In this place we find two nouns connected by καί (kai, “and”), the first noun being preceded by the definite article τοῦ (tou, “of the”) and the second noun without the definite article. A similar construction is found in 2Pe 1:1, 2, where, in vs 2, a clear distinction is made between God and Jesus. This indicates that when two distinct persons are connected by καί, if the first person is preceded by the definite article it is not necessary to repeat the definite article before the second person. Examples of this construction in the Greek text are found in Ac 13:50; 15:22; Eph 5:5; 2Th 1:12; 1Ti 5:21; 6:13; 2Ti 4:1. This construction is also found in LXX. (See Pr 24:21 ftn.) According to An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, by C. F. D. Moule, Cambridge, England, 1971, p. 109, the sense “of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ . . . is possible in κοινή [koi·neʹ] Greek even without the repetition [of the definite article].”
A detailed study of the construction in Tit 2:13 is found in The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and Other Critical Essays, by Ezra Abbot, Boston, 1888, pp. 439-457. On p. 452 of this work the following comments are found: “Take an example from the New Testament. In Matt. xxi. 12 we read that Jesus ‘cast out all those that were selling and buying in the temple,’ τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράζοντας [tous po·lounʹtas kai a·go·raʹzon·tas]. No one can reasonably suppose that the same persons are here described as both selling and buying. In Mark the two classes are made distinct by the insertion of τούς before ἀγοράζοντας; here it is safely left to the intelligence of the reader to distinguish them. In the case before us [Tit 2:13], the omission of the article before σωτῆρος [so·teʹros] seems to me to present no difficulty,—not because σωτῆρος is made sufficiently definite by the addition of ἡμῶν [he·monʹ] (Winer), for, since God as well as Christ is often called “our Saviour,” ἡ δόξα τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [he doʹxa tou me·gaʹlou The·ouʹ kai so·teʹros he·monʹ], standing alone, would most naturally be understood of one subject, namely, God, the Father; but the addition of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ to σωτῆρος ἡμῶν [I·e·souʹ Khri·stouʹ to so·teʹros he·monʹ] changes the case entirely, restricting the σωτῆρος ἡμῶν to a person or being who, according to Paul’s habitual use of language, is distinguished from the person or being whom he designates as ὁ θεός [ho The·osʹ], so that there was no need of the repetition of the article to prevent ambiguity. So in 2 Thess. i. 12, the expression κατὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου [ka·taʹ ten khaʹrin tou The·ouʹ he·monʹ kai ky·riʹou] would naturally be understood of one subject, and the article would be required before κυρίου if two were intended; but the simple addition of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ to κυρίου [I·e·souʹ Khri·stouʹ to ky·riʹou] makes the reference to the two distinct subjects clear without the insertion of the article.”
Therefore, in Tit 2:13, two distinct persons, Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, are mentioned. Throughout the Holy Scriptures it is not possible to identify Jehovah and Jesus as being the same individual.
Joh 8:58—“before Abraham came into existence, I have been”
Gr., πρὶν ᾿Αβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί
(prin A·bra·amʹ ge·neʹsthai e·goʹ ei·miʹ)
“before Abraham was, I have been”
Syriac—Edition: A Translation of the Four Gospels from the Syriac of the Sinaitic Palimpsest, by Agnes Smith Lewis, London, 1894.
“before ever Abraham came to be, I was”
Curetonian Syriac—Edition: The Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels, by F. Crawford Burkitt, Vol. 1, Cambridge, England, 1904.
“before Abraham existed, I was”
Syriac Peshitta—Edition: The Syriac New Testament Translated into English from the Peshitto Version, by James Murdock, seventh ed., Boston and London, 1896.
“before Abraham came to be, I was”
Georgian—Edition: “The Old Georgian Version of the Gospel of John,” by Robert P. Blake and Maurice Brière, published in Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. XXVI, fascicle 4, Paris, 1950.
“before Abraham was born, I was”
Ethiopic—Edition: Novum Testamentum . . . Æthiopice (The New Testament . . . in Ethiopic), by Thomas Pell Platt, revised by F. Praetorius, Leipzig, 1899.
The action expressed in Joh 8:58 started “before Abraham came into existence” and is still in progress. In such situation εἰμί (ei·miʹ), which is the first-person singular present indicative, is properly translated by the perfect indicative. Examples of the same syntax are found in Lu 2:48; 13:7; 15:29; Joh 5:6; 14:9; 15:27; Ac 15:21; 2Co 12:19; 1Jo 3:8.
Concerning this construction, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, by G. B. Winer, seventh edition, Andover, 1897, p. 267, says: “Sometimes the Present includes also a past tense (Mdv. 108), viz. when the verb expresses a state which commenced at an earlier period but still continues,—a state in its duration; as, Jno. xv. 27 ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστέ [apʼ ar·khesʹ metʼ e·mouʹ e·steʹ], viii. 58 πρὶν ᾿Αβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμι [prin A·bra·amʹ ge·neʹsthai e·goʹ ei·mi].”
Likewise, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, by J. H. Moulton, Vol. III, by Nigel Turner, Edinburgh, 1963, p. 62, says: “The Present which indicates the continuance of an action during the past and up to the moment of speaking is virtually the same as Perfective, the only difference being that the action is conceived as still in progress . . . It is frequent in the N[ew] T[estament]: Lk 248 137 . . . 1529 . . . Jn 56 858 . . . ”
Attempting to identify Jesus with Jehovah, some say that ἐγὼ εἰμί (e·goʹ ei·miʹ) is the equivalent of the Hebrew expression ʼaniʹ huʼ, “I am he,” which is used by God. However, it is to be noted that this Hebrew expression is also used by man.—See 1Ch 21:17 ftn.
Further attempting to identify Jesus with Jehovah, some try to use Ex 3:14 (LXX) which reads: ᾿Εγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν (E·goʹ ei·mi ho on), which means “I am The Being,” or, “I am The Existing One.” This attempt cannot be sustained because the expression in Ex 3:14 is different from the expression in Joh 8:58. (See Ex 3:14 ftn.) Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures it is not possible to make an identification of Jesus with Jehovah as being the same person.—See 1Pe 2:3 ftn; App 6A, 6E.
Ps 58:4b, 5a—“Deaf like the cobra that stops up its ear, that will not listen to the voice of charmers.”
In The New York Times, January 10, 1954, § 4, p. 9, under the title “Are Snakes ‘Charmed’ by Music?” the following report on Ps 58:4, 5 is found: “Dr. David I. Macht, research pharmacologist of the Mount Sinai Hospital in Baltimore [U.S.A.], is one of the world’s leading authorities on cobra snake venom. (Cobra venom is an accepted medication, in blood disorders, for instance.) Dr. Macht reported that in working with cobras and cobra venom he became acquainted with a number of Hindu physicians, well educated, and from different parts of India. All agreed that cobras respond to some musical tones, from musical pipes or fifes. Some forms of music excite the animals more than other forms, the physicians reported. Indian children, playing in the dark in the countryside, are even warned not to sing lest their sounds attract cobras, he said. Dr. Macht commented that Shakespeare, who repeatedly referred to serpents as deaf . . . merely repeated a common misunderstanding. On the other hand Dr. Macht said, the psalmist was right who implied conversely, in Psalm 58, Verse 5, that serpents can hear . . . . Contrary to the claims of some naturalists, Dr. Macht said, snakes are ‘charmed’ by sounds, not by movements of the charmer.”
Likewise, in an article published in the German zoological magazine Grzimeks Tier, Sielmanns Tierwelt (Grzimek’s Animal, Sielmann’s Animal World), July 1981, pp. 34, 35, the author tells of a cobra that lived on his estate in Sri Lanka in a termite hill. He asked a snake charmer to catch the wild snake and get it to dance. The author reports: “After I had assured my guest that there really was a cobra living there, he sat down in front of the termite hill and began to play his pipe. After a long time—I no longer believed anything would happen—the cobra raised its head several centimeters out of a hole. Before the snake could open its mouth the charmer hurried over and grabbed its head between his thumb and two fingers.” The Indian thereupon actually got the snake to dance.
Therefore, there is evidence that the cobra does “listen to the voice of charmers.”
Mt 8:29—“What have we to do with you, Son of God?”
This question of the demons to Jesus is an ancient idiomatic form of question that is found in the Hebrew Scriptures in eight places, namely, in Jos 22:24; Jg 11:12; 2Sa 16:10; 19:22; 1Ki 17:18; 2Ki 3:13; 2Ch 35:21; Ho 14:8. In the Christian Greek Scriptures as well as in the Syriac version a literal translation is made of the ancient Hebrew expression, and it occurs six times, namely, in Mt 8:29; Mr 1:24; 5:7; Lu 4:34; 8:28; Joh 2:4. Literally translated, the question in Mt 8:29 reads: “What is there to us [or, to me] and to you?” and means, “What is there in common between us [or, me] and you?” “What do we [or, I] and you have in common?” Or, as rendered above, “What have we to do with you?”
In every case in the Scriptures, Hebrew and Greek, it is a repellent form of question, indicating objection to the thing suggested, proposed or suspected. This is supported by the positive form of putting the matter in Ezr 4:3 (1 Esdras 5:67, LXX): “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God.” Literally, “It does not pertain to you and to us to build a house to our God.” The same form of expression in the imperative mood is the request made to Pilate by his wife concerning Jesus, who was up before her husband for trial, in Mt 27:19: “Have nothing to do with that righteous man.” Literally: “Let there be nothing between you and that righteous man.”
Couched in that very common form, Jesus’ question to his mother in Joh 2:4 cannot be excluded from the one category. It bears all the features of repellency or resistance to his mother in proposing his course for him. So in his case we have rendered it the same as in all other cases of the like question: “What have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come.” Other translators render it more strongly: “Do not try to direct me. It is not yet time for me to act.” (An American Translation) “Trouble me not, woman; my hour has not yet come.”—The Four Gospels, by C. C. Torrey, based on Aramaic.