IS THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE?
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:6-7
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that there is only one God, eternally existent in three persons.
Who is Jesus Christ?
During His ministry on earth, our Lord Jesus Christ performed acts that only God could do. Jesus Christ commanded the forces of nature, stilling the storm, walking on water, turning water into wine and multiplying a handful of food to feed thousands (Matthew 8:23-27; 14:22-33; Luke 8:22-25). Jesus Christ forgave sins (Mark 2:1-12); He claimed to be superior to the Sabbath Law (John 5:17-18); and He gave life to whomever He pleased (John 5:19-23). He raised the widow’s son to life (Luke 7:11-15), He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:25-44).
The Apostle Paul taught that God purchased the Church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
Paul also declared that the rulers of this world had unwittingly crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8).
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9
“God who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” Hebrews 1:1-3
In so many ways, our Lord Jesus Christ claimed and demonstrated the attributes of Deity:
“For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.”
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35
“I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:23
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” John 8:58
“I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” John 16:28
“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5
Lord of the Sabbath
“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:8
“Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirit and they obey Him!’”
“So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’”
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30
“The Son of Man will send out His angels…” Matthew 13:41
The holiness and perfection of Christ’s life confirms His Deity. The Scriptures clearly state: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ could say: “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” John 8:46
Jesus Forgave Sins
The Old Testament makes it clear that only God has the power to forgive sins, yet during His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus forgave sins. To the paralytic lying on his bed the Lord Jesus declared: “Your sins are forgiven you.” Matthew 9:2
Jesus declared to the sinful woman “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48
To the woman caught in adultery Jesus declared: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
The scribes and the pharisees were outraged “Why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7
“This man blasphemes!” Matthew 9:3
To this Jesus responded: “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, your sins are forgiven you, or to say arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins – then He said to the paralytic, ‘Arise take up your bed and go to your house.’ And he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitude saw it they marveled and glorified God who had given such power to men.” Matthew 9:4-8
“I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Saviour.” Isaiah 43:11
“…And there is no other besides Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:21-22
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
The very Name of Jesus means Yahweh Saves. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Both God’s role, and His Name, as Saviour, are attributed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Our Lord Jesus claimed the power to forgive sins (Mark 2:7-10; Luke 7:48) and He is seen as the Saviour of sinners (John 3:17; Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 9:26). He raised the dead (Mark 5:35-43; Luke 7:11-17; John 11) and He gives eternal life to all who now believe in Him (Mark 10:21; John 3:16; 5:24; 1 John 5:11-12).
“Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
The Eternal Judge
In the Old Testament Yahweh alone is the Judge (Dan. 7:9-10; Psalm 99; Deuteronomy 32). Yet Jesus Christ claimed this uniquely Divine function in the New Testament (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:22-30).
“For we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:31-32
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all Judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into Judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the Voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. And has given Him authority to execute Judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:22-29
“Now I saw Heaven opened and behold a white horse, and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a Name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His Name is called the Word of God. And the armies in Heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a Name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16
Yahweh alone is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1; Psalm 33:6-9; Isaiah 42:5). The New Testament reveals that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5
“For by Him all things were created that are in Heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the Body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:16-18
Yahweh alone is worthy of worship and to worship anyone other than the Lord God would be the worst and most fundamental of all sins (Exodus 20:3-6; Deuteronomy 6:4-16). Yet, prayers are addressed to Christ (Acts 7:59; 9:13; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20); doxologies are ascribed to Christ (Romans 9:5; 2 Timothy 4:18; 2 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:5-6); Old Testament worship passages are transferred from Yahweh to Christ. For example: Isaiah 8:13-15 in “Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 9:33
The disciples worshipped Jesus (Matthew 28:17; Luke 24:52). When Thomas declared to Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28), far from rebuking him, the Lord Jesus merely suggested that he should have believed earlier.
The Book of Revelation presents the most unambiguous worship of Jesus Christ: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12-14
The name of Yahweh is ascribed to Christ. The sacred Name of God, YHWH, by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the Burning Bush, occurs 7,000 times in the Old Testament. In the Greek New Testament Yahweh is translated Kyrios (Lord). This exalted Name of Yahweh is attributed directly to Christ. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Certainly the title Lord of lords cannot be interpreted in any other way that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. “That you keep this Commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time. He who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” 1 Timothy 6: 14-15
“These will war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14
There are many occasions where the New Testament applies Old Testament passages concerning Yahweh directly to Jesus: For example Psalm 110:1 in “The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Acts 2:34-35 (Romans 8:38; Hebrews 10:12-13; 1 Peter 3:22).
Isaiah 45:23 in “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Joel 2:32 in “For whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
Psalm 68:18 in “Therefore He says: when He ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to man.” Ephesians 4:8
Isaiah 40:3 in “For this is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’” Matthew 3:3 (Mark 1:3; John 1:23).
These passages unmistakably refer to Yahweh Himself.
Of great significance is Jesus’ self-designations as the I Am (John 6:35; 8:12, 24, 58; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5; 18:5). These are deliberate identifications with God’s revelation of Himself in Exodus 3:14 as “I Am.”
When Phillip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus replied: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father, so how can you say, show us the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?…believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.”
When the high priest questioned the Lord Jesus under oath: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus answered, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven.” Mark 14:61-62
When the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy He responded: “Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world ‘You are blaspheming’, because ‘I said, I am the Son of God?’ If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me and I in Him.” John 10:36-38
When the Apostle Thomas bowed before Christ and declared: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) our Lord Jesus Christ did not rebuke him, but merely suggested that he should have believed earlier.
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9
“But to the Son He says: “Your throne O God, is for ever and ever…’” Hebrews 1:8
One God in Three Persons
Christians believe in the Trinity because there is only one God. “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:4. “Before Me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after Me.” Isaiah 44:6.
Because the Bible clearly teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God and that the Holy Spirit is God, Christians are compelled to accept that God is eternally existent in three persons.
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
The Holy Spirit is God
The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is God. “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?…you have not lied to men but to God.’” Acts 5:3-4
“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-17
There are more than 60 Bible passages which mention the three persons of the Trinity together. For example: “When He had been baptised, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were open to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove that alighted upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from Heaven saying ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’”
“For there are three who bear witness in Heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 3:4-6
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
God With Us
The very Names of Jesus (Yahweh Saves), Messiah (God’s anointed one), Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) Emmanuel (God with us) and the Son of God, point to His Deity. His uniquely perfect and sinless life, His teaching – which is unsurpassed in authority, clarity, insight and power. All of this is conclusive, and the accumulative proof of all these evidences of the Deity of Christ is overwhelming. Yet even further proof could be sought in the Resurrection: “And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:4. The empty tomb, the eyewitness accounts of those hundreds who saw Jesus alive again (1 Corinthians 15:4-8), the transformation of the disciples and even the existence of the Church worldwide, can only support the Biblical claims for the Deity of Christ!
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His Name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
When Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6 the angels were singing: “Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord of Hosts.” The Deity of Christ, the incarnation, the personality of the Holy Spirit, regeneration, justification, sanctification, the meaning of the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection cannot be understood rightly without understanding the doctrine of the Trinity. “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
The glorious truth of the incarnation is that God has made Himself known personally, specifically and fully by taking our human nature unto Himself, by coming amongst us as a particular man, yet without ceasing to be the infinite, transcendent and eternal God. God in Christ has taken upon Himself the responsibility and penalty for the sins of the world. Yahweh has borne the brunt of suffering and evil by subjecting Himself to its cruelty and horror. The Incarnation reveals the reality and depth and costly nature of His love, holiness, justice and mercy. Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who became incarnate to reveal God to us and to reconcile us to Himself. He is the second person of the Trinity. God revealed in human form. Jesus is God, and so we have a full and final revelation and redemption in and through Him.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (021) 689-4480
Fax: (021) 685-5884
Email: info@ReformationSA.orgWebsite: www.ReformationSA.org