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Definition of the Trinity

What is the Trinity? If someone were to ask you that question, what would you say?


It's easy to see from these examples how one could carelessly go astray on the issue. So then, our understanding of the Trinity must come from God Himself.

 The Biblical explanation of God is that within the God-head there are 3 distinct and separate Persons, functioning in complete and total harmonious unity.

 "God does not consist of parts nor can He be divided into parts. His being is simple, numerically one, free from composition."


The Old Testament

The Old Testament does not plainly and directly teach the trinity, and the reason is evident. In a world where the worship of many gods were common, it was necessary to impress upon Israel the truth that God was One, and that there was none beside Him. (Is.43:10)

 Each member of the Trinity, however, is mentioned in the Old Testament:


Foreshadowing of the Trinity have been seen in the triple benediction of Numbers 6:24-26 and the triple doxology of Is. 6:3. (See also Gen 1:26 and 11:7)


The New Testament

One of the clearest pictures of the Trinity comes from Matt.3:16,17. The New Testament provides a wealth of information regarding the Trinity.

 1. General statements: Jesus prayed that the Father would send ANOTHER Comforter (John 14:16). The disciples were told to baptize in the name(note: the singular form of "name") of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19). The three Persons of the Trinity are associated together in their work: I Cor. 12: 4-6; I Peter 1:2, 3:18; II Cor. 13:14.

 2. The Father is recognized as God: John 6:27; Gal.1:1 (and numerous others)

 3. The Son is recognized as God: The doctrine of the deity of Christ is crucial to the Christian faith. It can be demonstrated that He is God in several ways.


Note: Now it is true there are certain statements which seem to indicate something less than omniscience. Jesus was ignorant of the date of His return (Mark 13:32), marveled at the people's unbelief (Mark 6:6) and went to the fig tree expecting perhaps to find figs (Mark 11:13). However, it must be recognized that in the days of His earthly ministry, Jesus surrendered the independent exercise of his divine attributes. Without a doubt, Jesus now knows the time of His second coming.


4. The Holy Spirit is recognized as God: Before it can be demonstrated that the Holy Spirit is God it must first be established that He is a person, not a mere influence or power.


Now that we've established the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person, we must go on to assert that He is a divine person:


    1. He is eternal (Heb.9:14)
    2. He is omniscient (I Cor.2:10, John 14:26)
    3. He is omnipotent (Luke 1:35)
    4. He is omnipresent (Ps.139:7-10)
Works of the Deity are ascribed to Him:


    1. Creation (Gen 1:2)
    2. Regeneration (John 3:5)
    3. Inspiration of scriptures (II Peter 1:21)
    4. Raising the dead (Rom 8:11)
Finally, He is expressly called God in Acts 5:3, II Cor. 3:17.


"The doctrine of the Trinity, as I have said before, is truth for the heart. The fact that it cannot be satisfactorily explained, instead of being against it is in its favor. Such a truth had to be revealed; no one could have imagined it."


Some persons who reject all they cannot explain have denied that God is a Trinity. They conclude that it is impossible that He could both one and three. But God is not triplex (1+1+1)-- He is triune (1x1x1).

 False views of God's nature include:


    1. There are 3 Gods: Father, Son and Holy Spirit or Tri-Theism.
    2. God the Father is God; Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are lesser Gods.
    3. The One God is manifested as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    4. The Father's name is Jesus, the Son's name is Jesus, the Spirit's name is Jesus. (In fact, the Father and the Spirit are manifestations of Jesus.
    5. God the Father exists; His Spirit is His life force (not a separate person) and Jesus was a mere prophet- not God.
Other areas of improper thinking:
"We evangelical Protestants are sometimes prone to relegate the Father & the Holy Spirit to lesser important. It is to be expected that we would feel close to the one who "pitched his tent" among us, who died for us, wept for us, is coming to translate us. Stressing the deity of Christ as we need to do, we might tend to make the Begotten One the 1st instead of the 2nd person of the Trinity." --unascribed
The truth is, the three are of equal dignity, majesty, glory, power, and eternity.

 *editor's note: "heresy" means "to choose", implying a choice independant of God's will. One good definition has "heresy" as "religious politics".

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Created by Arne Herstad

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