Questions and Answers

about The Trinity

 

Contents:

The Trinity

Additional Notes on the Trinity

A Quick Survey of the Bible for Texts that Deal with the Members of the Trinity

 

The Trinity

Question: I'm not clear about the Trinity. Can you give me some explanation.

Answer: To begin with, the Bible is very clear that there is only one God.

Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD."

But in Genesis 1:26 God uses the words "us" and "our" when discussing the creation of Adam and Eve.

Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

And Genesis 3:22 mentions it again:

And the LORD God said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, . . ."

These texts do not prove that there is more than one person involved in what Paul calls "the Godhead." (Rom. 1:22 King James Version) But it is evidence of it.

Isaiah agrees with this concept by describing the expected Messiah in these words:

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

The child who is to be born to usthat would make him a human childwould be "the mighty God."

John helps us to understand better the concept that the one God has more than one Person within. And he also describes the incarnation of Christ into the world as the unique, one and only God-man100% God and 100% man.

John 1:1:1-4, 14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

John shows us two distinct divine persons who together form a divine unity. Yes, God is one. But at the same time, the one God consists of at least two persons. And the One described as the "Word" "was made flesh and dwelt among us . . . the only begotten of the Father."

And John 3:16 refers to Jesus as the "only begotten Son." So Jesus is GodHe created all thingsand then God (the Father) is God too. Sound confusing? Matthew helps clear this up and also presents a third person as belonging to what Paul calls the "Deity." (Colossians 2:9 (NIV) "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,") (the (KJV) uses the term "Godhead.")

Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

These three equal Persons make up the One we call "God"the divine Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There is a lot that we simply do not understand about this, and we may never really understand it. I suppose this may be why Paul calls it "the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;" (Colossians 2:2)

 

Additional Notes on the Trinity

The word "Trinity" doesn't actually occur in the Bible. The nature of God is so often seen as a "given" and few ever feel a need to find out Who He really is and how He reveals Himself to us.

Let me share with you just a few of the many texts that the Bible uses to describe the nature of God. And then I'll list the references to many Biblical passages that refer to the multiple Persons of the Godhead. (Paul uses the word "Godhead" in KJV Rom. 1:20 and Col. 2:9.)

All texts that I use here are from NIV unless otherwise noted.

The God who created the world was more than one person:

Gen 1:1, 2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Perhaps we have more than one person here. But notice how God describes Himself later in the chapter. (We have to remember that the same personMoseswrote the entire chapter.)

Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

Moses, when writing this passage under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the plural pronoun when revealing God's decision to make human beings. While the plural here is not enough in itself to prove that there is a "Godhead," yet it is very strong evidence that the title "God" in verse 1 includes more than one Person.

There are a number of passages of Scripture that would have no clear meaning if there were only one Person in the One we call "God."

John 16:15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

John 16:26-28 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

Now lets see what the Bible actually says about the Trinity.

John 14:16, 17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Notice the Persons that Jesus mentions here: I = Jesus; the Father; He = the Father; Counselor = the Spirit of truth = the One Who is elsewhere called the Holy Spirit. Count the Persons here: 1) Jesus is talking to the disciples telling them that He will ask 2) the Father to send 3) the Holy Spirit. This would be nonsense if there were only one person. In fact, were there only one person described here, Jesus, by modern standards, would have been classed as a schizophrenic with 3 different personalities!

 

A Quick Survey of the Bible for Texts that Deal with the Members of the Trinity

(This list is by no means complete, but only a sampling)

There are a number of different types of references which deal with members of the Trinity. Some texts refer to all three members, while others refer to at least two of the Persons. Then I've added a few texts that expand on some of the others.

The Trinity

Isa. 42:1

48:16

61:1

Luke 2:22

John 1:32-34

14:16, 25, 26

15:26

Acts 2:32, 33

7:55, 56

Rom. 1:2-4

8:11

2 Cor. 13:14

Col. 2:9

1 Thess. 5:16-22

Titus 3:4-7

1 Pet. 1:2

4:14

1 John 4:2, 3

Rev. 1:4, 5

 

The Son (Christ; Jesus: etc) and the Father

Matt. 11:27

12:30-32

16:16, 17

17:5

23:9

24:36

25:31, 34

26:39-42

26:64

27:46

28:19

Mark 2:6-10

8:38

9:7

Luke 3:22

5:20-24

9:26, 35

22:69

23:34

John 1:1-4, 14, 18

3:16, 18

5:17, 18-23, 26, 27, 36

6:38, 40, 57

8:16, 18, 19, 28, 29, 42, 54

10:14, 15, 17, 30, 36, 38

11:4, 41

12:26, 27, 28

13:1, 3

14:1, 6. 9, 10, 13, 31

15:1, 10, 15, 23

16:21, 28

17:1-26

18:11

20:17, 21, 22

Acts 3:14-21

Rom. 2:16

3:22-24

4:23, 24

5:1, 8

6:4, 11, 23

7:25

8:2-6, 17, 31, 32, 34, 39

10:9

15:17

1 Cor. 8:6

15:57

2 Cor. 1:3, 4

2:14

4:4

5:17-19

Gal. 1:3, 4

4:4, 5

Eph. 1:2, 3

2:4, 5

3:11, 12

5:20

Phil. 1:2

2:5-11

4:7, 19

Col. 1:14-20

3:17

1 Thess. 1:1

3:12, 13

4:16

2 Thess 1:1, 2

2:16

1 Tim. 1:1, 2

2:5

6:13-16

2 Tim. 1:2

Philemon 1:3

Heb. 1:1-3

1:5-10

3: 6

5:5

7:24, 25

9:24

12:2

13:15, 16, 20,21

1 Pet. 1:3

2 Pet. 1:1, 2

1 John 2:1

2:22, 23

4:10

5:11, 12

2 John 3

Jude 1, 24, 25

Rev. 1:1

7:7

14:1

20:1

21:22, 23

22:3-5, 16, 17

 

Son & Holy Spirit

Luke 4:1, 14, 18-21,

5:17

Acts 2:58

1 Cor 6:11, 19, 20

12:3

Gal. 5:22-25

 

Father & Holy Spirit

Luke 11:12, 13

Rom. 5:5

8:14

15:13

1 Cor. 2:10-12

3:16

 

Son of God Born to Mary by the Holy Spirit

Luke 1:35

2:11

 

Father Greater than Son

John 14:29

 

Son Greater than:

Matt. 12:6the Temple

12:41Jonah

12:42Solomon

 

First and Last

Isa. 41:4the LORD (Yahweh)

Rev. 1:17Jesus

 

Jesus Accepted Worship

Matt. 14.33

John 20.28

 

You may find my book Quest for the Super Leader of interest. While it focuses on Jesus and His relation to us as Messiah our Savior, it does touch upon the plural nature of the One we worship as God.