Where In The Bible Does It Talk About The Trinity?
The Trinity is a core doctrine of Christianity, believed by adherents to be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the concept that God is Three in One, a single entity existing in three persons. The concept of the Trinity is not explicitly stated in the First Testament. It is implicit, revealed throughout the Bible. It is only in the New Testament where the concept is made clear, particularly in the words and actions of Jesus.
The Old Testament makes numerous references to three persons in the one God. In Genesis we hear of Elohim, the plural form of El (God), and it is the same Elohim who appears to Abraham in Genesis 18:1-2, after which it is said “The Lord (Yahweh) appeared to them.”
Deuteronomy 6:4 further bolsters this concept by declaring “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” In this passage, Yahweh is declaring his unity as one God, but does reveal three persons in the same verse by using three different titles. Yahweh is the Lord, Elohim is God, and Adonai is our Master. This is an example of a concept in the Old Testament called the “Tritheism of Monotheism,” indicating that the seeming contradiction can be true because of the three-in-one Godhead.
The New Testament contains numerous references to the Trinity, with each person performing a role, just as they are seen in the Old Testament. In Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew records the baptism of Jesus. Here, a voice speaks from Heaven, saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Here, God Himself is speaking, the Holy Spirit is present in the form of a dove, and Jesus is being baptized, revealing the roles performed by each person.
Jesus spoke directly of the relationship between himself and the Father in John 10:30 when He said “I and the Father are one” and “The Father is in me and I am in the Father,” indicating His unity with the Father. In John 16:7-15, Jesus speaks about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, discernible in the Old Testament references, as well as in Jesus’ own words and actions. Jesus also refers to the three persons in the one God in John 14:26.
The Trinity is also seen in numerous passages throughout the New Testament. The baptismal formula and the Great Commission, both found in Matthew 28, are the mandate of the Church, in which it is commanded to baptise in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This formula is also found in Acts 2:38. The 2 Corinthians 13:14 is often called the trinitarian benediction, giving a blessing in three parts, each invoking one person in the Godhead.
Unity of Three Persons in the Godhead
The concept of the Trinity may seem mysterious, yet the Bible speaks of it, and it is a central tenet of the Christian faith. The Trinity is the idea that God is three in one, an unified being which has been revealed through scripture. The references to the Three Persons of the Godhead in the Old Testament are numerous and teasingly elusive, but still discernible. The New Testament brings much more clarity to the matter with numerous passages that contribute to the understanding of how and why God is three in one.
Christians believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are an eternal relationship that has existed from the beginning of creation. With a triune God, each person has their own personal characteristics, yet are undeniably united. The Father is the originator, the Son is the revealer, and the Holy Spirit is the empowerer, and all three exist as one—God in three persons.
The Trinity in Creation
When looking at the world, one can often think of the Trinity as the Trinity in Creation. As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit worked together to create the world and all it contains, so the Three Persons of the Godhead live within it. As they continually sustain and direct its activity, so each Person of the Trinity can be found in varying activities. In the Old Testament, their joint activity in the Creation and governing of the world is repeated many times. The repeat appears also in other scriptures, as in Ephesians 3:9-11 when Paul reiterates this creative power of the Trinity with the phrase: “according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Proof of The Trinity Outside the Bible
In addition to the Bible, there are also proofs of the Trinity outside of scripture. Over the centuries, scholars have argued for the existence of the one God in three Persons, developing vast collections of evidence to support their theories. From the early church fathers to modern theologians, the Trinity has been a powerful and debated doctrine. It is apparent in ancient philosophy, in the culture and development of Christian liturgy, in the creeds and hymns of the Christian faith.
In fact, historical records demonstrate that the foundational truths of the Trinity were often confronting and confusing, as illustrated in writings from the early church fathers. In the end, the Biblical evidence for the Trinity is often what holds us back from totally rejecting its existence. Both the Old and New Testaments repeatedly affirm the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, providing compelling evidence that the Trinity is real.
When is The Trinity Present?
In the life of a believer, the Trinity is constantly at work. No moment of life exists in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do not exist. We see an example of the Trinity present in prayer, in which we address God in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul also calls upon the Trinity when instructing the believers to pray “in the name of our Lord Jesus” while associating this with the blessing of the “God of peace,” from whom all things come through Jesus Christ. Additionally, it is common for believers to invoke invocations for the Trinity when receiving Holy Communion together. This practice, appears to be a clear expression of the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity.
Implications of the Trinity for Believers
Believing in the Trinity has massive implications for all believers. Most significantly, it means recognizing that all power, authority, and glory are ultimately attributed to God. It means affirming the Trinity when praying and worshipping, trusting that these three Persons are working together for the benefit of those who love Him. Finally, it means striving to be in fellowship with God the Father, through His Son, Jesus and by the guidance of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Under the Trinity, the Church is driven by unity and humility by the three persons of the Godhead who, through their sacrificial love, embody these characteristics. It is through this union of three persons, who perfectly love and submit to one another, that believers are called upon to live in unity, submitting to one another and focusing on the direction of the Spirit.
The Relationship between Trinity and Salvation
It is important to be mindful that the Trinity serves a greater purpose—it is the foundational condition of all redemption. Through Jesus’ atoning work, He reconciled sinners back to the Father, and made possible a new and perfect relationship with Him. The Trinity serves to demonstrate God’s love, perfect mercy, and powerful nature, and occupies all believers throughout the course of redemption.
This relationship between the Trinity and salvation is seen in many passages. Romans 1:16-17 declares that “the gospel reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith, as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” In verse 16, Paul references Deuteronomy 32:6, a passage from the Law of Moses written during the period of the Old Testament. In it, God expressed His faithfulness and power, three qualities that are essential for salvation.
John 14:6 is another example of the Trinity teaching about salvation. Here, Jesus tells the disciples, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This reinforced the need to accept Jesus’ sacrifice, because only through Jesus is a direct approach to the Father in Heaven possible.
The Trinity in Everyday Life
The Trinity is not only found in scripture, but it is alive and present in the lives of those who believe in its power. The constant presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit provide the guidance and assurance necessary to live a Christian life. This is made evident by the regular prayer of believers, by the communal celebration of the Eucharist, and by the daily blessing of grace that is bestowed to each believer.
The Trinity can become a core part of everyday life by making it a part of your prayer and devotions. Before looking to the world for direction, believers should look to the Father, turn to the Son for guidance and refuge, and accept the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, believers should focus on the truth of the one God revealed in three Persons—remembering that each Person of the Trinity is a force of power and love that can always be relied upon.