Does the Bible Teach the Doctrine of the Trinity?

I said in my last real post The Unity of Scripture,

“The God who is revealed in Scripture is three persons, united in one substance, undivided yet distinct.”

Thinking Ape asked,

“Can you give a couple passages for this?”

Thinking Ape

And then he provided this verse from Scripture. “You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)

I’m not sure if Thinking Ape is wanting to debate the Trinity, or if he is simply asking me to provide the necessary Scripture proofs, but in any case, I’ll take any chance I get to talk theology.

While there is no one verse that we can definitively point to that will prove the Trinity, and since the word ‘Trinity’ never appears in Scripture, we must take into account the whole of Scripture, which is sort of what I was doing anyway, only now it is from a different angle.  The easiest way for me to do this is to categorize certain verses and show the relationship between them.  I am not going to list all the verses in each of these categories, but I will include a couple of examples of each category.

First off, there are verses which speak of God as one. 

The most famous of these verse is probably the ‘Shema’;

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deu 6:4 ESV)

Then there is, of course, Genesis 1:1,

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Second of all, there are those verses that show the activity of Jesus (the Son), God (the Father), and the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit).

And as we continue to read in Genesis 1, we find that the one God who creates is a Trinity;

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”(Gen 1:1-3 ESV)

When these verses are compared with the Apostle John’s testimony in his Gospel…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5 ESV)

…then we see that not only is the Father and Spirit participating in Creation, but the Son, or Word, is a participant in the work of Creation as well.

Another passage that show the distinctiveness of the persons in the Godhead is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism;

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mat 3:16-17 ESV)

In this passage we hear the voice of the Father as he testifies of Jesus’ special relationship to the Father as the Son of God, see the form of the Spirit, and  watch as Jesus is baptized.

Third, there are those verses which speak of either the Father as God, the Son as God, or the Holy Spirit as God.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (Jam 1:27 ESV)

Here, James explicitly says that the Father is God.

Jesus tells Philip that he is one with the Father, an undeniable claim of deity…

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:9-11 ESV)

And the Holy Spirit is God…

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15 ESV)

Notice what Jesus tells his disciples…”All that the Father has is mine, the Spirit takes what is mine in order that he may to declare me to you.” Just as the Son is one with the Father, Jeus declares the Spirit to be one with the Father and Son.

The result of a faithful interpretation of these verses in light of each other is a picture of God as ‘Three-in One’.  Since the time of Tertullian, this biblical picture of the Three-in-One God has been called the ‘Trinity’.

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12 Comments

Filed under Trinity

12 responses to “Does the Bible Teach the Doctrine of the Trinity?

  1. The trinity is something I struggled with for awhile. Its a mystery that sometimes seems impossible to understand but the conclusion I came to was it must be true because that is what Scripture teaches.

  2. Isn’t John’s Gospel rich in the revelation of the Triune God?

    Thanks for this post!

  3. Bob

    John,
    That’s not at all what the “scriptures” teach. There is not one reference to a “trinity” or holy spirit, father, and son in the bible. Don’t take to heart what a preacher tells you without scripture to back it up. The “trinity” is a man made, Catholic based idea, with no spititual basis.

    • Jeff

      You are absolutely right that the word ” Trinity” does not exist in the Bible. However, the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being three in one is woven throughout the Bible. Just because the word “Trinity” is not written in the Bible does not mean it is not real. The word “Rapture” is also not in the Bible and that is a widely accepted idea. Not because we created it, but because the Bible speaks about it. After all, how else can we take a passage that says, “I and the Father are one,” or, “If you have seen me you have seen my Father.” Those sound pretty solid to me.

  4. Bob,

    You obviously have no clue about what you are saying.
    No Holy Spirit in the Bible? No Father? No Son? Ridiculous even for a modalist to say.

  5. Rose

    I’m not sure that I’m convinced about the Holy Spirit being a part of the Godhead. Sure he’s essential to God’s ministry, but if he doesn’t have the authority to speak, how can we say he’s equal in status?

  6. Rose,
    Jesus also said that he doesn’t speak of his own authority, but instead speaks what the Father told Him to say.

    “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
    (John 12:48-50)

  7. Geesh,
    I am glad I stopped in here, Jeremy.
    I just want to tell you that the comment here above yours is from a different “Rose.” I would never say what the other commenter did about the HS. I have never seen another blog commenter named “Rose.”

    I do hope you and your family are well.

  8. I knew it wasn’t you. But I should have used the opportunity to pick a fight with you anyway.

  9. Charles Chibi

    i have tried to understand the trinity , but i have failed! i will have to say that they are three distinct.

    • Jeff

      Understanding is not the key. There are many things in this world that we cannot see or understand. We cannot see wind, but we see the effects of it. Just like we cannot see God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, but we see the evidences of it in our lives and in those around us.

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