By: Steve Shirley
What is the trinity? The Bible never uses this term, however, the concept for it is very clear. The Bible says there is one God (Deut 6:4)(Jas 2:19)(1 Cor 8:4), yet, the Father (1 Th 1:1)(1 Pet 1:2), the Son (Heb 1:8) (see: "Jesus IS God"), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4) are all referred to as God.
This is how we define a triune God:
There is one God, manifested in 3 distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They have always existed eternally and simultaneously and all are equal. We do NOT believe in 3 separate gods (tritheism), nor do we believe God manifests Himself in 3 different ways (modalism). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have a relationship with each other based on selfless love. Each also has a position and function in this relationship which, while unique, shows how they manifest this love for each other, often sharing the same traits. For instance:
Glorifies the Son: (Jn 17:1)
Loves the Son: (Jn 3:35)(Jn 5:20)
Honors the Son: (Jn 8:54)
Sends the Son: (Jn 6:57)(Jn 8:16)
Sends the Holy Spirit: (Jn 14:16,26)
Glorifies the Father: (Jn 17:1)
Loves the Father: (Jn 14:31)
Honors the Father: (Jn 8:49)
Reveals the Father: (Lk 10:22)(Mt 11:27)
Sends the Holy Spirit: (Jn 15:26)(Lk 24:49)
The Holy Spirit:
Glorifies the Son: (Jn 16:13-14)
Testifies about the Son: (Jn 15:26)
The Bible also tells us that the Son submits to the Father. A problem many have people have with Jesus being equal to the Father is when He said in (Jn 14:28) "My Father is greater than I" (also see: 1 Cor 3:23,11:3). This statement refers to His position in the relationship, not His equality. A simple way to understand this is to look at a man and woman in a marriage relationship. The Bible says that men and women are equal (Gal 3:28), and when they marry they become one (Gen 2:24)(Mt 19:5-6)(Mk 10:8), yet positionally, although equal, the woman is to submit to the man (Col 3:18)(Eph 5:22-24)(1 Cor 11:3).
The Godhead is also used to describe the triune relationship. This term is used in 3 places in the Bible (Col 2:9)(Rom 1:20)(Acts 17:29).
Let me give three examples that are sometimes used to describe this triune relationship.
One is to use water as an example. Water (H2O) can be manifested in 3 ways: solid (ice), liquid, or gas (steam), yet, all are still water (H2O).
Science also shows us that all can exist at one time together when in a vacuum under gas pressure of 230 millimeters at a temperature of 0 degrees centigrade. When under these conditions, H2O becomes ice at the bottom, liquid in the middle, and gas at the top.
A second is one many ancient Christian writers have used, likening it to the three- fold aspect of the sun. We feel the warmth of the sun on our bodies. Our eyes receive the light by which we see. Finally, there is the orb itself shining in the sky, the source of both the warmth and the light. Yet, these three aspects of the sun are interrelated, for all three are inextricably linked as one: the orb in the sky, the warmth of the rays, the light it produces. To speak of the "sun" includes all three, for all are equally the "sun." (Source: Today In The Word)
A final example that is sometimes used is an egg. It is made up of 3 distinct parts: the yolk, the white, and the shell, yet, all still make up an egg.
How do we show that the Bible points to a triune God? There are a number of ways we can do this.
Two verses that clearly point to this relationship:
(1 Jn 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
(Matt 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
(Emphasis on "NAME" mine)(Note: Jesus said in the NAME and not names of)
We also have the word "us" used in 4 places in the Bible to describe God in a triune relationship.
(Gen 1:26) 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.
(Gen 3:22) And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of US, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
(Gen 11:7) Go to, let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
(Isa 6:8) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and
who will go for US? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
(Emphasis on "US" and "OUR" mine)
Another excellent way to show a triune God is to show attributes they all three share.
Who raised Jesus from the dead?
Jesus: (Jn 2:19)
Holy Spirit: (Rom 8:11)
Father: (Gal 1:1)
God: (Rom 10:9)
Who authored creation?
Jesus: (Col 1:16)
Holy Spirit: (Ps 104:30)
Father: (1 Cor 8:6)
God: (Isa 42:5)
All are called "Lord."
Jesus: (Lk 2:11)
Holy Spirit: (2 Cor 3:17)
Father: (Mt 11:25)(Lk 10:21)
Who dwells in you when you are saved?
Jesus: (Eph 3:17)
Holy Spirit: (Rom 8:9,11)
God: (1 Jn 4:15)
All have existed eternally.
Jesus: (Rev 1:8,17)(Rev 22:13)
Holy Spirit: (Heb 9:14)
God: (Rom 16:26)(Ps 90:2)
Finally, it is said that for everything of God, Satan tries to make a counterfeit. He does this at Armageddon as well, creating an "unholy trinity" consisting of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 16:13).