The Christian Trinity has been a mystery through the centuries, even to this very day. Despite the mysterious nature, though, denying the Bible Trinity is a denial of the God of the Scriptures.
Please read John 14:15-31 before starting GraspingGod.com's free Bible Study Lessons, #1.03
Previous Lesson: Is Jesus God, #1.02
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) Where can you find the word "trinity" in the Bible?
2) What one teaching do false "Christian" teachers all have in common?
3) What is the unforgivable sin?
Get ready for your brain to hurt, because talking about the Trinity has a way of doing that to a person! Seriously, I hope that doesn't happen. Grab a spot of tea and let's enjoy another lesson.
Understanding the Christian Trinity is vital to our Christian lives. A failure to believe in the one true God, as presented in the Scriptures, is a failure to receive forgiveness for our sins, and thusly a failure to enter heaven. Grasping the Christian Trinity therefore is of the utmost of importance to me and you. This is serious business!
The question can be fairly asked, "How can one God be made up of three beings?"
I know the Christian Trinity is hard to fathom, and we will never be able to perfectly describe it, or fully grasp its true nature. But, with those limitations in mind, try this: picture God as a team, as opposed to one person. I have always loved sports, so this analogy helps me to understand. A basketball team is made up of five individuals... One team, with five people. Same for God. God is One God, but made up of three individuals: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And, NO, they don't wear uniforms!
I hope the team analogy helps you.
An accurate definition of the Christian Trinity can be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith, "In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."
Three in one. A triunity of persons.
A trustworthy Bible dictionary offers another definition of the Trinity, "In the New Testament, God revealed that He is not only one but a family of persons - an eternal, inexhaustible, and dynamic triune family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are one in will and purpose, love and righteousness."
The New Testament of the Bible is the fulfillment of the partial revelation of God found in the Hebrew Scriptures (aka Old Testament). So, although the Trinity is veiled, yet found in the Old Testament, it is a well-established teaching in the New Testament.
The three members of the Trinity, although distinct in personal attributes, share the exact nature of God, so they aren't separate beings like three different humans would be. For a visual, imagine three different humans with the same soul. I know that's a little weird and it falls way short of reality, but it's a way to help understand God.
You may object and claim, "But the word 'trinity' isn't written in the New Testament!" Well, you're right - the explicit word "trinity" isn't written in the Bible. However, much Scripture is devoted to each of the members of the Trinity, and some verses actually capture each of the individuals together. Let's do a quick survey.
The Christian Trinity can first be viewed in Genesis 1:26, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." The members of the Godhead made Adam, the first man, in their image. Therefore, the first page of the Hebrew Scriptures reveals the Trinity.
The last page of the Scriptures also reveals the Christian Trinity! Revelation 22:17 mentions the Spirit, Revelation 22:18-19 talks about God, and Revelation 22:20-21 refers to Jesus Christ. The beautiful thing is that nothing in between the Bible's first and last pages refutes the clear teaching of the Christian Trinity.
In fact, the rest of the Bible only strengthens the argument!
The clearest, best revelation of the Trinity is found at Jesus' baptism. All three members of the Godhead were seen or heard from simultaneously. The passage is found in Luke 4:21-22, "One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy." All three members of the Christian Trinity, at once, together.
Jesus presented the Trinity in his command to the disciples in Matthew 28:19, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." The Greek grammar does not allow for the three names to refer to the same being, but demands three separate beings.
Yet another writer of the Scriptures, St Paul the Apostle, clearly described the Christian Trinity in 2 Corinthians 13:14, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Once again, the Greek grammar demands three beings represented in this text.
Why is the passage so important? It's because of various distorted views on the Christianity Trinity.
You can always discern false religious training by the teaching of the Trinity. It's the one definite teaching that exposes a false belief. Christian teaching must hold to the orthodox Christian beliefs that have been held since the apostles wrote the New Testament Scriptures.
I've talked with people who get the trinitarian doctrine all confused, referring to it as "oneness." Oneness means that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the same person, but simply transform themselves into different manifestations. One moment God can be the Father, than he can quickly change into the Son, and finally, he can become the Holy Spirit.
You see, they say God is "one" but he comes in various appearances. I guess God is similar to Clark Kent, who can walk into a phone booth and turn into Superman?! Nope, not hardly.
Mormonism denies the Christian Trinity, and therefore desecrates each of the Godhead members. Jehovah's Witness teachings deny the true Bible Trinity. Christian Scientist teachings refer to God as impersonal and claim Jesus is not the Christ, but only human. Scientology defiles each member, with Jesus simply being a man with a divine spirit. New Age beliefs are in full denial of the biblical Trinity. Many other "Christian" movements deny the orthodox doctrine of the Christian Trinity, as well.
You see, when you don't understand the nature of God, you cannot place your trust in him. Trusting in some religious organization will leave you unforgiven and void of the Holy Spirit. False teachers rarely have a doctrine of the Holy Spirit for one main reason - they don't know him, because they haven't believed God's Word (1 Timothy 4:1-2). The Holy Spirit hasn't yet come to live in their hearts (Ephesians 1:13-14).
We need to learn and believe God's word, the Holy Bible.
Rejecting a member of the Godhead is blasphemy of that particular being. A blasphemer of God can repent and accept the true nature of the Father and/or Jesus and later be forgiven. However, if a person blasphemes the Holy Spirit there is no possibility of forgiveness. It's the only sin known to humankind to be unforgivable by God.
Rejecting the Holy Spirit as a personal being, or rejecting his work, will lead to condemnation in hell (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:29).
Don't let happen to you what the Pharisees let happen to themselves (Matthew 12:24). Jesus was doing great works and the Pharisees thought Satan, and NOT the Holy Spirit, was doing the works through Jesus.
Slandering and mocking the Holy Spirit reveals a heart that is so blinded and calloused that God has already judged them and will never forgive them.
My heart breaks for people who cannot grasp the Christian Trinity. It reveals unbelief in the One True God of the Scriptures. And unbelief means they remain in their natural lost condition - separated from God. They miss out on joining God's intimate family, never experiencing and enjoying forgiveness and perfect love. It's a shame and doesn't have to happen - we ALL need to grasp the Christian Trinity.
This topic directly relates to you, because when a person comes to God, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in his or her heart. The Holy Spirit communicates with Christ, who then communicates with God the Father on your behalf. All three beings of the Godhead are working together for YOU!
They are One together, and the greatest thing is that they want you to become one with them, and with other Christians.
The Christian Trinity unites all of us together, so that we form what is known as the Body of Christ - the Church. Without all three of the members of the Godhead working with each of us, none of us would join the Trinity's heavenly family (John 17:11). Let's praise this remarkable God of ours!
Join our next lesson: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Lesson 1.04
Bible Study Questions:
1) Think up another analogy for the Christian Trinity (ex. Water in three forms: ice, liquid, and steam; Egg has three elements: shell, white, and yolk).
2) How would you handle a person who told you the Christian Trinity doesn't exist?
3) What would you tell a friend who shared with you that they thought they blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, and committed the unpardonable sin?
Inspirational Bible Verses:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Think of the Father as a spring of life begetting the Son like a river and the Holy Spirit is like a sea, for the spring and the river and the sea are all one nature. Think of the Father as a root, of the Son as a branch, and of the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance in these three is one. The Father is a sun with the Son as the rays and the Holy Spirit its heat. - John of Damascus
Though the word "Trinity" first used in its Greek form trias by Theophilus of Antioch (c.A.D.180), is not found in Scripture, but the conception is there both implicitly and explicitly. - J.L.Cross
Every divine action begins from the Father, proceeds through the Son and is completed in the Holy Spirit. - Basil the Great
God is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. - James Montgomery Boice
We have not received the Spirit of God because we believe, but that we may believe. Fulgentius of Ruspe
Prayers of Thanksgiving: see more Christian Prayers
Dear Father, dear Spirit, and dear Jesus. The three of you have chosen me, changed my heart, and given me eternal life. I owe you my life, and here it is, fully renewed, joyful, and ready to serve you. Thank you for your grace. Amen
FREE printable Bible study lessons (click): Christian Trinity Lesson 1.03.
Special Note: I'm grateful to Big Book Media & Free Bible Images, Stock Exchange, Morgue Files, and Stock Photos For Free for the use of their photos; and NHEB for their Bible Verses for Christian Trinity.