The Revelation Of The Doctrine Of The Trinity
Christian theologians regularly emphasize that the doctrine of the Trinity is something we can know only from Scripture, yet they also point out that God did not reveal himself as triune from the very beginning. We may see hints of it in the Old Testament, but not until the New Testament is this doctrine entirely clear. Moreover, the way the doctrine appears in the New Testament reflects a revelatory act that preceded its writing.
- R. C. Sproul The Mystery of Trinity
- Fred Sanders Hearing Voices: The Trinity Speaking in the Old Testament
- Fred Sanders Theology of the Trinity
1998 Westminster Lectures on Biblical Theology
Gods Revelation of Himself to Israel Not Israels Notions of God
The Unity and Personality of God the Basis of His Revelation
The Uniqueness of God in His Holiness and Power
The Exaltation of God in Righteousness and Mercy
The Culmination of Gods Revelation in His Grace in Redemption
The Consummation of Gods Revelation in Christ as RedeemerSuffering Servant, and Anointed KingRejected
Source: Benjamin B. Warfield, Gods Revelation of Himself to Israel in The Sunday School Times, August 4, 1907. Republished in The Bible Student and Teacher Vol.7, Number 4 .
Selves Gods And Modes
A self is a being who is in principle capable of knowledge,intentional action, and interpersonal relationships. A deity iscommonly understood to be a sort of extraordinary self. In the Bible,the deity Yahweh commands, forgives,controls history, predicts the future, occasionally appears inhumanoid form, enters into covenants with human beings, and sendsprophets, whom he even allows to argue with him. More than a commondeity in a pantheon of deities, he is portrayed as being the onecreator of the cosmos, and as having uniquely great power, knowledge,and goodness.
Because God in the Bible is portrayed as a great self, at the popularlevel of trinitarian Christianity one-self thinking has a firm hold.Liturgical statements, song lyrics, and sermons frequently usetrinitarian names as if they wereinterchangeable, co-referring terms, referring directly or indirectly to one and the same divine self.
But, what is a mode? It is a way a thingis, but that might mean several things. A mode ofX might be
- an intrinsic property of X
- a relation that X bears to some thing or things
- a state of affairs or event which includes X
Modes may be essential to the thing or not a mode may be something athing could exist without, or something which it must always have solong as it exists.
The Holy Spirit In The Bible
Where do we see God as Holy Spirit in the Bible?
- Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
- And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
- But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
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Reading The Words And Extracting The Meaning
Our theological formulation translates and exegetes the text. And this means, for example, that it makes use of other concepts besides those in the original. The result is that it does not just repeat what is there. To explain what is there, it sets something new against what is there.
Barth always treated the work of theology as honest labor in the field of the humanities. As such, it requires creativity and innovation and is subject to assessment and peer review. None of that is denied when we take the further step of noting theologys peculiar character as a response to divine revelation.
Theology, therefore, does not do its work by simply repeating the words of Scripture. It answers back with what it hears there, and in giving its answer, theology may be heard making any number of noises not found in the text.
This answering back is crucial to the theological task. It is what shows that something more than memorization of syllables is happening. It is what shows that one theologian has understood rightly and another has not. Anyone who is not willing to take the risks of translation, paraphrase, metaphrase, summary, and explanation has not yet crossed the threshold of theological speech.
It is one thing, said Francis Turretin, for a doctrine to be in Scripture according to sound and syllables, or formally and in the abstract and another to be in Scripture according to meaning and according to the thing signified, or materially and in the concrete.
Practical Ramifications Of The Doctrine Of Trinity
All doctrine is practical and has specific ramifications to life. This is no less true of the Triunity of the Godhead which draws our attention to the concept of the tri-fold personality of God. This communicates all the elements of personalitymoral agency, intelligence, will, emotion, and communion that exists within the three Persons of the Godhead. What are some of the ramifications of this doctrine not only for theology, but for Christian experience and life?
It teaches us that God is a God of revelation and communion.
Scripture teaches us that God is light, and one of the main functions of light is illumination. The act of revealing is as natural to God as it is for the sun. Before the creation of any being, angel or human, there was revelation and communication taking place within the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father to the Son, the Son to the Father, and so on with the Spirit. When, in the eternal decrees of God, He willed to create a universe with angelic and human beings, it was merely the expression of this very nature of God.
So if God is a fellowship within himself he can let that fellowship go out to his creatures and communicate himself to them according to their capacity to receive. This is what happened supremely when he came to redeem men: he let his fellowship bend down to reach outcast man and lift him up. And so because God is a Trinity he has something to share: it is his own life and communion.23
It gives variety to the life of the universe.
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The Trinity And Gods Love For His People
God loves us fully and completely. He loves us because He is love. The love that is shared between the members of the Trinity is mirrored in His love for us: the adopted heirs of Christ. God loves us because of grace. He chose to love us, in spite of ourselves. It is by grace alone that the Father showers us with the same love that He has for His Son. John Calvin said, That love which the heavenly Father bears towards the Head is extended to all the members, so that he loves none but in Christ.
21. John 17:22-23 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
22. Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
23. Luke 1:35 The angel replied, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
25. Romans 15:30 Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Allowed Himself To Be Worshiped
There are numerous passages where Jesus was worshiped. He allowed it because He is God. And all glory He receives He gives to the Father.
Matthew 2:11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, Greetings! And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
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Jesus In The New Testament
In the Pauline epistles, the public, collective devotional patterns towards Jesus in the early Christian community are reflective of Paul’s perspective on the divine status of Jesus in what scholars have termed a “binitarian” pattern or shape of devotional practice in the New Testament, in which “God” and Jesus are thematized and invoked. Jesus is described as “existing in the very form of God” , and having the “fullness of the Deity in bodily form” . Jesus is also in some verses directly called God .
The Gospels depict Jesus as human through most of their narrative, but “ne eventually discovers that he is a divine being manifest in flesh, and the point of the texts is in part to make his higher nature known in a kind of intellectual epiphany.” In the Gospels Jesus is described as forgiving sins, leading some theologians to believe Jesus is portrayed as God. This is because Jesus forgives sins on the behalf of others, people normally only forgive transgressions against oneself. The teachers of the law next to Jesus recognizes this and said
âWhy does this fellow talk like that? Heâs blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?â Mark 2:7
Jesus in later Christian theology
Is The Trinity Taught In The Old Testament
Trinitythe TrinityThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in the Hebrew concept of plurality in unity:ehadehadThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in the names for God:ElohimYahwehElohim-imelohimAdonaiAdonaiThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in the appearances of the Angel of the Lord:from meThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in its descriptions of the Spirit of God:The doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in Godâs self-references:plural pronounsusourourusUsIusmajestic pluralThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in Messianic passages:YahwehAdonaiElohimThe doctrine of the Trinity finds support in the Old Testament in the repetition of Godâs qualities or His name:holy, holy, holy
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Is The Trinity Contradictory
This leads us to investigate more closely a very helpful definition of the Trinity which I mentioned earlier: God is one in essence, but three in Person. This formulation can show us why there are not three Gods, and why the Trinity is not a contradiction.
In order for something to be contradictory, it must violate the law of noncontradiction. This law states that A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship. In other words, you have contradicted yourself if you affirm and deny the same statement. For example, if I say that the moon is made entirely of cheese but then also say that the moon is not made entirely of cheese, I have contradicted myself.
Other statements may at first seem contradictory but are really not. Theologian R.C. Sproul cites as an example Dickens famous line, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Obviously this is a contradiction if Dickens means that it was the best of times in the same way that it was the worst of times. But he avoids contradiction with this statement because he means that in one sense it was the best of times, but in another sense it was the worst of times.
So a closer look at the fact that God is one in essence but three in person has helped to show why the Trinity is not a contradiction. But how does it show us why there is only one God instead of three? It is very simple:
The Doctrine Of The Trinity: There Is Only One God
Repeatedly in Scripture we can see that God is ONE. The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that God exists eternally as three distinct Persons and yet they are all one in essence. Each Person is fully God, but they are ONE in being. This is a mystery that we in our finite human minds cannot fully grasp, and thats ok.
11. Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts I am the first, and I am the last and beside me there is no God.
12. 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.
13. Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
14. Mark 12:32 The teacher of religious law replied, Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.
15. Romans 3:30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
16. James 2:19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
17. Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
18. 1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
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Scriptures On The Oneness Of God
Old Testament Scriptures
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
Verse 4 is subject to various translations, though the statement is likely stressing the uniqueness of Yahweh and should be translated, The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.
However, there is also a secondary emphasisThe Lords indivisibility. This is apparent in most English translations. This confession clearly prepares the way for the later revelation of the Trinity, but how? God is a plural word, and the word one refers to one in a collective sense. As such, it is used of the union of Adam and Eve to describe two persons in one flesh. Further, it is used in a collective sense, like one cluster of grapes rather than in an absolute sense as in Numbers 13:23 when the spies brought back a single cluster of grapes. Furthermore, the oneness of God is implied in those Old Testament passages that declare that there is no other God beside Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Deuteronomy 4:35 To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God there is no other besides Him.
Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other I am God, and there is no one like Me.
Isaiah 43:10 You are My witnesses, declares the LORD, And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.
The New Testament is even more explicit:
The Trinity: 17 Verses About The Oneness Of God
Understanding the Trinityone God in three persons takes us into deep theological waters, where the simplest math fails us: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.
Even though the word Trinity never appears in the Bible, God reveals himself throughout Scripture as one being in three persons . While we cant find answers to every question about the Trinity, we can grow in our love for God by searching Scripture to discover how he reveals himself to us.
Here are 17 verses about the Trinity, organized by topic:
- The Trinity exists in 3 persons
- Each person of the Trinity is God
- There is only one God
But first, heres a tip: you can find verses on nearly any Bible-related topic in the Logos Bible app.
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The Trinity Is Mentioned In The Apostles Creed
The early Church believed in the doctrine of the Trinity. We can see each persons of the Trinity expressed in one of the churches early documents, the Apostles Creed.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,creator of heaven and earth.I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spiritand born of the virgin Mary.He suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended to the dead.On the third day he rose again.He ascended into heaven,and is seated at the right hand of the Father.He will come again to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy universal Church,the communion of the saints,the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting. Amen.
What Is The Doctrine Of The Trinity: There Is One God
The Bible is clearly monotheistic. Scripture tells us that there is only one God. All three Persons of the Trinity are One in Essence, and they are all individually called God.
Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
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