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). In Genesis 1:1,  the Hebrew plural noun “Elohim” is used. In Genesis  1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 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.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the  Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke  4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew  3:16-17 describes 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  28:19 and 2  Corinthians 13:14 are 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 9:5Colossians  2:9; Hebrews 1:81 John  5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-41  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 see Luke 22:42John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14.  Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:1614:26, 15:26, 16:7, and  especially John  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 61:1Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father  does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been  many attempts to develop illustrations 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).

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