What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?

By July 11, 2015 11 Comments

The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible.
The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who make up God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:
1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4;1 Corinthians 8:4;Galatians 3:20;1 Timothy 2:5).
2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1,26;3:22;11:7;Isaiah 6:8,48:16,61:1;Matthew 3:16-17,28:19;2 Corinthians 13:14). InGenesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun “Elohim” is used. InGenesis 1:26,3:22,11:7andIsaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for “God,” “Elohim,” definitely allows for the Trinity.
InIsaiah 48:16and61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. CompareIsaiah 61:1toLuke 4:14-19to see that it is the Son speaking.Matthew 3:16-17describes the event of Jesus’ baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son.Matthew 28:19and2 Corinthians 13:14are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.
3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24;Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7,12;Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7;Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.
4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27;Romans 1:7;1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1,14;Romans 9:5;Colossians 2:9;Hebrews 1:8;1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4;1 Corinthians 3:16).
5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son seeLuke 22:42,John 5:36,John 20:21, and1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit seeJohn 14:16,14:26,15:26,16:7, and especiallyJohn 16:13-14.
6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6;Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus’ human works (John 5:17;14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.
The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6;John 1:3;Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1,16:12-15;Matthew 11:27;Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19;Matthew 1:21;John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.
The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2;Job 26:13;Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15;Ephesians 3:5;2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6;Titus 3:5;1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus’ works (Isaiah 61:1;Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There have been many attempts to developillustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.
The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God’s greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).


  • Fada Francis says:

    I think the Illustration of fire could somewhat shed more light on the explanation. In a fire, you can have heat, smoke and light or ilumination. Wherever a fire is present, you can percieve or feel this three distict features.

  • Keagile says:

    If You put water in three different jugs, each one would contain one unit of water. If you mix the water in the same bowl you still have one unit of water. Don’t know if I am right but that’s how I always explain it to my kids.

  • Joshua says:

    Hi.. actually, there is no such a word “Trinity” in the Bible.. This is what Bible saids in Revelation 22:18-19.. thanks..

  • Regan Swamy says:

    Please sent us High Resolution Pitcher Trinity

  • Kings Matter says:

    Please read the Catholic Encyclopedia on how the Trinity doctrine was established. You will be amazed as it has nothing to do with the bible. Symbol of pagan deities. Look for yourself as I did.

  • idha says:

    Yes….is it true 🙂

  • Jason says:

    God can illustrate as a ordinary man who work as a teacher, a father to his family and a part time worker cashier during the night ?

    • kingsmatter says:

      Jason, if this is the case then why did Jesus while on earth, (if he was God) say the Father is greater than I am. They should be equal. And why does God say at James 1:13 that God can not be tried with evil, for He himself tries no one. Jesus was charged as an evildoer and was put to death for this. What is the purpose of God dying for us as He is perfect. It had to be His son, although perfect, could face the same temptation that Adam and Eve had, and remain sinless. Jesus remained obedient to his Father. Adam was sinless and died due to disobedience and then, as Romans 5:12 states passed on that sinful condition to humans.Much easier to understand.

  • Beukeboom (truth):
    I already showed your eisegesis. Once again you cannot address the overwhelming Scripture refuting you so you insult again and run. Thank you for conceding.
    I have supported my claims with properly exegeted Scripture. You have not. You are trying to argue a point which isn’t in play. Trinitarians believe in the one true God so your attempts to make them out as denying such a doctrine of monotheism is your straw man.
    I have proven time and time again that the Trinity is indeed revealed by the whole of Scripture. And in each and every instance you could not address the overwhelming Scriptural evidence but instead responded fallaciously. Such responses make you an EXCELLENT witness AGAINST the very cult doctrines of which you cleave and cannot defend.
    However to remain consistent, let me take this opportunity to refute your claim directly yet again.
    As has been proven conclusively for hundreds and hundreds of years via sola scriptura, the whole of Scripture proclaims clearly God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and thus reveals the Trinity to be valid and true. Furthermore, it is well documented that the Trinity has been taught by Christian preachers and teachers in Christian churches to Christian congregations since the first century.
    The answers to the following questions give evidence that the whole of Scripture reveals the doctrine of the Trinity:
    Who does the whole of Scripture proclaim to be God?
    Ephesians 4:6 proclaims the Father to be God.
    Titus 2:13; John 1:1,14; 20:28 proclaim the Son to be God.
    Acts 5:3-4 proclaims the Holy Spirit to be God.
    And of course Deuteronomy 4:35 proclaims God to be the one, true God.
    Therefore the Bible says that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all Jehovah God.
    According to the whole of Scripture who raised Jesus from the dead?
    Romans 6:4 teaches that the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
    John 2:19-21; 10:17,18 proclaims the Son raised Himself from the dead.
    Romans 8:11 proclaims the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
    And Acts 3:26, 13:30, 17:30,31; 1 Thess. 1:9,10; Heb. 13:20 reveal that only God could raise Jesus from the dead.
    Therefore the whole of Scripture reveals the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity as God were responsible for raising Jesus from the dead. Now let’s look at the issue of salvation. Specifically regeneration, justification and sanctification.
    According to Scripture who REGENERATES man?
    1 Peter 1:3 proclaims the Father regenerates man.
    John 5:21, 4:14 proclaims the Son regenerates man.
    John 3:6; Titus 3:5 proclaims the Holy Spirit regenerates man.
    Now since God regenerates man (1 John 3:9) we have to conclude that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity as God are responsible for regenerating man according to the whole of Scripture.
    According to Scripture JUSTIFIES man?
    Jer. 23:6, cf. 2 Cor. 5:19 proclaims that the Father JUSTIFIES man.
    Romans 5:9, 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:19-21 proclaims that the Son JUSTIFIES man.
    1 Cor. 6:11; Gal. 5:5 proclaims that the Holy Spirit JUSTIFIES man.
    And since God justifies man (Romans 4:6, 9:33) we have to conclude that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity as God are responsible for justifying man according to the whole of Scripture.
    According to Scripture who SANCTIFIES man?
    Jude 1 proclaims that the Father SANCTIFIES man.
    Titus 2:14 proclaims that the Son SANCTIFIES man.
    1 Peter 1:2 proclaims that the Holy Spirit SANCTIFIES man.
    And since God SANCTIFIES man (Exodus 31:13) we have to conclude that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity as God are responsible for regenerating man according to the whole of Scripture.
    Finally let me ask who propitiated (i.e. — to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of) God’s just and righteous anger against man for his sins?
    1 John 4:14; John 3:16, 17:5, 18:11 proclaims the Father did.
    Matthew 26:28; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2 proclaims the Son did.
    Hebrews 9:14 proclaims the Holy Spirit did.
    Of course since God did (2 Cor. 5:1; Acts 20:28) we have to conclude that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity as God propitiated God’s just and righteous anger against man for his sins.
    So the only overall conclusion that can be reasonably, rationally and logically reached is that the whole of Scripture clearly reveals the doctrine of the Trinity.
    Some people, especially cultists, heretics and nonbelievers present human reasoning to try to attack the doctrine of the Trinity, the claim that it is “unreasonable” or “irrational” doesn’t hold water because people who submit their minds to God’s Holy written Word can reach one and only one reasonable, rational and logical Scripture conclusion: it is unreasonable and irrational NOT to believe in the Trinity.
    Recommended reading:
    The Trinity: Evidence And Issues by Robert Morey
    The Forgotten Trinity by James R. White
    Testimonies Of The Ante-Nicene Fathers To The Doctrine Of The Trinity by Edward Burton
    The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship by Robert Letham
    God in Three Persons by E. Calvin Beisner
    Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance by Bruce A. Ware
    Trinity & Triunity: Salvation and the Nature of the Godhead by E. Charles Heinze
    The Trinitarian Controversy by William G. Rusch
    The Trinity by Edward H. Bickersteth
    The Trinity In The New Testament by Arthur W. Wainwright
    Making Sense of The Trinity by Millard J. Erickson
    Our Triune God by Peter Toon
    Understanding The Trinity by Alistere McGrath
    The Triune God (A Historical Study Of The Doctrine Of The Trinity) by Edmund J. Fortman
    Correcting The Cults: Expert Responses To Their Scripture Twisting by Norman Geisler & Ron Rhodes
    Why You Should Believe In The Trinity by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
    Oneness Pentecostals & The Trinity by Gregory Boyd
    A Definitive Look At Oneness Theology: Defending The Tri-Unity Of God by Edward L. Dalcour
    The Trinity And The Eternal Sonship Of Christ by Bob L. Ross
    Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson
    Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
    The Fundamentals by R.A. Torrey
    Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge
    The King James Study Bible
    The NIV Study Bible
    The ESV Study Bible
    The NLT Study Bible
    The Apologetics Study Bible
    The Quest Study Bible
    The MacArthur Study Bible
    Also, there are many reliable and well-documented online resources showing the Trinity to be Biblically based doctrine. One such collection of resources may be found on this page:

  • Hunter says:

    So when you go to heaven who do you meet? God or Jesus?

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