The Trinity


What Christians Believe About The Trinity


In the simplest terms, Christians believe: There is only one God, and this one God is in three Persons. The three persons are: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (also called the Holy Ghost).


The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all God, but they are not three names for the same person. The Persons are distinct: The Father is not the Son; The Son is not the Holy Spirit; The Holy Spirit is not the Father. God is one absolutely perfect, divine Being in three Persons. His Being is what God is, in relation to the universe He created. The three are called Persons because they relate to one another in personal ways.


When Christians talk about believing in one God in three Persons (the Trinity), they do not mean: One God is three Gods, or three Persons in one Person, or one Person in three Gods. Rather, they mean: One God in three Persons. Therefore, the Father is God, the first person of the Trinity; the Son is God, the second Person of the Trinity; the Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity.




The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God, yet all three Persons are called God.


There is only one God:


“Hear 0 Israel 'he LORD our Got the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4);


“Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10)


The Father Is God:


“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ..” (2 Thessalonians 1:2)


The Son Is God:


"in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)


Jesus is identified as the Word. "I and My Father are one." (John 10:30)


"Jesus’ disciple Thomas addressed Jesus as 'My Lord and my God."' (John 20:28) Jesus did not tell Thomas he was mistaken; instead Jesus accepted these titles.


Other people in Scripture, notably Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14), refused to accept worship as god. "But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8)


'Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-l1).


See these passages about Jesus' deity. Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; John 1:18; John 8:58-59; John 10:30; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Romans 10:9-13; Colossians 1:15-16; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:3 & 8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20.


The Holy Spirit Is God:


"But Peter sad, '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 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)


This verse equates the Holy Spirit with God. "Now the Lord is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:17). This is the same "Lord" as in the Old Testament.


All Three Persons Are Together God: 


"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." (Matthew 3:16-17).


"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of 'he Father and of the Son and of the H~ Spit. (Matthew 28:19)


There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your coming; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of a14 who is above all and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:46)


"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, though the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly though Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:46)


See also: Romans 14:17-18; Romans 15:13-17; Romans 15:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11,17-19; 1 Corinthians 12:46; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 3:46; Ephesians 2:18: Ephesians 3:11-17; Ephesians 5:18- 20; Philippians 2:1; Colossians 1:66; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5;1 Thessalonians 4:2-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 3:23-24; and Jude 20-21.




Misunderstanding #1:


"The word 'Trinity' does not appear in the Bible; it is a belief made up by Christians in the 4th century."




It is True that the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible, but the Trinity is nevertheless a Bible-based belief. The word "Bible" never appears in the Bible either, yet we know it exists. The word "Trinity" was used to explain the external relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Many Bible passages express the Trinity. False beliefs flourished during the early days of Christianity and still do. The following early church leaders and/or writings all defended the doctrine of the Trinity long before A.D. 300:


Clement A.D. 96; The Teachings of The Twelve Aposties (the Didache) A.D. 90-100; Ignatius A.D. 90; Justin Martyr A.D. 155; Theophilus A.D. 168; Athenagoras A.D. 177; lrenaues A.D. 180; Tertullian AD. 197; Gregory Thaumaturgus A.D. 264.


Misunderstanding #2:


"Christians believe there are three Gods."




Christians believe in only one God. Some people might believe that Christians are polytheists (people who believe in many gods) because Christians refer to the Father as God, the Son as God, and the Holy Spirit as God. But Christians believe in only one God. The Bible clearly says there is only one God. But it also calls three distinct Persons "God." Over the centuries people have tried to come up with simple explanations for the Trinity. There are limits to every illustration, but some can be very helpful.


God is not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3

God is 1 x l x l = 1


The Trinity is a profound doctrine that must be accepted by faith, although there are many evidences for it. The Bible says there are some things we cannot fully understand. However, without the Trinity, the Christian doctrine of salvation cannot stand. Most religious groups that claim to believe in the God of the Bible, but reject the Trinity, have an understanding of salvation that is based on works. This undermines Biblical salvation; grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone.


St. Patrick is believed to have used the shamrock as a way of illustrating the Trinity. "Is this one leaf or three? If one leaf, why are there three lobes of equal size? If three leaves, why is there just one stem? If you cannot explain so simple a mystery as the shamrock, how can you hope to understand one so profound as the Holy Trinity?"


Misunderstanding #3:


"Jesus is not God."




Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity.

Jesus' own claims:


- He forgave sin. We may forgive sins committed against us, but we cannot forgive sins committed against others. However, Jesus forgave all sins. (Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21)


- He accepted worship as God and claimed to deserve the same honor as the Father (Matthew 14:33; Matthew 28:17-18; John 5:22-23; John 9:38).


- He claimed to be the divine Son of God, a title the Jews rightly understood to be a claim to be equality with God (John 5:17-18; John 10:30~3; John 19:7)


There are certain traits that are unique only to God, yet Jesus is seen to have these same traits.




God = Creation is the work of His hands (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:25; Isaiah 44:24)

Jesus = All things were created in and through Him. (John 1:3; Colossians 16; Hebrews 1:2&10)


The First and the Last:


God = Isaiah 44:6

Jesus = Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13


Lord of lords:


God = Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3

Jesus = I Timothy 615; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16.


Unchanging and Eternal:


God = Psalms 90:2; Psalm 106:26-27; Malachi 3:6

Jesus = John 8:58; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:11-12; Hebrews 13:8


Judge of All People:


God = Genesis 18:25; Psalms 94:2; Psalm 96:13; Psalm 98:9

Jesus = John 5:22; Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1


Onlv Savior of the World:


God = Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 45:21-22; Hosea 13:4

Jesus = John 4:42; Acts 4:12; Titus 2:13; 1 John 4:14


Redeems people from their sins for their own possession:


God = Exodus 19:5; Psalm 130:7~; Ezekiel 37:23

Jesus = Titus 2:14


Hears and answers prayers:


God = Psalm 86:58; Isaiah 55:6-7; Jeremiah 33:3; Joel 2:32

Jesus = John 14:14; Romans 10:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians12:8-9


No one can take us out of His hand:


God = Isaiah 43:14

Jesus = John 10:28-30


Worshipped bv angels:


God = Psalm 97:7

Jesus = Hebrews 1:6


Misunderstanding #4:


"Jesus is a lesser God than the Father."




Jesus is co-equal with God the Father.


People who deny this truth may use the following arguments and verses. (These heresies date back to Arius, A.D. 319).


Verses wrongly used to teach that Christ was created.


1. Colossians 1:15 “If Christ was 'the firstborn of all creation", was He created?


"Firstborn" cannot mean that Christ was created, because Paul said that all creation was made in and for Christ, and that He exists before all creation and holds it together (Colossians 1:16-17). The “firstborn” traditionally was the main heir (prototokos in the Greek). In context Paul is saying that Christ, as God's Son, is the main heir of all creation (verses 12-14).

2. John 3:16  Does 'only begotten Son' mean that Jesus had a beginning?'


Only ‘begotten’ (monogenes) does not mean that Jesus had a beginning; it means that Jesus is God's ‘unique' Son. In the Hebrew Old Testament, Isaac is called Abraham's 'unique' son, even though Abraham had other children (Genesis 22:2). Jesus is God's ‘unique' Son because only Jesus is fully God and eternally the Father’s Son (John 1:13 & 14-18).


3. Proverbs 8:22 Does this mean that Christ's 'wisdom' was created?'


This is not a literal description of Christ; it is a personification of wisdom. For example, Christ did not dwell in heaven with someone named Prudence (verse 12): He did not build a house with seven pillars (9:1). The word qanah is best translated "got” (see Proverbs 4:5,7; 16:16; 17:16; 19:8), not "created.” This verse says in a poetic way that God used wisdom in creating the world (see Proverbs 3:19-20)


Verses wrongly used to teach that Jesus is inferior to God:


1. John 14:28 "If the Father is greater than Jesus, how can Jesus be God?”


In this human life on earth Jesus voluntarily shared our natural limitations in order to save us. After He rose from the dead, Jesus returned to the Glory He had with the Father (John 7:5). In that restored glory, Jesus was able to send the Holy Spirit and empower His disciples to do even greater works than Jesus did while He was here in the flesh (John 14:12, 26-28), meaning they would have a far greater impact on the world through the preaching of the Gospel, not that they would be walking on the water or commanding the weather.


2.1 Corinthians 15:28 "If Jesus is God, why will He be subject to the Father?”


Jesus humbly and voluntarily, submits Himself to the Father’s will (Philippians 2:5-11). But, as the preexistent and eternal Son, He is coequal with God the Father.


3. Mark 13:32 "If Jesus is God, how could He not know when He would return?'


Jesus voluntarily lowered Himself to experience the limitations of human life. Paradoxically, Jesus was still God and knew everything (John 16:30). Paradoxes like this are exactly what we would expect if, as the Bible says, God chose to live as a real human being (John 1:1,14).  Only the Father knows the time of the return of Christ, and no one else, including the angels and the Son.  This is perfectly in line with the submission of the Son to the will of the Father.


Misunderstanding #5:


“The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are just different titles for Jesus,

 or three different ways that God has revealed Himself.”




The Bible clearly shows that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct persons.


Some people think that the doctrine of tie Trinity contradicts the truth that there is only one God. They argue that Jesus alone is the one true God, and therefore that Jesus is “the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and not just the name of the Son” (Matthew 28:19). While it is certainly true that there is only one God, we must allow the Bible to define what that means, and the Bible makes it clear that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons.


- The Father sends the Son (Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:14).


- The Father sends the Spirit (John 14:26; Galatians 4:6).


- The Son speaks, not on His own, but on behalf of the Father. (John 8:28; John 12:49).


- The Spirit speaks, not on His own, but on behalf d Jesus (John 16:13- 15).


- The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father (John 3:35; John 5:20; John 14:31).


- The Father and the Son count as two witnesses (John 5:31-32; John 8:16-18).


- The Father and the Son glorify one another (John 17:1 & 4-5) and the Spirit glorifies Jesus, the Son (John 16:14).

- The Son is an advocate for us with the Father (1 John 2:2) and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, who is another advocate (John 14:16 & 26).


- Jesus Christ is not the Father, but the Son of the Father (2 John 3). In Matthew 28:19, Jesus is not identifying Himself as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is saying that Christian baptism identifies a person as one who believes in the Father, in the Son whom the Father sent to die for our sins, and in the Holy Spirit whom the Father and the Son sent to dwell in


Misunderstanding #6:


“Jesus wasn't really fully God and fully man.”




Throughout history many people have balked at the idea that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. They have tried to resolve this paradox by saying that Jesus was a mere man through whom God spoke, or that He was God and merely appeared to be human, or some other simpler belief. Admittedly, the idea that in Jesus, God became a man, is impossible for us to totally comprehend. But the incarnation - the truth that God became flesh - is the ultimate proof that nothing is too hard for God (Genesis 18:14, Luke 1:37). And this truth is clearly taught in the Bible.


The Bible clearly shows that Jesus was fully human:


- As a child he grew physically, intellectually, socially and spiritually (Luke 2:40 & 52).


- He grew tired; He slept; He sweat; He was hungry and thirsty; He bled and He died; His body was buried (Matthew 4:2; Matthew 8:24; Luke 22:44; John 4:6-7, John 19:2841).


- After He rose from the dead, He ate and drank with the people and let them see His scars and touch His body (Luke 24:3943; John 20:27- 29; Acts 10:41).

The Bible also clearly shows that Jesus was and is God in human form:


- Jesus did on earth what only God could do; He commanded the forces of nature (Matthew 8:23-28 & 14:22-33); forgave sins (Mark 2:1- 12); claimed to be superior to the Sabbath law (John 5:17-18); and gave it to whomever He pleased (John 5:19-23).


- Paul said that God purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).


- Paul also said that the rulers of this world unwittingly crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8).


- All fullness of God's nature and being resides in Jesus' risen body (Colossians 2:9).




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