Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Trinity Nature of God

Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
The Trinity Nature of God


  Many people have wondered about what is meant by the Trinity of God, and there has been a lot of misunderstanding about it throughout History. I find that the best way to understand the Trinity(tri-unity) of God is by just examining the Bible Verses which God has provided to explain Himself, and then believing these verses. You don't need to do a lot of mental or verbal gymnastics to explain the verses and thus the Trinity of God: you just need to compare these verses with faith, and then they will be profitable for you. This study starts out with a statement of faith, then goes on to give some major verses in which God is trying to convey what He is like for our benefit and teaching, and then excerpts from an article by Jerry M. Henry in the Holman Bible Dictionary and Stephen D. Swihart’s, “The Work of the Trinity”.

  We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect
  and eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe by comparing the scriptures in this study you will come to the conclusion all three are God and all three are one.

It seems to have been a man named Theophilus of Antioch who first applied the term trinity to this Biblical concept as early as 181 A.D. or from the Latin trinitas, first used by Tertullian (A.D. 220), to express this doctrine. But it was the Anathasian Creed, completed sometime in the fifth century, which stated it most clearly: “We worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons, nor separating the substance.”

Gen 1:1 (KJV)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
God = Myhla 'elohiym el-o-heem' - Masculine plural of hwla 'elowahh el-o'-ah – Masculine God

Deu 6:4 (KJV)
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD
God = Myhla 'elohiym el-o-heem'

Gen 1:26-27 (KJV)
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

1 John 5:7 (KJV)
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
1Tim 3:16 (KJV)
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory

Mat 1:23(KJV)
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Luke 3:21-22 (KJV)
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, {22} And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Mat 28:18-20 (KJV)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 10:30 (KJV)
I and my Father are one.

Gen 3:22a (KJV)
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:

Gen 11:6-7 (KJV)
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.{7} Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

2 Cor 13:14 (KJV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Heb 1:1-3 (KJV)
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; {3} Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

1 Cor 8:6 (KJV)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

John 8:57-59 (KJV)
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? {58} Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 10:30-33(KJV)
I and my Father are one. [31} Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. {32} Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? {33} The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 5:17-23 (KJV)
But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. {18} Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. {19} Then answered Jesus and said unto them,   Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. {20} For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. {21} For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. {22} For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: {23} That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 14:23-26 (KJV)
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. {24} He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.  {25} These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. {26} But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 14:9-21 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? {10} Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. {11} Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. {12} Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;   and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. {13} And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. {14} If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. {15} If ye love me, keep my commandments. {16} And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; {17} Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive,   because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. {18} I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. {19} Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. {20} At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. {21} He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

GOD the Father God the Son - Jesus

Gen 1:1 (KJV)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Colossians 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Hebrews 1:10
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Isa 63:16
Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. Titus 2:13-14
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
{14} Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Mat 4:10
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Hebrews 1:6
And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
John 20:28
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
1 Tim 4:10
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. John 4:42
And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.
2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:

The Doctrine of the Trinity (excerpts from the Holman Bible Dictionary article. "The Trinity" included)

  The TRINITY is a theological term used to define God as an undivided unity expressed in the threefold nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As a distinctive Christian doctrine, the Trinity is considered as a divine mystery beyond human comprehension to be reflected upon only through scriptural revelation.
  The Trinity is a biblical concept that expresses the dynamic character of God..... While the term "trinity" does not appear in Scripture, the trinitarian structure appears throughout the New Testament to affirm that God Himself is manifested through Jesus Christ by means of the Spirit.  A proper biblical view of the Trinity balances the concepts of unity and distinctiveness.
  Two errors that appear in the history of the consideration of the doctrine are "tritheism" and "unitarianism"....
  In "tritheism", error is made in emphasizing the distinctiveness of the Godhead to the point that the Trinity is seen as three separate Gods, or a Christian polytheism. On the other hand, "unitarianism" excludes the concept of the distinctiveness of each Person, while focusing solely on the aspect of God the Father. In this way, Christ and the Holy Spirit are placed in lower categories and made less than divine. Both errors compromise the effectiveness and contribution of the activity of God in redemptive history.

   The biblical concept of the Trinity developed through progressive revelation. The Revelation of God is the content and process of God's making Himself known to people. The word "revelation" means an uncovering, a removal of the veil, a disclosure of what was previously unknown. Revelation of God is God's manifestation of Himself to humankind in such a way that men and women can know and fellowship with Him.
  All knowledge of God comes by way of revelation. Human knowledge of God is revealed knowledge since God, and He alone, gives it. He bridges the gap between Himself and His creatures, disclosing Himself and His will to them. By God alone can God be known.
  The Old Testament consistently affirms the unity of God through such statements as, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). God's oneness is stressed to caution the Israelites against the polytheism (many-gods) and practical atheism of their heathen neighbors.

  The Old Testament does feature implications of the Trinitarian idea. This does not mean that the Trinity was fully knowable from the Old Testament, but that a vocabulary was established through the events of God's nearness and creativity; both receive developed meaning from New Testament writers.
   For example, the word of God is recognized as the agent of creation (Ps. 33:6,9; compare Prov. 3:19; 8:27), revelation, and salvation (Ps. 107:20). This same vocabulary is given distinct personality in John's prologue (John 1:1-4) in the person of Jesus Christ. Other vocabulary categories include the wisdom of God (Prov. 8) and the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30; Zech. 4:6).

   A distinguishing feature of the New Testament is the doctrine of the Trinity. It is remarkable that New Testament writers present the doctrine in such a manner that it does not violate the Old Testament concept of the oneness of God. In fact, they unanimously affirm the Hebrew monotheistic faith, but they extend it to include the coming of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  The early Christian church experienced the God of Abraham in a new and dramatic way without abandoning the oneness of God that permeates the Old Testament. As a fresh _expression of God, the concept of the Trinity--rooted in the God of the past and consistent with the God of the past--absorbs the idea of the God of the past, but goes beyond the God of the past in a more personal encounter.
   The New Testament does not present a systematic presentation of the Trinity. The scattered segments from various writers that appear throughout the New Testament reflect a seemingly accepted understanding that exists without a full-length discussion. It is embedded in the framework of the Christian experience and simply assumed as true. The New Testament writers focus on statements drawn from the obvious existence of the trinitarian experience as opposed to a detailed exposition.

The New Testament evidence for the Trinity can be grouped into four types of passages....

  The first is the trinitarian formula. In each passage a trinitarian formula, repeated in summation fashion, registers a distinctive contribution of each person of the Godhead. See for example, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:4.
  Matthew 28:19, for example, follows the triple formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that distinguishes Christian baptism. The risen Lord commissioned the disciples to baptize converts with a trinitarian emphasis that carries the distinctiveness of each person of the Godhead while associating their inner relationship. This passage is the clearest scriptural reference to a systematic presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity.
  Paul, in 2 Corinthians 13:14, finalized his thoughts to the Corinthian church with a pastoral appeal....
  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.2 Cor 13:14 (KJV)

  It is significant that in the trinitarian order, Christ is mentioned first. This reflects the actual process of Christian salvation, since Christ is the key to opening insight into the work of the Godhead.
  In 1 Peter 1:1-5, the trinitarian formula is followed with reference to each person of the Godhead.
  {1} Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, {2} Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.1 Pet 1:1-2 (KJV)

John addressed the readers of Revelation with an expanded trinitarian formula that includes references to the persons of the Godhead (Rev. 1:4-6).
    Rev 1:4-6 (KJV) John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; {5} And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, {6} And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

  The focus on the triumph of Christianity crystallizes the trinitarian greeting into a doxology that acknowledges the accomplished work and the future return of Christ. This elongated presentation serves as an encouragement to churches facing persecution.

   A second type of New Testament passage is the triadic form. Two passages cast in this structure are Ephesians 4:4-6 and 1 Corinthians 12:3-6. Both passages refer to the three Persons, but not in the definitive formula of the previous passage. Each Scripture balances the unity of the church. Emphasis is placed on the administration of gifts by the Godhead.

  A third category of passages mentions the three persons of the Godhead, but without a clear triadic structure. In the accounts of the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:3-17; Mark 1:9-11; and Luke 3:21-22), the three synoptic writers recorded the presence of the Trinity when the Son was baptized, the Spirit descended, and the Father spoke with approval. Paul, in Galatians 4:4-6, outlined the work of the Trinity in the aspect of the sending Father. Other representative passages in this category (2 Thess. 2:13-15; Titus 3:4-6; and Jude 20-21) portray each member of the Trinity in relation to a particular redemptive function.
The fourth category of trinitarian passages includes those presented in the farewell discourse of Jesus to His disciples (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:13-15). In the context of these passages, Jesus expounded the work and ministry of the third person of the Godhead as the Agent of God in the continuing ministry of the Son. The Spirit is a Teacher who facilitates understanding on the disciples' part and, in being sent from the Father and the Son, is one in nature with the other Persons of the Trinity. He makes known the Son and "at the same time makes known the Father who is revealed in the Son" (16:15). The discourse emphasizes the interrelatedness of the Trinity in equality and operational significance.
    All of these passages are embryonic efforts by the early church to express its awareness of the Trinity. The New Testament is Christological in its approach, but it involves the fullness of God being made available to the individual believer through Jesus and by the Spirit. The consistent trinitarian _expression is not a formulation of the doctrine, as such, but reveals an experiencing of God's persistent self-revelation.
The Work of the Trinity

    The Work of the Trinity in Salvation by Stephen D. Swihart     offers the following helpful information: "The relationship of the Father to the Son, and the Son to the Holy Spirit in the plan of salvation is unique. A careful study of the following outline will make this association plain."

The Father’s work: Design the plan in eternity.
a. Foreknow (Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Pet. 1:2, 20).
b. Predestinate (Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29, 30; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11).
c. Choose/elect (Mt. 20:16; 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Mk. 13:20, 22, 27; Lk. 18:7; Acts 9:15; 22:14; 26:16; Rom. 8:33; 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 16:13; Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2:4, 6, 9; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rev. 17:14).
d. Call (Mt. 20:16; 22:14; Acts 2:39; Rom. 1:6, 7; 8:29, 30; 9:7, 11, 24; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:2, 9, 24, 26; Gal. 1:6, 15; 5:8, 13; Eph. 1:18; 4:1, 4; Phil. 3:14; Col. 3:15; 1 Thess. 2:12; 5:24; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2:14; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1; 9:15; 11:18; 1 Pet. 1:15; 2:9, 21; 3:1; 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3, 10; Jude 1; Rev. 17:14).
The Son’s work: Discharge the plan in fullness of time.
e. God’s eternal covenant with Christ: real.
f. Matthew 26:54; Mark 14:21; Luke 22:22 with Luke 24:25-27, 46; Acts 2:23; 4:25-28; 13:27, 28; 26:22, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; 1 Peter 1:11, 20.
g. 2 Corinthians 1:20; Galatians 3:17; cf. Luke 1:68-79; Hebrews 11:13, 17-19, 39, 40.
h. Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 3:11; cf. Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9.
i. Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-9; cf. John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 17:14; 18:11.
j. Isaiah 42:6; cf. Malachi 3:1.
k. Hebrews 7:22; cf. Hebrews 9:15, 16; 12:24; 13:20.
i. God’s eternal covenant with Christ: revealed.
1. That Christ should be the second federal Head of the human race (1 Cor. 15:45-47).
2. That Christ would partake of flesh and bones (Heb. 10:5-9).
ii. That Christ would function in a Son and Servant relationship to God (Isa. 43:10; 49:3-6; 52:13; Mt. 12:8-20; Jn. 10:17; 12:49; 14:28, 31; Acts 3:26; Phil. 2:7).
iii. That Christ would die for the sins of the world (Mt. 1:21; 18:11; Jn. 1:29; 12:23, 47; 17:1-5; Acts 3:26; Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 2:14, 15; 10:5-10; 1 Jn. 3:5, 8; 4:9, 10).
iv. That Christ would receive as his inheritance the nations, along with all power and authority (Ps. 2:6-8; 8:5-8; 22:27; 110:1-7; Dan. 7:13, 14; Mt. 11:27; 28:18; Jn. 3:35; Eph. 1:20-23; Rev. 1:5).
The Spirit’s work: Declare the plan daily.
l. Propagation (Lk. 8:5-15; Rom. 1:16; 10:14-17; 15:18-21; 1 Cor. 1:18-24; Col. 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 1:5, 6; 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18, 21; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
m. Conviction (Zech. 12:10; Jn. 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 14:24).
n. Regeneration (Jn. 3:3-7; Titus 3:5, 6).
o. Sanctification (Rom. 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).
  (The Victor Bible Source Book, pp. 120, 121)

In conclusion, our God is a righteous and just God. He would never ask or allow another to pay for your and my sins, BUT He would pay for our sins Himself. Jesus Christ, God the Son, died for our sins. Without the trinity, we would not have a just God. If Jesus is not God, then God the Father would not be just in allowing another created being to pay for our sins.

Bob, Zelma, Ken 

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