Note: Acknowledgment and appreciation is extended to Chuck Missler (of www.khouse.org) and his studies pertaining to this subject, which are used in part within this document.
The term trinity is not found in the Bible, but it is used to designate a definite Bible doctrine, not unlike the terms rapture, omnipresent, omniscient, substitutionary, eschatology, incarnation and others. The doctrine of the Trinity refers to the divine essence (nature) of God who reveals Himself in three distinct Persons. These three Persons are the (1) Father, (2) Son and (3) Holy Spirit. These three are separate and yet are one, i.e., one God who manifests Himself in three distinct personalities. It does not necessarily follow that the three Persons of the Godhead are different in function; since it will be shown later in this study that all three share not only the same attributes but the same functions (works). Yet, they are three distinct and unique personalities.
The Trinity is not subject to rationalistic apologetics, i.e., it cannot be understood by the rational processes of the human mind. Bible students and scholars attempt to express the concept using various models, e.g., white light made up of three primary colors or water which can exist as ice, liquid or steam, but such models eventually fail to adequately represent God as three distinct Persons, yet One. The Trinity or Godhead cannot be known by reason alone but may only be understood by revelation and accepted by faith.
But to the truly scientific and objective mind there are many facets of the physical world that defy rationalization. Considering such concepts as “evolution” or “dimensionality,” it takes more “faith” to accept the “world view” than the “Biblical view.”
The Bible (God’s revelation) is a composition of 66 books written by 40 different inspired human authors from vastly different backgrounds over several thousand years, yet with one integrated and consistent message. One aspect of this message is that plurality coexists with unity in the Godhead. This is where many of today’s sects and cults go astray, not to mention major religions such as Islam. And since the term religion has surfaced, it is well to understand that Christianity is not a religion. It is a union or relationship with a Person, Jesus Christ. In fact, the primary focal point of all Scripture is the person and work of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.
The Bible reveals that there is only one God. This truth is made clear in the first commandment (Exodus 20:1, 2). It is clearly expressed in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One! And in Isaiah 45:5, 6: I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
There are two Hebrew words that are translated “one” in the Old Testament. The word, which corresponds to “unique,” (a non-plurality quality) is yahidh. The other word is ehadh, which does not preclude distinguishable entities or plurality.
The Hebrew word translated one in the above reference out of the book of Deuteronomy is ehadh, which does not exclude having plurality within it. It is the same word used in Genesis 2:24, wherein God declares that man and woman by coming together become “one flesh.” So it is seen by the use of ehadh to refer to Himself in the above passage in Deuteronomy that God reveals His plural nature.
There are three names used in the Old Testament that are translated God. They are (1) Elohim—used 2700 times in the Bible, (2) YHWH and (3) Adonai. Although it is obvious that these three names apply to God the Father, it is also important to note that they all apply in various references to the Son (Isaiah 6:1-3; 9:6; 45:21; Psalm 68:18) and the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:3; Judges 15:14; Isaiah 11:2). Therefore it is unwise for the Bible student to conclude that any one of these names will always apply uniquely to only one Person of the Godhead.
The name Elohim, because of its grammatical ending of “im” (similar to the plural terms of cherubim and seraphim), indicates plurality. Yet it is always used with a “singular verb,” an apparent grammatical error since the noun doesn’t agree with the verb. This construction is introduced in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God [plural noun Elohim] created [singular verb bara] the heavens and the earth.” This form of construction was not used by the Holy Spirit in the transcription of God’s Word by mistake. In was intended to reveal the plural nature of God.
This usage is correctly carried over into the English translations of the Bible.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . .”
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us . . . .”
Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” . . . .
Two other passages in the Old Testament indicate the plurality of God by the use of a plural noun in reference to Him, even though these nouns are not shown as plural in the English versions of the Bible. They follow.
Remember now your Creator(s) in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
For your Maker(s) is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5)
Chuck Missler of www.khouse.org reveals in his teaching of the Trinity that a two-letter Hebrew word, consisting of the first (aleph) and last (tau) letters of the Hebrew alphabet is used in various places within the Old Testament, yet without being translated into the English versions of the Bible. He indicates that some Hebrew scholars think that this combination is used to represent a preposition or as a connector to modify a word. He points out to his audience two specific examples where this isn’t the case, Genesis 1:1 and Zechariah 12:10. He suggests that one may conclude that the meaning of this usage is the equivalent to the designation “the first and the last,” a name applicable to Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Revelation 2:8). If he is correct, and this author believes him to be so, then the following two passages take on excitingly new meanings.
In the beginning God (Aleph and Tau) created the heavens and the earth. = In the beginning, the First and the Last [Jesus Christ], created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
. . . then they will look on Me (Aleph and Tau) whom they pierced. . . . = . . . then they will look on Me, the First and the Last [Jesus Christ], whom they pierced. (Zechariah 12:10)
Not only is this is a very strong indication of Jesus Christ within the Old Testament, but it further confirms the concept that “plurality coexists with unity” in reference to God.
There are several instances in the New Testament where all three persons of the Godhead come together in one passage of Scripture, e.g., the baptism of Jesus Christ, the issuance of the Great Commission, a benediction by the Apostle Paul and a proclamation by the Apostle Peter. They follow.
Matthew 3:16, 17
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . .
2 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.
1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
If this was all the New Testament had to say on the subject, it would be enough; yet, the New Testament also reveals that all three Persons of the Godhead are designated as God.
The Father is God, which is uncontested.
The Son is God.
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became 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 1:1, 14)
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” [And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”] (John 8:58 [Exodus 3:14])
I and My Father are one. (John 10:30)
. . . . Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. (Romans 9:5)
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [a term of position signifying priority and sovereignty] over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)
Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person . . . . (Hebrews 1:3)
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
The Holy Spirit is God.
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3, 4)
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . . [And when He (Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment . . . .]
(John 6:44 [John 16:8])
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
(2 Corinthians 3:17)
The plurality of the one God as evidenced in Holy Writ (Bible) is incontrovertible. The fact that the Bible clearly reveals that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each and together the one and the same God, even as they are each distinct Personalities, is indisputable. Admittedly, the mechanics of how this plurality exists in unity is quite incomprehensible to the human mind. This doctrine is most certainly of “faith,” not “reason.”
God’s Word further demonstrates the fact that the Godhead is composed of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is shown by both the attributes of God and His works. The following passages of Scripture will show that many of the attributes and works attributable to God are also attributable to both the Son and the Holy Spirit. They will only be listed for the student of this subject to lookup and confirm.
The Attributes of God
Father Psalm 90:2
Son Micah 5:2; John 1:2; Revelation 1:8, 17 (Isaiah 41:4)
Holy Spirit Hebrews 9:14
Father Revelation 15:4
Son Acts 3:14
Holy Spirit Inherent in His name, “Holy Spirit”
Note: A strong case may be made in the original languages that the triple use of the word “holy” in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 refers to all three persons of the Godhead.
Omnipotent (All powerful)
Father 1 Peter 1:5
Son 2 Corinthians 12:9
Holy Spirit Romans 15:19
Omniscience (All knowing)
Father Jeremiah 17:10
Son Revelation 2:23
Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 2:11
Omnipresence (All present)
Father Jeremiah 23:24
Son Matthew 18:20
Holy Spirit Psalm 139:7
Father John 7:28
Son John 14:6; Revelation 3:7
Holy Spirit 1 John 5:6
Father Romans 2:4
Son Ephesians 5:25
Holy Spirit Nehemiah 9:20
The Works of God
The Creation of the Universe
Father Psalm 102:25
Son John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16
Holy Spirit Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13
Note: “Elohim” is plural for all three in Genesis 1:1.
The Creation of Man
Father Genesis 2:7
Son Colossians 1:16
Holy Spirit Job 33:4
Note: Plural nouns for God in Ecclesiastes 12:1 and Isaiah 54:5.
Father Hebrews 10:5
Son Philippians 2:7
Holy Spirit Luke 1:35
The Death of Christ
Father Psalm 22:15; John 3:16; Romans 8:32
Son John 10:18; Galatians 2:20
Holy Spirit Hebrews 9:14
Father Isaiah 53:6, 10
Son Ephesians 5:2
Holy Spirit Hebrews 9:14
The Resurrection of Christ
Father Acts 2:24; Romans 6:4
Son John 2:19; 10:17, 18
Holy Spirit Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18
The Resurrection of Man
Father John 5:21
Son John 5:21
Holy Spirit Romans 8:11
The Inspiration of Scripture
Father 2 Timothy 3:16
Son 1 Peter 1:10, 11
Holy Spirit 2 Peter 1:21
The Indwelling of Believers
Father Ephesians 4:6
Son John 17:26; Colossians 1:27
Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:19
The Sanctification of Believers
Father Jude 1:1
Son Hebrews 2:11
Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:11
The Eternal Security of the Believer
Father John 10:29
Son John 10:28; Romans 8:34
Holy Spirit Ephesians 4:30
One may appreciate, at least to a small degree, the vast abyss between the mind of God and the mind of man by considering how difficult it would be to explain to a tribe in the deep interior of Africa who has had no exposure to the outside (industrial) world the workings of television or a Boeing 747. The chasm between God and man in the realm of knowledge and understanding is far greater. It is as extensive as the chasm between the infinite and the finite. Because of this immense and immeasurable gulf between God and man the Trinity can only be a fact of divine revelation, and not of human reason.
The bottom line is that God’s Word clearly teaches that God is God, Jesus Christ is God and the Holy Spirit is God. God is one in essence (nature), yet three distinct Persons, in revelation and in the performance of His will. God the Father orchestrated His plan, Jesus Christ enabled His plan and the Holy Spirit executed His plan. This of course is over simplification, since any of the three Persons of the Godhead also performed all three functions. In any case the doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to Christianity. A diligent study of the Bible shows it to be accurate, factual, irrefutable, incontrovertible, incontestable, undeniable, indubitable and unassailable….and any other similar adjective of like kind the reader of this study may wish to apply.
HOLY (Father), HOLY (Son), HOLY (Spirit) is our ONE GOD!