The Johannine Purpose Statement (John 20:31) Part 3 – Jesus is the Messiah?

It is grammatically possible to translate Iesous estin ho christos as ‘the Messiah is Jesus’ rather than ‘Jesus is the Messiah’. Colwell’s rule, though a grammatical generalization determines that where two Greek substantive nouns stand in grammatical concord, the subject of the verb is normally the noun with the article.[1] D.A. Carson argues that an articular noun takes priority over a proper name as the subjective of a clause, so the phrase should be rendered, ‘that you may believe that the Christ, the Son of God, is Jesus.’[2] Such a construct would carry weight primarily as an answer to the question, ‘Who is the Messiah?’ that Jews would ask rather than Gentiles.[3] The way the purpose clause is put, then, might indicate a possible Jewish audience intended for the Fourth Gospel.[4] Yet Dan Wallace objects because in a clause with two substantive nouns either the first noun is the subject or else the proper name is the subject. He points to 1 John where the same construction occurs with ‘Jesus’, ‘Son of God’, and ‘Messiah’ as the substantive nouns but ‘Jesus’ is always the subject in these clauses (1 John 2:22; 4:15; 5:1, 5).[5]

[1] Cf. Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (2nd ed.; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 109-10.

[2] Cf. D.A. Carson, ‘The Purpose of the Fourth Gospel: John 20:30-31 Reconsidered,’ JBL 108 (1987): 639-51.

[3] Carson, Gospel According to John, 662.

[4] Carson, Gospel According to John, 90, 662.

[5] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 46-47.

"Thanks, Michael, for this exposition of the covenants. If one sees a spectrum of (non)covenant ..."

Why I Believe in Monocovenantalism
"Paul was conflicted about the Jews. On the one hand they rejected Jesus for the ..."

Did Paul ever try to convert ..."
"So, why does this matter interest you? To what in the present does it attach?"

Did Paul ever try to convert ..."
"Kim, the string of Hellenistic cities from Damascus to Babylon also had significant Jewish communities."

Did Paul ever try to convert ..."

Browse Our Archives



What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment