Is the Trinity in the Bible? What does the Bible actually show us about who God is? How can we explain the Trinity to people who think it is made up or a contradiction? Here are six reasons that we can say, “Yes, the Trinity is in the Bible.”
The Trinity is Foundational to Your Faith!
Is the Trinity important? Yes! Christians believe in one God. But our God exists as a Trinity.
- The Trinity is unique to Christianity and distinguishes it from all other worldviews
- The Trinity means that our one God exists as three Persons
- Those three Persons are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- Understanding the Trinity is foundational to Christianity's truthfulness (1 Cor. 15:14)
Is The Trinity in the Bible? No, and Yes
Some critics complain that the Trinity cannot be true because the word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible. The word Trinity doesn’t appear in the Bible. But this is not an argument against the reality of the Trinity.
- Only one God exists (monotheism)
- And this one God exists as three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
These twin truths lead to the only reasonable conclusion of the Trinity.
1. Only One God (Monotheism) Makes Up the Trinity in the Bible
The first truth is that the Bible proclaims that God is one (monotheism). There is a critical OT verse in the Bible that supports monotheism.
- It is the Shema, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deut. 6:4; cf. Isa. 43:10; 46:9)
- Jesus quotes the Shema in Mark 12:28-30
Both Paul (1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Rom. 3:30; 1 Tim.1:17, 2:5) and James (James 2:19) also confirm monotheism.
2. The Trinity In the Bible Includes God the Father
The Bible repeatedly points to God the Father.
In the OT, God the Father refers to Israel as his adopted child (Exod. 4:22–23; Deut. 32:6). Other paternal metaphors for God as "Father" are in the OT (Ps. 2:7; Jer. 31:9; Isa. 1:2; Hos. 11:1-4).
In the NT, both Jesus (John 6:27) and Paul (1 Cor. 8:6) refer to “God the Father.”
3. The Trinity In The Bible Includes God The Son (Jesus)
References to Jesus as God are more veiled in the OT. There are references to Jesus as the “angel of the Lord” (Gen. 16:7-13, 18:1-33; 2 Kings 1:3-4; Isa. 63:7-10) and the “Word of the Lord” (Gen. 1:11-24; Ps. 33:4, 8-9).
In the NT, the evidence for Jesus being God is everywhere. A few examples include in the Gospels (Matt. 1:23; John 1:1-14), Paul’s writings (Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13-14), and the book of Hebrews (Heb. 1:1–3).
4. The Trinity In the Bible Includes God the Holy Spirit
The third Person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is present in the second verse of the Bible during creation (Gen. 1:2).
There are other references to the Holy Spirit in the OT.
- He is identified with God in Ps. 51:11
- He empowered the seventy elders in the wilderness (Num 11:16-17, 24-25)
- He empowered Othniel (Judg 3:10), Gideon (Judg 6:34), Saul (1 Sam 10:6, 10), and Ezekiel (Ezek 2:1–3)
In the NT Book of John, Jesus focuses on the Holy Spirit's work after his ascension (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:13–15). Peter acknowledges the “Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3–4; 28:25-27), and Paul calls him “God’s Spirit” (1 Cor. 3:16).
5. All Three Persons of the Trinity are Distinct from One Another
Each member of the Trinity is a separate person. For example, at Christ's baptism (Luke 3:21–22) and the Great Commission (2 Cor. 13:14), they are named individually.
An Analogy to Understand the Trinity
How can one God exist as three persons? That may seem like a contradiction, but it is not.
A helpful illustration to explain the Trinity is a triangle. This analogy allows us to apprehend how one God can be three Persons. Or how three distinct Persons can share one divine nature. For a triangle to exist, it must have three angles (each representing a Person of the Trinity). These angles are distinct, separate, and exist simultaneous to each other.
Each corner or angle represents one of the three Persons of the Trinity. Also, note that the Father is not the Son (Matt. 17:5; 24:36) or the Spirit (Rom. 8:26–27), and the Son is not the Spirit (Matt. 12:32; Luke 4:1; John 16:7).
6. The Members of the Trinity are Equal but Serve Different Roles
There is equality within the Trinity. The Father and the Son are equal (John 14:9), and the Father and the Holy Spirit are equal (2 Cor. 13:14).
Yet the Father is the head, first among equals (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father sends the Son (John 3:16–17), and both the Father (Luke 11:13) and the Son (John 16:7) send the Holy Spirit (John 14: 26).
Specific activities involve each member of the Trinity but in various roles. For example: how does the Trinity establish our salvation?
- God the Father planned salvation (John 3:16; Gal. 4:4-6)
- Jesus, the Son, accomplished it on the cross (John 19:30) and the resurrection (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:1-6)
- And the Holy Spirit applies it to the lives of the believers (John 3:5; Eph. 4:30)
The Son submits to the Father (1 Cor 11:3), and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (John 16:14).
There are other divine activities involving all three Persons. These include:
- Creation (Gen. 1:1-3; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16)
- The virgin conception (Luke 1:30-35)
- Jesus Christ’s baptism (Matt. 3:13-17)
- And Jesus’s ministry (Acts 10:38)
How to Answer “Is the Trinity in the Bible?”
No, the word “Trinity” is not present in the Bible. But that doesn't matter. Both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture confirm the truthfulness of the Trinity.
The Trinity is three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, sharing one divine nature. And the Trinity's divine nature is both eternal and co-equal in power and glory between the three.
The Trinity Loves You
Some claim that God made humans because he was lonely. That is absurd. God has perfect community within the Trinity for eternity. Which means he didn’t have to create us.
But in his infinite and selfless love, he created humans to have a personal relationship with each of us.
But sinful humans cannot initiate a relationship with God. So the Father sent Jesus to earth. Jesus chose to die in our place, taking the punishment for our sins on the cross. His death covered (atoned) for our sins and appeased God’s anger at our rebellion.
Christ's sacrificial death opened an opportunity for sinful humans to come to God. We can become God’s child, have our sins forgiven, and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And an indwelling Holy Spirit means we can have God’s presence with us forever. And as part of God's family, we can spend eternity with Him.
No other religion comes close to this profound sacrificial love. Whether you are thriving or struggling, God, himself loves you completely. And the Father has sent his Son and his Spirit to show you that love.
Not only can you personalize that love by placing your trust in Jesus. God is a relational God. He has been in relationship with himself forever. And as we relate to others, we can show others one small part of God’s perfect love that began in him.
Two Secrets to Understanding The Trinity by Dr. Bob Martin III