Defending the Doctrine of the Trinity

Much of the misunderstanding about the Trinity begins with the word itself. Many interpret Trinity as meaning "three gods." However, Trinity is a compound word from the Latin word trinitas meaning "three in unity" or "three in one." Trinity is manís attempt to explain the nature of God as three separate, yet unified, persons in one being. All three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are equally God, but they are distinct in their persons. Rather than trying to build some kind of word picture or object lesson, the best way to explain the Trinity is to show that each of the persons of the Godhead is God.

The Father

Few would argue that the Father is God. In fact, when most people think of God, they tend to think of God the Father. Since it is commonly accepted that the Father is God; then, the establishment of the Trinity must come from the proof that the Son and the Spirit are God as well.

The Son

Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh to reveal God to man and bring the salvation of the world through His sacrificial death on a Roman cross. On many occasions, Jesus claimed equality with God. To believe, see, know, hate, receive, honor Him was to believe, see, know, hate, receive, honor the Father (Matt. 10:40; John 12:45; John 8:19; John 15:23; Mark 9:37; John 5:23). However, the most resounding claim came when He said, Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham, I AM John 8:58. In this statement, Jesus not only claimed eternal existence but equality with God. The Jews were ready to stone Jesus not because He claimed eternal existence but because He identified Himself with the one who spoke to Moses from the Burning Bush.

Others identified Christ as God as well. John starts right away in the very first chapter of his gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God John 1:1-2. John identifies the Word as being with God and being God. We only need to know who this Word is and we can see what John is identifying as God. John goes on to say other great things about the Word. Finally, for those who had not yet figured it out, John identifies the Word: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory... John 1:14. Jesus was the one who became flesh and dwelt among us. Therefore, when John referred to the Word being God in verse 1, you can go back and fill in Word with Jesus or Christ, and you have: In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God. This was the point John was trying to make. Jesus and God are one.

The Holy Spirit

There has been much debate through the centuries about the work of the Holy Spirit. For our purposes here, we need only to establish a link between God and the Holy Spirit. There are many verses that discuss the Holy Spirit being given to us as a comforter, guide and mediator. In his first epistle, the Apostle John writes, If we love one another, God abides in us... 1 John 4:12. John makes it clear that God dwells within the believer, demonstrated by our love for one another. Jesus, in His upper room discourse, promised the coming of the Comforter [Holy Spirit] and said, ...the Spirit of truth.. you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you John 14:17. These verses make it quiet clear that God dwells in the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Though Trinity is a word that is never used in the Bible, the doctrine of the Trinity is established throughout its pages. Three separate persons coexist as One God. Jesus is God by His own proclamation and that of others. The Holy Spirit is God by the fact that He dwells within the believer as God within us.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.