Questions about the Trinity

Why isn‘t the word ’Trinity’ found in the Bible?

First of all, there are many terms that Christians use regularly that are not found in Scripture.

  • Trinity
  • Incarnation
  • Advent
  • Christmas
  • Lent (Season)
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter
  • Pastor

All of these words are used to describe things in Scripture or help us celebrate things in Scripture, but none of them appear in the Bible anywhere. This is just to show that just because a word is not in the Bible, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used anywhere.

The reality that God is the Trinity is shown throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Here are a few examples of places where God’s three-in-oneness is displayed.

  • Genesis 1:1-3: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
    • The Father and Spirit are explicitly seen here, but John 1:1 gives us more context – The Word was with God and was God. God spoke by His Word and all things were created.
  • Matthew 3:16-17: “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
    • We absolutely see here all three persons of the Trinity interacting with one another in one moment. So cool!
  • Birth of Jesus
    • In Jesus’ birth (or incarnation) we see the Trinity at work. The Father sends the Son. The Son is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • Though we don’t see the Father at work explicitly in the incarnation Jesus reveals Him to be working. Matthew 10:40 says, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” This reveals that the Father, Son, and Spirit were all at work in the birth of Jesus.

There are many more instances, but these are a few that are more explicit. I would encourage you to dive into your Bible and find more places where God is revealed as the Trinity.

When did the term ‘Trinity’ start getting used?

Like mentioned above, the word ‘Trinity’ is no where in the Bible, but has become common language for our Christian understanding of God. The actual word ‘Trinity’ was first used by the early church father, Tertullian (lived from 155-240 AD). His understanding is not quiet the same as ours today, but the term was used in the Nicene Creed in 381.

So basically, this word has been used to try and understand God from (almost) the beginning of Christianity.

Since God is not bound by our understanding of time, how does this affect the Trinity?

Viewing God as outside our bounds of time can alone be quite confusing. We see movies and TV shows depicting time travel and wonder if God works the same way – traveling through time lines and interacting with the world as He does. How would God being not bound by time affect our understanding of Him?

In Jesus’ baptism we see all three persons of the Trinity interacting with one another at one moment in time. Could the same God from three different moments of time be interacting with Himself at this moment? Do we just see God taking three forms of Himself from three times (as He isn’t bound by time)? The simple answer is no.

For salvation to be good news, God needs to be Triune (three-in-one). Yes, God is not bound by time, but He is eternally united to Himself, thus always interacts with creation as three persons in one essence.

Being three persons God is not simply taking on the form of Father, Son, or Spirit depending on how He is interacting with creation. This is actually known as modalism. Modalism is a heresy (incorrect believe) that states, “the persons of the Trinity represent only three modes or aspects of the divine revelation, not distinct and coexisting persons in the divine nature.”

Though it is fun to think of God as a time-traveling diety, God being outside of time more so talks to His ability to be present to all of creation at all times and always knowing everything that is going on with all of His creation.

What difference does God being the Trinity make for our salvation today?

God being the Trinity means that our salvation is possible. That sounds good, but what does it actually mean for me today?

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all playing, and have played, a pivotal role in our salvation. We have already seen how all three persons worked in Jesus’ birth – the same is true regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The wrath of the Father was poured out on the Son when He hung on the cross. After Jesus was dead for 3 days He was raised back to life by the power of the Spirit. Now that 2,000 years have nearly passed, what does the Trinity do now?

The Father has always been in the heavens, seated on His throne. From before time, the Father chose (or elected) some to be saved by His amazing grace. After Jesus came to earth, died and rose, He also ascended to the Father. Now at the Father’s right hand, Jesus is constantly pleading for us; He is always making sure that God is looking at His elect (those chosen before time) through His faithfulness rather than humanity’s sinfulness. Also when Jesus ascended, He and the Father sent the Spirit to be our helper. It is only by the Spirit’s power that anyone can come to a saving faith in Jesus. Jesus speaks to us when we read God’s Word and the Spirit reveals its truth.

Yes, it is a little confusing and can seem a bit too theological, but it is an amazing truth that is being worked out every time you open your Bible. God is constantly revealing Himself to be true through the Spirit’s power when you read the Word of God (which points always to Jesus).

In the creation story of Genesis 1 we read God talking with Himself using ‘we’ and ‘our’. Is there anywhere else that this kind of language is used?

There are actually a few places in Scripture where this language is used by God.

  • Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”
  • Genesis 3:22 says, “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.””
  • Genesis 11:7 says, “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
  • Isaiah 6:8 says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.””

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