Granville Sharp Rules!
The Granville Sharp Rule - Simplified

Ed. F. Sanders

Granville Sharp Rules!

The six rules of NT Greek exegesis developed by Granville Sharp(1) are concerning passages where nouns are connected by the conjunction “kai” (and ). Of the six rules the three most relevant stated in simplified form:
  1. When the FIRST noun has the article, and the SECOND noun does not have the article, the second noun is a further description of the first noun, making them the same or equal. (see page on the definite article in NT Greek)

  2. If BOTH the nouns connected by “kai” have articles the two nouns are separate and distinct.

  3. If NEITHER noun connected by “kai” is have the article, the nouns are just being sequentially listed

Rule #1 is most commonly referred to as the GRANVILLE SHARP RULE due to it's importance in doctrine, especially the Deity of Christ; see Titus 2:13b, 2 Pet 1:1 and 1:11. (Note conditions: both nouns must be personal, singular, and non-proper).

1. 2 Thess. 1:12: "the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (KJV), God (theos) has the definite article, and Christ (christou) does not. Both nouns are in the same case, and therefore should read "the grace of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord".

2. 2 Peter 1:1: "our God and Savior Jesus Christ", Peter equates God with Jesus Christ (i.e. the same person, not two).

3. Titus 2:13 has 2 instances of the Granville Sharp Rule, one proving the Deity of Christ, the other regarding the 2nd Advent:
Titus 2:13a:  "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing" (KJV). Paul here equates the 'blessed hope' of the Church with the Second Advent , 'the glorious appearing' (one event, not two!). The use of the Granville Sharp Rule here is usually ignored by dispensationalists who teach that the 'blessed hope' is the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ does not occur until 7 years later. Rather than support their position this verse actually disproves that theory! (see article on this verse)

Titus 2:13b: "our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ", Like Peter (#2 above), Paul also equates God with Jesus Christ.

Everywhere in the New Testament where you see two nouns connected by “and”, (kai), you must check the Greek text to know if the nouns are merely being listed, or separate and distinct from each other, or if the second noun is adding a further description or equating with the first noun. Failure to do so can result in incorrect interpretation.


Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament(3), by Granville Sharp, 1st American edition, Hopkins, 1807.

Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics--An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, Daniel B. Wallace, 1996

A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Dana and Mantey, Macmillan Company (1927), p. 147ff.

Also see two good articles on Granville Sharp by  James White and Tim Warner (both off-site).


(1) Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament Containing Many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ, from Passages which are Wrongly Translated in the Common English Version, written and published in 1778 by Granville Sharp. Out of circulation for years, this book has recently been reprinted by Original Word Publishing, ISBN: 0962654442.

(2) Quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless noted.

(3) Download a copy of  Sharp's original document: sharp.pdf (large file, requires Adobe Reader to view). Another document that may be helpful is A Definite Rule For The Use Of The Article In The Greek New Testament, E. C. Colwell (1933). Download: colwell.pdf

Updated 9-18-2011