The Essential Trinity

Many Modern Churches Often Overlook or Ignore the Trinity 

By Mike Robinson

Some go so far as to dismiss denials of the Trinity as nonissues (James White).

Is everybody eager to scrap the doctrine of the Trinity? Name a single Christian leader who has called for the explicit relinquishment of the doctrine of the Trinity. There aren’t many. On the other hand, quite a few churches that post Trinitarian Statements of Faith on their church websites neglect the consistent teaching of the Trinity. Numerous ministries print Trinitarian creeds in their church bulletins but rarely, if ever, proclaim the Triune God from the pulpit.

 

That’s not true? An exaggeration? An overstatement?

 

Since God is sovereign, the truth of the Trinity has not been written off. But the church must produce leaders with deep Trinitarian convictions and a passion to proclaim the truth of the Triune God.

 

It is thus that the Christian church has always confessed the revelation of God as the Triune God, and accepted it as such (Herman Bavinck).

 

For decades within the church, the power of Trinitarian dogma has almost been hidden in doctrinal apathy. No longer. It’s now time for pastors, apologists, and leaders to consistently teach the awesome truth of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the one true God.  

 

If it is necessary in our thinking about God to move to a position beyond naturalism and supra-naturalism, this is no less important in our thinking about Christ. Otherwise, we shall be shut up... to a sterile choice between the two.4

 

For, in the name of God, the Father and the Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water (Justin Martyr’s First Apology, LXI).

 

The Scriptural Support

                                                                                     

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).

 

There are numerous Bible verses that reveal to man that God is a plurality persons in one God. This is important since there are many cults and false religions that appeal to the Bible in their attempt to deny the Trinity. The following Bible verses are some of the key passages regarding the doctrine of the Trinity (see Chapter Three for an exhaustive list of scripture verses).

                                                 

The Trinity also means that God’s creation can be both one and many. Secular philosophy veers between the two extremes of monism (the world is really one & plurality is an illusion) and pluralism (the world is radically disunited and unity is an illusion). Secular philosophy moves from one extreme to the other because it does not have the resources to define a position between the two extremes, and because it seeks an absolute extreme or another-as if there must be an absolute oneness (with no plurality) or else a universe of unique, unconnected elements, creating an absolute pluralism and destroying universal oneness... But the Christian knows there is no absolute unity (devoid of plurality) or absolute plurality (devoid of unity)... The Christian knows that God is the only absolute, and that the absolute is both one and many. Thus we are freed from the task of trying to find utter unity or utter disunity... When we search for ultimate criteria or standards, we look... to the living God.5

 

Some of the tri-unity Scripture verses:

 

 

Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:6; Psalms 45:6-7;

Isaiah 6:8, 48:11-17; Hosea 1:7;

Zechariah 10:12, 12:10;

Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians. 13:14.

Simplicity and triplicity are so mutually opposed that they cannot subsist at the same time (but not simplicity and Trinity because they are said in different respects): simplicity in respect to essence, but Trinity in respect to persons. In this sense, nothing hinders God (who is one in essence) from being three persons (Francis Turretin).

Bible verses that reveal that God is one:

 

Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 45:5-6, 48:3-16.

 

God is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; which are not diverse names of the same person, nor distinct attributes or properties of the same nature or being, but one, another, a third, all equally that one God, yet really distinguished between themselves by such incommunicable properties as constitute the one to be that one, and the other to be that other, and the third to be that third. Thus the Trinity is not the union or unity of three, but it is a trinity in unity, or the ternary number of persons in the same essence (John Owens).

 

The Scriptures that reveal that the Father is God:

 

Matt. 6:8; John 4:23, 17:3; 1 John 2:23.

 

 

 

The verses of Holy Writ that teach that Jesus is God:

 

John 1:1, 8:58, 10:30; Hebrews 1; Isaiah 9:6, 7:14; Colossians 1:15;

Acts 20:28.

 

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (1 Timothy 3:16).

 

And Thomas answered and said unto him, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

 

Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:7-8). 

 

This representation of the divine nature and essence is the divine nature and essence again. So that by God's thinking of the Deity, [the Deity] must certainly be generated. Hereby there is another person begotten, there is another, infinite, eternal, almighty, and most holy and the same God, the very same divine nature. And this person is the second person in the Trinity, the only begotten and dearly beloved Son of God: he is the eternal, necessary, perfect, substantial and personal idea which God hath of himself (Jonathan Edwards).

 

The Bible verses that instruct us that the Holy Spirit is God:

 

The Holy Spirit is a person not merely but also very God. And Scriptures provide all the data which are necessary to make this confession. We have only to note that despite the distinction between God and His Spirit … the two frequently exchange places in Scripture, so that it is quite the same whether God or His Spirit says or does a thing. In Acts 5:3-4 the lying to the Holy Spirit is called a lying to God (Hermann Bavinck).

 

Acts 10:19-20, 13:2, 21:11; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 4:6; John 15:26, 16:7; Micah 2:7; Isaiah 61:1, 63:10-11; Psalms 55:11, 139:7.

 

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot" (Acts 8:29).

 

It is very manifest that the Persons of the Trinity are not inferior one to another in glory and excellency of nature (Jonathan Edwards).

 

Jesus is not heter-ousia with the Father: a different substance or essence from the Father. But the Bible declares that Jesus is one with the Father (John 10:30). The Trinity is rational. However, I do not fully understand God’s nature due to the fact that there will always remain some mystery about the being of God. Mysteries are not contradictions.

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Numerous Bible Verses Relating to The Trinity 

Scripture reveals, presupposes, and teaches the truth of the Trinity. The word “Trinity” is not mentioned in the Bible, but the verity therein is revealed from Genesis to Revelation. The word “Bible” is also not mentioned in scripture. These sorts of words are often employed by people to abbreviate the truths that scripture reveals in exhaustive detail. One can profess that God is the Trinity in place of saying, “Scripture reveals that God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the one true God.” Doctrinal words can condense and represent a host of words in order to more easily communicate with clarity.

Various Verses that Reflect the Triune Nature of God

 

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

·        Notice the singular word “name” followed by the plural: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

 

·        Genesis 1:26 And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

·        Plural pronouns conjoined to singular nouns for God (Elohim).

·        Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  

·        Only a person can be lied to. The Holy Spirit is a person, not a mere force.

 

·        John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse. The Holy Spirit is a “He.”

 

·        John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

·        Jesus made everything and nothing was made or created that He did not make; thus Jesus is not a created being—He is the Creator.

 

·        Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse.

 

·        Isaiah 43:10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

·        The “he” is also a “me” and no god of any sort can be made.

 

·        Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD has said unto me, “You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.”

·        The prophecy of the Father speaking well over the Son.

 

·        Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.”

·        “One of us” speaks concerning the plurality of Persons in the Godhead.

 

·        1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

·        There is only one God.

 

·        Colossians 1:16-17 For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

·        Jesus made everything and nothing was made or created that He did not make; thus Jesus is not a created being—Christ is the Creator.

 

 

·        Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

·        Christ dwells in all believers—a non-omnipresent being could not dwell in uncountable places.

 

 

·        Colossians 2:9 For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

·        Jesus is God.

 

·        Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

·        There is only one God.

 

·        John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

·        The Holy Spirit is a person, not a mere force. And He is “another” just like Jesus.

 

·        Psalms 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, “Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

·        The Lord speaking to the Lord.

 

·        Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

·        All three persons of the Godhead are in this verse.

 

·        Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

·        All three persons of the Godhead are in this verse including the “Spirit of the Son.”

 

·        Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

·        The Holy Spirit speaks. A force cannot speak—the Holy Spirit is a person.

 

·        John 17:1-26 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you.”

·        The Son communicating with the Father: Two persons in this verse confute Modalism.

 

·        John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

·        The Holy Spirit is called “Him,” a person, not a mere force. And He is the “Comforter” just like Jesus.

 

·        John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

·        Jesus and the Father bear two unified testimonies—this rules out modalism (Oneness Pentecostalism, etc.). Jesus is not the Father.

 

·        Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse. The three manifesting at the same time.

 

·        2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse.

 

·        Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

·        One God, One Spirit, One Lord. All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse.

 

·        1 Peter 1:2 According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse.

 

·        John 10:30-36 “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

·        The Jewish people knew that Jesus claimed to be God and wanted to stone Him because of His claim of divinity.

 

·        2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

·        The Spirit is the Lord.

 

·        Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse.

 

·        Luke 3:21-22 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse. The three manifesting at the same time.

 

·        Zechariah 10:12 “So I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in His name,” says the Lord.

·        The Lord speaking of the Lord as “His” and “I.”

 

·        Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

·        The Lord is a “me” and a “him” at the same time.

 

·        Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

·        Jesus is called God in the Old Testament.

 

·        Revelation 1:7-8 Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

·        Jesus says He is the Almighty.

 

·        Revelation 22:13 [Jesus said] “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

·        Jesus declares that He is the First and the Last—terms given to God in the Old Testament.

 

·        Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

·        There is only one God. The Hebrew word for “one” echad means a compound unity (i.e., one cluster of grapes).

 

·        Genesis 11:7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.

·        God stating there is an “us” within the one God.

 

·        Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.”

·        The Father declaring that Jesus is God.

 

·        John 20:28 Thomas answered him [Jesus], “My Lord and my God!”

·        Thomas proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord and God.

 

·        John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

·        Jesus calling Himself God as He alludes to Exodus 3:14 where God said He was the “I AM.”

 

·        Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

·        The Son of Man is great and mighty.

 

·        Isaiah 48:16 Come near unto me, hear this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, has sent me.

·        All three Persons of the Godhead in one verse

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