What the Bible Says About...
The Trinity.

     When we speak of the Triune God or the Holy Trinity many have a difficult time with this because from Genesis through the book of Revelation you will never find these words being used in the Bible. Therefore the question for many is why do we believe it? Is it even true? Folks, just because those words are not used in the Scriptures does not mean that the concept is untrue or it is not real.

     Keep in mind that this is not some abstract, take it or leave it idea, but it is what God has said. It is what God has shown us in His Word; one God manifested in three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

     First of all let’s look at a definition of this word Trinity, which comes from the Latin word TRINITAS, and means “threeness.”  The definition of this word, “Trinity” from the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster back in 1828 is, “In theology, the union of three persons in one Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Webster then quotes Locke who says, “In my whole essay, there is not any thing like an objection against the Trinity.”

     Another definition of the Trinity is from Warfield, who wrote, “There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence [life].” In other words, what we see is that they are one and yet three distinct persons.  They are all God, they are all equal, they are all eternal and to negate that or try to discredit that you have to negate or discredit the Word of God! Therefore, look at what the Scriptures are teaching us.

 

OLD TESTAMENT TEACHING ON THE TRIUNE GOD

     This is a problem for many people and for most Jewish people. They do not believe that the Old Testament teaches on this idea of a Triune God. They believe that there is just one God and in reality so do we. The difference is that we believe in one true God who manifests Himself in three distinct persons. But again, like the State of Missouri, SHOW ME where in the Old Testament it speaks of this Triune God! That is exactly what I will do. But before I do, let me share with you some of the objections that some people have regarding this idea of the Triune God.

     First Milton Lindberg, a Jewish Believer in the Messiah has stated, and he is right, that unless we can find the plurality of God in the Hebrew Bible, we should not speak of worshiping the God of Abraham. This is what he wrote,

     “Although it may be granted that the Christian’s New Testament teaches that the term God may be applied to God the Father, to God the Son, and to God the Holy Spirit, the Christian should cease to claim that he worships the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and the prophets, the God of the Torah [teachings or first five books of Moses], the Nevi’im [prophets], and the Kethuvim [writings], unless there is found in the Tanakh [Hebrew Bible], indisputable evidence that God exists in more than one personality.” - Milton B. Lindberg, In the Light of the Tenach: The Trinity, pp. 1-2

     As we will see, the Scriptures speak clearly of the Triune God, even  in the Old Testament. This is not an idea that was developed by Christians from the pagans, this three-in-one God, but it is what God is telling us in His Word! Before we look at these verses showing the Holy Trinity, let me give you a few verses that speak of there only being one God and there are no other Gods. And keep in mind that is what we as Christians believe, one God manifested in three distinct persons. Here are those verses that speak of only one God:

     First of all, in Isaiah 44:8 we are told, “Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.”  That does seem pretty clear; there is only one God, there are no others. Here are a few more verses that speak of there only being one God!

Isaiah 45:5-6, Isaiah 45:22, Joel 2:27.

     It seems to be pretty straight forward. There is only one God. But what about the Shema or what I believe is the one big objection the Jews have regarding the Trinity, besides these previous verses we have read. This Shema is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which reads, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

     These verses are also known as the SHEMA, which means to “hear.” The Jews would say these verses, this prayer in the morning and in the evening. They would teach it to their children; it was an important part of their lives!

     Now in saying that, I want to show you something here that you may not expect. The Trinity is not a New Testament idea, but it is spoken of in the Old Testament, even in the book of Genesis. But here in Deuteronomy 6:4 listen once again to what we have read, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!"

     During worship at the temple the worshipers would cry out over and over again, "SHEMA YSRAEL YAHWEH ELOHIM ECHAD YAHWEH." Over and over they were affirming the oneness of God, which was the foundation of the Hebrew religion; they were of course monotheistic in their beliefs! And so are we as we will see. We do not worship three different God’s, but one God manifested in three distinct persons!

     Let’s look at what this text is saying. We start out with “LORD” and that is YAHWEH, the covenant name of God used by the Jews and when you see it in all capitals, that is what it is referring to.  Then we go to the word “God” and that is the Hebrew word, ELOHIM.  Now this is where it gets interesting to me.  El is the singular form, Elo is speaking of two and Elohim is speaking of three or more.  Now this is a problem, are we saying that there is more than one God, a polytheistic belief?  Absolutely not and I will show you why.

      Next we are told that the LORD or YAHWEH is “one” or ECHAD.  Once again this is confusing. First we say that there are three Gods, then here it is saying one God. What in the world is going on? This word “one” speaks of a compound unity, not a singular unity.  Let me give you an example. When God created Adam and Eve He said, “And they shall become one [ached] flesh” (Genesis 2:24) or a compound unity.

     Now that may not sound too important, but it is. You see, if you were to speak of a singular unity, the Hebrew word would be YACHAD, but that is not what the Holy Spirit used here. If He did, we would have no basis for the Trinity. But when you have the plural form, Elohim paired with echad, then you are speaking of one God manifested in three distinct persons!

     In the very first verse of the Bible we see the Triune God or Trinity presented, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In Genesis 1:1 the word God is “Elohim” in the Hebrew. Remember Elohim is a plural noun meaning three or more, but the verb “created” is singular in the Hebrew. This is grammatically incorrect, but it is God’s way of communicating to us His tri-unity (three in one). We do not worship three Gods. We are not polytheistic, but we worship one God who is manifested in three distinct persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are monotheistic and that is what Moses is teaching us.

     Let me share a few more verses here in Genesis to show you what I mean. In Genesis 1:26-27 we are told, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

     Listen to how The Amplified Bible puts these verses here in Genesis 1:26-27, it makes it very clear. “God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. [Ps 104:30; Heb 1:2; 11:3.] So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Col 3:9, 10; James 3:8, 9.].”

     Obviously The Amplified Bible expounds on this and makes it clearer or easier to understand. You see, that is the intent of these verses here in Genesis chapter 1, that the Triune God was working together in the creation of man.

      Let me share with you a few more Old Testament verses that speak of the Triune God, the Holy Trinity, spoken of in the Old Testament.

                  Isaiah 40:13, Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 48:16, Isaiah 61:1-2, Isaiah 63:7-10

   

NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING ON THE TRIUNE GOD 

  As you study the New Testament Scriptures there are many examples of the Trinity or our Triune God, one God manifested in three distinct persons. I realize it is a hard concept for us to understand as one writer wrote, “Explain the Trinity? We can’t even begin. We can only accept it - a mystery, disclosed in Scripture. It should be no surprise that the triune Being of God baffles our finite minds. We should be surprised, rather, if we could understand the nature of our Creator. He would be a two-bit deity, not the fathomless Source of all reality.” (Vernon Grounds in Radical Commitment. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 4).

     That truly is a problem for us; that we cannot understand it with our finite minds. How can there be only one God and yet manifest Himself in three distinct persons at the same time? It is as Spurgeon said, “In attempting to define the Trinity or unveil the essence of Divinity, many men have lost themselves: here great ships have foundered. What have we to do in such a sea with our frail skiffs?” He also wrote, “I suppose, if any man looks long into the doctrine of the Trinity, he will be like one who gazeth upon the sun, and will be apt, first, to be dazzeled, and, then, to be blinded by the excessive light. If a man asketh that he may understand this great mystery, and refuseth to believe until he doth comprehend it, then he will be blinded, most assuredly.”

    Let me share with you some Scriptures that speak of the Trinity and you will see for yourself that there is one God who is manifested in three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!  

Matthew 1:20-23 – God the Father sent forth His Son, the Incarnation – God with us!

Luke 1:35 – An angel of God the Father spoke, God will be born by the power of God the Holy Spirit!

Matthew 3:13-17 – Here we see God the Father speaking, God the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus, who as we have seen, is God. One God manifested in three distinct persons!

Galatians 4:4-7 – God the Father sent forth God the Son and God the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts!

John 1:1-2, 14 – The Eternal God, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. He was equal with God or face-to-face with God.

Matthew 28:19 – Jesus said that we are to baptize people “in the name of” and not “in the names of.” It is singular and not plural as you would think it should be. Jesus is showing us the unity of the Trinity, of the Triune God and thus, it is “in the name of” and not “in the names of.” One name and yet three distinct persons!

II Corinthians 13:14 - “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” Notice once again Paul is speaking of the Triune God, the Holy Trinity here in this benediction!

I Peter 1:2 Peter - In this verse we see Peter showing us how the Holy Trinity, the Triune God is involved in our salvation once again. 

     Listen to what New Testament and evangelical scholar, Murray Harris had to say regarding Paul’s letters and how they show two of the three persons of the Godhead. He wrote,

     “At the beginning of each of Paul’s letters is a salutation that ends with a standardized formula: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:3 and elsewhere). The apostle is not saying that there are two distinct sources of grace and peace, one divine and one human; significantly the preposition from (in Greek) is not repeated before “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Rather, Father and Son jointly form a single source of divine grace and peace. Of no mere human being could it be said that, together with God, he was a font of spiritual blessing. Only if Paul had regarded Jesus as fully divine could he have spoken this way.”

- Murray J. Harris, Three Crucial Questions About Jesus, p. 77

     I think you have seen, as you look at both the Old Testament Scriptures and the New Testament Scriptures, that there is a Trinity, a Triune God. If you deny this, you then are worshiping a different God, not the God of the Bible. Please remember that. Let the Scriptures speak for themselves. Let me leave you with this, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”

II Corinthians 13:14. 

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