John 5:20
we are told that the Son of God has come and given us the ability to know TON
ALHQINON ("the true one"). This creates a distinction between the two, for
one gives us a knowledge of the other, but TON ALHQINON is clearly the most
natural antecedent for hO ALHQINOS QEOS ("the true God"), who is
distinguished from Jesus (ZWH AIWNIOS ["everlasting life"]-compare 1Jo 1:2)
hO hUIOS AUTOU ("the Son of him" [AUTOS = "the true one"]).

The reference to "the Son of him" appears to be decisive evidence for
applying TON ALHQINON ("the true one") to the Father. It is only natural,
then, to view hO ALHQINOS QEOS and TON ALHQINON as the same individual,
namely, the Father.

The second observation has to do with the fact that Jesus restricted the
application of hO ALHQINOS QEOS to his Father in John 17:1-3 (note the use of
MONOS ["only"]). Thus, if hO ALHQINOS QEOS is a title that is said to belong
"only" to the Father, and if Jesus was the one commonly understood as
"everlasting life" (1Jo 1:2) then we likely have a situation where both nouns
and their accompanying adjectives created a semantic distinction between the
two. The concepts associated with each semantic signal, in the mind of John
and his readers, were only properly associated with distinct individuals.

Best Regards,

Greg Stafford

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:26 EDT