The Trinity: An Outline

Introduction

The subject of the Trinity, or the Tri-Unity of God, has been the center of much contention for centuries. Therefore, it is vital that we have a better understanding of this very important topic. Needless to say, I know that God is an incomprehensible God and to try to explain him even in this outline will fall well short. However, I purpose to present – to the best of my ability – a defense of the belief and truth within the Triune God. I do this with much fear and trembling.

The scriptures say that the “fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.” I believe this is where Unitarians (those who deny the Trinity and the Deity of Christ) go wrong: the complete absence of the fear of God. Without this holy fear, they try to make the incomprehensible God “comprehensible.” Since the idea of the Trinity doesn’t make sense to the human mind, then (in their reasoning) it must be wrong. In doing this, they seem to become followers of Deism – a religious system based upon reason and not upon revelation. Notice in Galatians 1.11-12 that Jesus didn’t “reason” the Gospel to the apostle Paul but he “revealed” it: For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the history of the church it seems that at the height of every great revival, there also comes with it the height of a great apostasy. In the 1800s, God was moving upon men such as Charles Finney, Adolph Saphir, Andrew Murray, Anthony Norris Groves, G.H. Pember, and Charles Spurgeon, just to name a few. During this great movement – called The Second Great Awakening – a different kind of movement began. The works and thoughts of a man in the 4th Century – Arius – started to be reborn through various sects of religions. It all started with a false prophet named William Miller, who studied the scriptures so intensely that he thought he had figured out the prophecies in the book of Daniel. In the 1830s, he started the “Millerite Movement” and began to prophesy the end of the world would come sometime in 1843-1844. When those years came and went, he wrote it off as “new revelation” (similar language that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use today to try to detract from the their false prophet organization) and simply said that the end was even at the doors. They called this time frame (’43-’44) The Great Disappointment. Though he was wrong, this ushered in a crazy obsession with the second advent, and other religions grew out of it which were directly or indirectly influenced by Miller. However, with these strange new doctrines, they all had two things common: the denial of the Trinity and the insistence that each had the only truth. These men – Joseph Smith (Mormon), John Thomas (Christadelphian), Benjamin Wilson (Church of God of Abrahamic Faith), and Charles Taze Russell (Bible Student Movement – later known as Jehovah’s Witnesses) – are great examples of how dangerous the scriptures can be in the hands of any man.

With all of that being said, I will now press on to defend the faith of God as He in fact is. Though we can’t fully understand Him now, He does reveal a little bit of Himself to us throughout the scriptures. But we must not forget that we are mere men, and that this knowledge is only scratching the surface of who He really is.

I ask that you research these verses for yourselves to see if these things are so.

I. The Trinity and it’s Application to Man

  1. God as a Trinity
    1. Matthew 28.19:
      1. Father
      2. Son
      3. Holy Spirit
        1. Note that there are three distinct “persons” in the one “Being” of God. There are not three different gods, but Three-in-One, One-in-Three, Unity-in-Trinity, Trinity-in-Unity.
    2. Matthew 3.16-17:
      1. Father – in the heavens.
      2. Son – on the earth.
      3. Holy Spirit – descended upon.
    3. Isaiah 48.16:
      1. In this verse, God (YHVH) is speaking. How is it then that He calls someone else “God”? And what about the mention of His Spirit? This is an amazing verse proving the Tri-Unity of God in the Old Covenant. It opens with a powerful and chilling “Come ye near unto me” as YHVH then proceeds to reveal Himself in a Triune way.
  2. Man as a Trinity
    1. Created in the image of God (the “Us”)
      1. Genesis 1.26-27:
        1. The “Us” and “Our” of verse 26 is the same as the “God” who created them in verse 27.
          1. Genesis 3.22:
          2. Genesis 11.7:
          3. Isaiah 6.8:
      2. The Triune Nature of Man
        1. 1 Thessalonians 5.23:
          1. Spirit
          2. Soul
          3. Body
            1. “Wholly” and “entire” are used as all-encompassing words here to describe man in his full nature.
      3. Jesus Tempted Fully as a Man in a Triune Way
        1. Body Tempted
          1. Matthew 4.3-4:
        2. Soul Tempted
          1. Matthew 4.5-7:
        3. Spirit Tempted
          1. Matthew 4.8-10:
            1. As evidenced from the above, man is a triune being, and Jesus’s own experiences from being tempted give us a glimpse of how Satan will come for us when we hand over our life to God – first, through the flesh, then through the soul, and then finally through the spirit (which is where we are supposed to worship God in Spirit and in Truth). But if Satan gets a hold of our spirit, then how great is that darkness?

II. One God

  1. Deuteronomy 4.35, 39:
  2. Deuteronomy 6.4:
    1. The Hebrew word for “one” here is echad, and is also used in Genesis 2.24 when it speaks of a man and wife (two) becoming one (echad). There is a Hebrew word that does designate an absolute “oneness” – but it isn’t used here. In other words, three can be in one.
  3. Isaiah 43.10:
    1. If we believe that God says what He means, then we surely cannot ignore this verse. This really puts a dagger into the theology of religions that believe in more than one God, or that Jesus Himself was something of a lesser god and not Almighty God. God emphatically states here that there is NO other.

III. Only One God, yet Jesus is Called God

  1. John 1.1, 14:
  2. John 1.18:
    1. Some Greek manuscripts actually have “only begotten God” instead of “Son” here. In essence, and corresponding with Hebrew thought, both are true.
  3. John 20.28:
    1. This statement is addressed to Jesus. And notice that Jesus didn’t rebuke him for calling Him God. The Greek could also be rendered here: “The Lord of me and the God of me!” This statement made by Thomas is really a summation of the whole gospel of John: that Jesus is indeed both Lord and God. A Unitarian once tried to explain this verse to me that Thomas extended his hand forward and said, “My Lord,” and then proceeded to extend his hand to the heavens and say, “My God.” All evidence to the contrary.
  4. Romans 9.5:
  5. Titus 2.13:
    1. With how the Greek is rendered here, Paul isn’t speaking of two different persons, but rather the “God” and “Savior” applies to Jesus.
  6. Hebrews 1.8:
    1. So the Son calls the Father God, and now the Father calls the Son God also in this verse. This is undeniable proof.
  7. 2 Peter 1.1:
    1. Much like Titus 2.13 mentioned above, the “God” and “Savior” in the Greek structure both apply to Jesus.
  8. Phillipians 2.10-11:
    1. The Old Covenant verse that Paul is quoting here is Isaiah 45.23, and that passage of scripture applies strictly to YHVH. Thus, Paul isn’t just calling Jesus “Lord” here, but more amazingly and fearfully calling Him “YHVH”.

IV. Other Titles Shared by the Father and the Son

  1. The First and the Last (Aleph and Tav)
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Isaiah 44.6:
      2. Isaiah 48.12:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Revelation 2.8:
      2. Revelation 22.12-13:
  2. I AM 
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Exodus 3.14:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. John 8.24:
        1. The “he” in this verse is not in the Greek. It should read simply “I AM”. Jesus is not only claiming to be in union with God, but more importantly, He is claiming to BE God. A scary verse to those who deny the deity of the Messiah and the Triune nature of God. As I mentioned earlier, they have no fear of Him with whom we have to do.
      2. John 8.58:
      3. John 18.5-6:
        1. The very power when He said I AM made them fall down to their knees. Even they knew and understood what He was claiming. One day, EVERY knee will bow and tongue confess (whether you believe in Him as God or not) that Jesus is YHVH.
  3. Author of Eternal Words
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Isaiah 40.8:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Matthew 24.35:
  4. Light
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Psalm 27.1:
      2. Isaiah 60.19-20:
      3. 1 John 1.5:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Isaiah 9.2:
        1. This verse quoted in the New Covenant as applying to Jesus:
          1. Matthew 4.16:
          2. Luke 2.32:
      2. Isaiah 49.6:
      3. Isaiah 60.1:
      4. John 1.4-5, 7-9:
      5. John 8.12:
  5. One Rock/Stone
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Genesis 49.24:
      2. 2 Samuel 22.2-3, 32, 47:
      3. Isaiah 44.8:
      4. Psalm 18.2:
      5. Psalm 95.1:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Exodus 17.6:
        1. Paul relates this Rock spiritually to Christ:
          1. 1 Corinthians 10.4:
      2. Isaiah 28.16:
        1. Peter relates this corner stone to Christ:
          1. 1 Peter 2.6-8:
  6.  Bridegroom
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Isaiah 62.4:
      2. Hosea 2.16:
        1. The Hebrew word Ishi means husband.
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Matthew 25.1-13:
      2. Mark 2.19:
  7.  Shepherd
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Psalm 23.1:
      2. Ezekiel 34.15:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. John 10.11:
      2. John 10.16:
      3. Hebrews 13.20:
      4. 1 Peter 2.25:
      5. 1 Peter 5.4:
  8. Forgiver of Sins
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Psalm 130.4:
      2. Jeremiah 31.34:
      3. Colossians 2.13:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Luke 5.21-24:
      2. Acts 5.31:  
      3. Colossians 3.13:
        1. The “Lord” here in 3.13 is referencing Jesus as evidenced by Paul’s calling him Lord in the same letter:
          1. Colossians 2.6:
  9. Redeemer
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Hosea 13.14:
      2. Psalms 130.7:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Galatians 3.13:
      2. Titus 2.14:
      3. Revelation 5.9:
  10. One Savior
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Isaiah 43.11:
      2. Isaiah 45.21:
      3. Hosea 13.4:
        1. Jesus is called both God and Savior in Titus 2.13 and 2 Peter 1.1 also.
      4. Titus 1.3:
      5. Titus 3.4:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. Titus 1.4:
      2. Titus 2.13:
      3. Titus 3.6:
      4. 2 Peter 1.1:
  11. Co-Partner of Divine Glory
    1. Applied to the Father:
      1. Isaiah 42.8:
      2. Isaiah 48.11:
    2. Applied to the Son:
      1. John 17.1, 5:
      2. 1 Corinthians 2.8:

V. Other Scriptures That Point to the Pre-Existence and Deity of Christ

  1. Genesis 19.24:
    1. Did you catch that? YHVH caused… from YHVH. God rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire FROM God out of heaven. A classic Trinity-proof text. Three men visited Abraham before this – God Himself and two angels. This “man” was none other than Jesus. He caused sulfur and fire to rain down upon Sodom and Gomorrah on the earth from the Father in heaven. Both are called YHVH.
  2. Isaiah 9.6:
    1. This verse is obviously Messianic and applies to Jesus. El Gibbor (Mighty God) is used in the very next chapter when speaking about YHVH.
      1. Isaiah 10.21:
  3. Psalm 110.1:
    1. Matthew 22.43-44:
  4. Micah 5.2:
  5. Colossians 2.9:

VI. The Power to Give Life

  1. Applied to the Father:
    1. 1 Samuel 2.6:
  2. Applied to the Son:
    1. John 5.21:
    2. 1 Corinthians 15.45:
    3. John 11.25:

VII. The Act of Creation Attributed to Three

  1. Attributed to the Father:
    1. Isaiah 40.28:
  2. Attributed to the Son:
    1. John 1.3:
    2. Hebrews 1.10:
      1. The writer of Hebrews states that this is what the Father says to the Son. Not only does the Father call him “God” in this chapter, he also calls Him “Lord” and “Creator”.
    3. Colossians 1.16:
  3. Attributed to the Holy Spirit:
    1. Job 26.13:
    2. Psalm 104.30:
  4. Attributed to all Three:
    1. Genesis 1.1:

VIII. The Resurrection of Jesus’s Body Attributed to Three

  1. Attributed to the Father:
    1. Acts 2.32:
  2. Attributed to the Son:
    1. John 2.18-21:
    2. John 10.17-18:
  3. Attributed to the Holy Spirit:
    1. Romans 8.11:

IX. Scripture Concerning the Nature of the Holy Spirit

  1. Is a Personality and Not an “It”
    1. John 14.16-18:
      1. Note that the Holy Spirit is called “he” and is “another” Comforter.
    2. John 16.13-14:
    3. Acts 15.28:
    4. Romans 8.26:
    5. 2 Corinthians 3.17-18:
  2. The Holy Spirit Speaks
    1. Acts 1.16:
    2. 1 Timothy 4.1:
      1. Such as those who deny the Holy Spirit as God? Hence denying God in His totality?
    3. Revelation 2.7:
  3. Lying to the Holy Spirit is Lying to God
    1. Acts 5.3-4:
      1. Lying to the Holy Spirit in verse 3 is the “lying to God” in verse 4. They are one and the same, and Peter understood this quite well.
  4. The Holy Spirit Identifies Himself as God
    1. Hebrews 3.7-11:
      1. Interesting to note that the Holy Spirit says that the fathers tempted “me” by proving “me”, and saw “my” works forty years.

X. Conclusion

As human beings, as created things, we ought to be very careful how we present God to the world. It is a fearful thing to even put this outline together, because – as I mentioned in the Introduction – I do understand that He is an incomprehensible God, and I must tread lightly. I say these things with a heart that is full of love for God: I only want people to see Him for who He is – for who HE says He is and not what Arius says, or Joseph Smith says, or Charles Taze Russell says, or Judge Joseph Rutherford says, or John Thomas says, or Benjamin Wilson says – or anyone else that I am not mentioning – that at one time or another, forgot that it isn’t “study” that brings knowledge, but a revelation from, and a holy fear of, the Mighty One – the Creator – the One with whom we have to do.

The evidence and scriptures provided here is clear and one thing certain: the One God is Triune. The Father is not the Son, the Son not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is neither, etc. They are separate, but equal, and most importantly: Echad.

 

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