[b-greek] Re: APOSTOLOI KAI PROFHTAI Eph 2:20, 3:5

From: Michael McCoy (MMccoy7872@cs.com)
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 17:23:38 EDT

On 03/30/00, ""Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard@ont.com>" wrote:
> 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."
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard

Dear Harold,

         I have been thinking on this reply for many months now. Thank you
for the explanation from Mr. Wallace, it has provoked much thought. I
would like to give a quote from Granville Sharp's work on the Uses of the
Definitive Article (under Rule I, pg.13) and I ask help from all on the
list who would like to respond. Note: Rule I is what is commonly known as
"Granville Sharp's Rule".

Pg. 13 Paragraph 1: "And there are at least a dozen other places, (viz.
Rom.15:6, 1 Cor. 15:24, Gal.1:4, Ephes. 5:20, col. 1:3, and 12 and 3:17, 1
Thes.1:3, 1 Thes. 3:13, 2 Thes. 2:16, James 3:9, [and] Rev.1:6) wherein
"the God and Father" is mentioned exactly according to this rule; and there
is no exception or instance of the like mode of expression, that I know of,
which necessarily requires a construction different from what is here laid
down, EXCEPT the nouns be proper names, or in the plural number; in which
cases there are many exceptions; though there are not wanting examples,
even of plural nouns, which are expressed exactly agreeable to this rule"
(Sharp 13).

I call your attention to the last clause of the paragraph. Does the last
clause not seem to indicate that Granville Sharp thought his Rule I would
also apply to plural nouns? That is, that plural nouns in the Greek NT are
"expressed exactly agreeable to this rule." This being the case the
Granville Sharp rule could apply to hO APOSTOLOS KAI PROFHTHS in

Michael McCoy
Pastor, Little Elm Baptist Church
Farmington, AR

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