One common assertion from many modern skeptics is that the Church’s teaching on the Trinity is not in the Bible. So they often ask: Why do Christians believe it? Therefore in this post I will answer the question why Christians believe in the Trinity.
First, it is not entirely accurate to say that the Trinity is not in the Bible. It is certainly true that the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. However, neither are many words and concepts that the Bible clearly teaches, e.g. omnipresent (everywhere), omniscience (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful) & incarnation, just to name a few. Therefore, it is clear the Bible teaches many concepts without using their modern terminology or labels. But that does not mean the concept (or doctrine) is non-biblical. The Trinity is one such doctrine, that though the modern term (Trinity) is not contained in scripture, is still nevertheless clearly taught in scripture. To that point, there are four truths that the Bible makes clear: The Heavenly Father is divine, the Son (Jesus Christ) is divine, the Holy Spirit is divine – and there is only one divine being, GOD.
Below are a select few (as there are many more) scriptural references to support each truth:
The Heavenly Father is God
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:3)
“One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6)
“Father to the fatherless, and defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” (Psalms 68:5)
“So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6)
“Jesus received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” (2 Peter 1:17)
Therefore as one can see, there is ample biblical support in affirming the Heavenly Father is God. Although most people do not have difficulty accepting the view that God is our Heavenly Father.
The Son is God
“For in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form,” (Colossians 2:9)
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
“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.” (John 1:14)
“Before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:58).
“I and the Father are one,” (John 10:30). Note, related to this is John 5:18 “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him … he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9:5)
Therefore as one can see, there is ample biblical support affirming the Son, Jesus Christ, is God. Note how in John 8:58 Jesus affirms his preexistence from eternity past while applying the divine “I AM” name for God (from Exodus 3:14) to himself. Once more, Jesus accepts worship in Matthew 8:2, which is reserved for God alone, and forgives sins throughout, e.g. Mark 2:5, which is reserved for God. Jesus also affirms his disciple Thomas when he says to him, “My Lord and my God!” in John 20:28. And if anyone still needs more, the Father calls him “God” in Hebrews 1:8 – which should alleviate all doubt.
The Holy Spirit is God
“But when the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15:26)
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
“The angel answered (her), “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might,” (Isaiah 11:2)
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Therefore as one can see, there is ample biblical support affirming the Holy Spirit is God. To that point, the Holy Spirit is specifically identified as God in Acts 5:3-4. Once more, just as John identifies Christ as the “Word,” who was “with God,” and “was God” and through whom creation was made and spoken into existence; Genesis 1:2 also identifies the Holy Spirit with God the Father in creation, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
There is only One God
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
“There is but one God” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder!” (James 2:19)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:25)
Therefore as one can see, there is ample biblical support affirming that there is only one God. This belief in one God is the central teaching of Judaism, and affirmed in Christianity too.
Now putting these four truths together, the doctrine of the Trinity reveals itself through the scriptures. It is the Trinity that uniquely accounts for all four truths: it shows us that God is a Tri-unity. Further explained, “Tri” meaning three persons, or truths # 1, 2 & 3 – and “unity” in one God, or truth # 4. A common way theologians explain this is that “there is one God who eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” As theologian and scholar Norman Geisler has observed:
“The Trinity is not the belief that God is three persons and only one person at the same time and in the same sense. That would be a contradiction. Rather, it is the belief that there are three persons in one nature. This may be a mystery, but it is not a contradiction.”
Therefore in conclusion, the doctrine of the Trinity is a biblical teaching revealed through the scriptures. That is why Christians believe in the Trinity. Some may ask: Why does God not make this simpler and less complicated? However, this is not an idea or concept God invented. But rather, a revelation to us through the sacred scriptures of just who he actually is. When people realize that when discussing the nature of God, we are in fact speaking about the eternal, omnipresent, almighty creator of the entire universe – it should then come as no surprise that we, as limited human beings, will be unable to fully grasp or understand the nature and divine being of God. Nevertheless, because the Trinity illustrates God’s own self-revelation to us, it is a very important doctrine that we as believers must hold on to, affirm and strongly defend. All that said, I will close this post with the command of Jesus to his followers:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirt, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Thank you for reading. I hope some may have found this post insightful.