Q The word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible, so why do we call God a trinity?
by Pastor Matt Ritchey, Managing Editor
Estimated Time to Read: 3 Minutes
ANSWER: The answer is similar to the fact that most call the coming of Christ for the Body of Christ the “Rapture” even though the word does not appear in the text of Scripture. The word may not appear but the truth of it certainly does. A trinity is a group of three, so God, being a Trinity, would be three Persons existing in One Being. Though the word “Trinity” does not appear in Scripture, the fact that the Godhead is triune IS taught in the Bible. The one true God consists of three Persons known to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The reality that there is one God is usually not argued in Christendom (see Deut. 4:35; Isa. 43:10; 44:6; 45:5-6, 18, 22). Any apprehension toward God being three-in-one can usually be accounted for by the inability to understand how three can be one. Yet, a failure to fully comprehend something does not make it untrue. I accept from the Scriptures that I am a tripartite being (body, soul, and spirit; see I Thess. 5:23). I accept it by faith for I have never touched or seen my soul or spirit. As humanity has been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), it would seem that this extends to me (one person) existing as a trinity (body, soul, spirit).
The Concept of the Trinity in Scripture
While we cannot do a word search to do a study on the Trinity, there are many verses where the three Persons of the one Godhead are mentioned. It begins on creation week with the one God (Gen. 2:2-3) using the plural form (“our,” “us”) when announcing the creation of man. Thus, one God is more than one (in this case, we learn from other Scripture the number is three) Persons.
Isaiah is credited with acknowledging the Trinity when he places “LORD” (Jehovah) in the same verse as “Lord GOD” (another Hebrew form of Jehovah but a separate person from the “me” and “I”), and “Spirit” (48:15-16). Therefore, Isaiah attributes Divinity to LORD, Lord GOD, and Spirit – three-in-one.
We see the Trinity in the record of Jesus’ baptism where the Son was baptized, the Spirit descended, and the Father speaks from Heaven (Matt. 3:16- 17; Luke 3:22). We recognize the Trinity as Jesus instructed His disciples to baptize in the authority (“name”) of “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
The Trinity is mentioned when Jesus is explaining the Holy Spirit to His disciples (See John 14:26; 15:26). Peter, while announcing the work of Christ, gave recognition to the Trinity (Acts 2:33; 10:8). In his first epistle, Peter honors “God the Father…the Spirit…Jesus Christ” (1:2). The author of Hebrews emphasizes “the blood of Christ…the eternal Spirit… the living God” (9:14). God in Trinity.
Paul, perhaps more than any other inspired recorder of Scripture, refers to the Tri-unity of God in several places: Romans 1:4; 8:9; II Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18, 22; Titus 3:6 (See also I Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:4-6).
A Sure Doctrine
No, the word “Trinity” will not be found in the Bible. It is derived from a Latin word (trinus; triad) and not Hebrew or Greek. But make no mistake, the truth of the Trinity has more than enough evidence supporting it in the Word of God. The doctrine of the one God in three Persons is not up for discussion. We may not fully understand it, but we serve One God existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – all perfectly performing their part.
Read another article from this edition of the BABQ:
Question 1: Can the Holy Spirit be taken from us?