The Trinity : 1

The Doctrine of the Trinity: A Biblical Basis

The Bible never uses the word “Trinity” but it has a lot to say about this very important truth. In this inspiring message, Brian Watts lays out the foundational themes in the Bible upon which this doctrine is built. They are themes which will provoke us to worship! The recording lasts 61 minutes.

A definition: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and each person is fully God, and there is one God.

1. The Biblical basis for the Doctrine of the Trinity

a) Partial revelation in the Old Testament.

  • Gen 1:26 ; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8; Ps 110:1 (quoted in Mt 22:41-46)

b) Clearer revelation in the New Testament

  • Mt 3:16,17; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Peter 1:1-2

So what does the Bible clearly say concerning the Trinity? Wayne Grudem (in his “Bible Doctrine: Essential teachings of the Christian Faith”) suggests it can be summarised under three essential assertions.

  • God is three persons
  • Each person is fully God
  • There is one God

2. A Summary of the Biblical teaching on the Doctrine of the Trinity.

a) God is three persons

  • Distinction between Father and Son: Heb 7:25
  • Distinction between Father and Spirit: John 14:26
  • Distinction between Son and Spirit: John 16:7

b) Each person is fully God

  • God the Father is clearly God – as is evident from the beginning (Gen 1:1)
  • The Holy Spirit is fully God: Acts 5:3,4; Compare John 3:5-7 with 1 John 3:9
  • The Son is fully God: John 1:1-4

If Jesus was merely a created being:

(i) He would not be great enough to save us.

(ii) He would not be worthy of the worship we are told to give him.

c) There is One God

  • Deut 6:4-6; Isa 45:5-6; 1 Tim 2:5; John 17:3-4
  • Athanasian Creed: “So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet there are not three Gods but one God.”

3. What can say about the Distinctions between the Persons, without compromising the Unity of Being?

a) Each person has different primary functions in relating to the world:

  • In creation
  • In redemption

b) While there is equality in being, there is subordination in roles

c) We should be more careful in our praying

4. What are the implications of the Doctrine of the Trinity?

One undivided Trinity,
With triumph we proclaim.
Thy universe is full of thee
And speaks thy glorious name

Holy holy holy Lord,
Our heavenly song shall be
Supreme, essential One adored,
In co-eternal Three
Charles Wesley:
“Hail! holy holy holy Lord” – vs.2,5

Recommended Reading:

Wayne Grudem: Bible Doctrine
Essential teachings of the Christian Faith (Zondervan; 1999)
A great easy-to-read textbook on basic Christian doctrines, academically thorough but with an eye on devotion and application

Bruce L.Shelley
Church History in Plain Language (Word; 1982)
A simple one-volume overview of Church History which highlights all the major characters and ideas – including a chapter on the Arius / Athanasius debate

Parker T.Williamson:
Standing Firm – Reclaiming Christian Faith in times of controversy (PLC Publications; 1996)
A fascinating study of the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity (and the Arius controversy in particular) for what is happening in the modern church’s troubles with liberalism, gender issues, and New Age philosophies infiltrating the church. Williamson chronicles this battle in his own Presbyterian circles.

James B.Torrance
Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace (IVP; 1996)
- “Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father” (p.15)

Brian Watts is Pastor of The King's Community Church and lives in Langley with his wife Rosalind.
© 1994-2006 THE KING'S Community Church