Why Is 2 Thessalonians 1:12 Constantly Mistranslated?

The standard English translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:12 ends with “our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This creates the impression that “God” and “Lord” each have a different referent in this verse. But unless you look at the Greek text, you would never know that the word “the” has been added in before “Jesus Christ.” I would propose that the translation, “our God and Lord Jesus Christ” is far superior and demanded by the grammatical construction of the verse. The ESV, HCSB, NET, NIV, NRSV, RSV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, GNV all mistranslate the verse by adding the word “the” and so obscure the clear reference to the deity of Christ. Only the NAB, NLT, and YLT translate the verse correctly.

On what basis can you justify inserting the definite article “the” in 2 Thessalonians 1:12 before “Jesus Christ” but omit it in 2 Peter 1:1; 1:11 and Titus 2:13 which are all close parallels? If we are to apply Granville-Sharp’s rule to Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 to argue for the deity of Christ, how can we not apply it to 2 Thessalonians 1:12 since they both have the same grammatical construction (two singular nouns connected by “and” with a definite article before the first one)? 2 Peter 1:1 has literally the same wording in Greek except that “Lord” has been replaced by “Savior.” If 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is not a reference to the deity of Christ, then would that not invalidate Granville-Sharp’s rule and provide an escape clause for those who oppose the deity of Christ?

The following chart illustrates the similarities between these verses:

2 Thessalonians 1:12 our God and Lord Jesus Christ tou theou hēmōn kai kuriou Iēsou Christou
2 Peter 1:1 our God and Savior Jesus Christ tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou
2 Peter 1:11 our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ tou kuriou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou
Titus 2:13 our great God and Savior Jesus Christ tou megalou theou and sōtēros hēmōn Iēsou Christou

Do the people who make these translations actually look at the Greek text or do they just rely on the work that was done before them? Because the way 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is translated makes me seriously wonder whether or not the Greek text is carefully studied or if they are just making minor variations to older English Bibles so each Christian publisher can have its own Bible translation to avoid paying royalties for quotations of other translations.

The more I study the Greek text, the more often I see that words have been added to the text for the sake of clarification for English readers. However, I do not agree with all of their decisions because often I believe these additions obscure the meaning of the original text. The translation then functions as an interpretation rather than as a translation and I don’t believe their interpretation of the text is always right.


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