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. 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.’ Such a construct would carry weight primarily as an answer to the question, ‘Who is the Messiah?’ that Jews would ask rather than Gentiles. The way the purpose clause is put, then, might indicate a possible Jewish audience intended for the Fourth Gospel. 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).
 Cf. D.A. Carson, ‘The Purpose of the Fourth Gospel: John 20:30-31 Reconsidered,’ JBL 108 (1987): 639-51.
 Carson, Gospel According to John, 662.
 Carson, Gospel According to John, 90, 662.
 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 46-47.