DISCIPLESHIP LESSON #6
God is a trinity.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7
This lesson is very essential to understand the nature of God, yet it is the hardest one to convey because there is nothing like this concept in the world. The word trinity never appears in the Bible but the description of it is all throughout. It comes from two words, tri which means three and unity which means oneness. So God is three but one. How we like to explain it is that God is as a whole 100% God but then there are three persons that are themselves 100% God. So God the Father is God; God the Son (Jesus) is God; the Holy Spirit is God. But they all together is God. I cannot tell you just how this works because no one can truly fathom it. What I can do is just to teach what the Bible says on the matter. The job for anyone reading is very simple: Take the information in by faith and see it in Scripture to help you understand this unique characteristic. You might be asking, “If you can’t really understand this idea, why bother with it?” It is all about teaching sound doctrine, and in knowing more about what the Bible says about the trinity, you will be able to discern right doctrine from wrong. What I am going to try to achieve here is to briefly illustrate the trinity in the Old and New Testament. This is just a beginner’s look at the trinity.
In the Old Testament, the first time that this concept is seen is in the one of the first words, God. The word God is translated from the Hebrew word elohim. This word, like in English, has a root that the word is built from and an ending addition called the suffix: el, the root of elohim is the generic word for God and the suffix im makes this word a plural. But this word is translated not as a plural but in the singular, God. Hebrew scholars have suggested that what is being used here is the majestic plural, a linguistic technique used by kings in referring to themselves in the plural. Yet there is more than one way to see it. The plural at the end of the word for God does open the door to suggest the mystery of the trinity. Also the trinity is seen in Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” and then in the next verse, it says that God made man in his own image (all bolding is done to emphasis the point I’m making). If one ignores the trinity in the early parts of the Old Testament, then he would miss something very valuable in seeing this idea through the rest of the Bible. Yet the Old Testament mostly describes God as a unity and not three persons. That is not to say that it is there, but the persons of God is not emphasized until the New Testament. The John 3:16 of the Old Testament for Jews is Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” The reason why the trinity is not as seen in the Old Testament than in the New is because the people of Israel could not handle the idea of that there is one God yet three in the one.
In the New Testament, much is seen in the area of the Trinity. First John 5:7 shows the clearest description of the trinity, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Another clear example of the trinity in the New Testament is at the baptism of Jesus: Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, and afterward, the Holy Ghost came down in the form of a dove, and God the Father said that this is His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. When the Bible talks about the Father-Son relationship, it testifies that they are equal to each other. Also when the Bible talks about the Spirit of God, it is equal being the very essence of God being God. Hence we have the recognition of the Holy Spirit as God, the Father as God, and the Son as God. And the gospel of John shows the trinity as well with every phrase that Jesus says about the Father and Himself like John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.”. Then you also have much when Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit in the later chapters of John like John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” The Bible, when it says another in this passage, shows that it is another of the same kind; so Jesus was their comforter being God and the Holy Spirit will be another comforter of the same kind, being God. The rest of the New Testament speaks about the Godhead and the different roles of the Persons. In First Peter 1:2, Scripture says, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Each one of the Persons are equally God of themselves, yet they make up one whole God. This is something that is hard to understand, but we need to by faith accept it.
What you need to do this week is each day think about the trinity and with every day look at a few Scriptures to reinforce in your mind the truth of the trinity, accepting it by faith. If you do this then you will be able to discern right doctrine from error.
MORE VERSES THAT SUPPORT THE TRINITY – ONE FOR EACH DAY THIS WEEK:
Exodus 20:2 compared to John 20:28
1 Corinthians 12:3-6
2 Corinthians 13:14