One of the many uninformed criticisms of the Christian faith is that:
- Christians claim to base their faith on the Bible.
- Christians profess the Trinity.
- The Trinity is not in the Bible.
Obviously, points one and two are not in dispute. Point three is the misinformation – a part-truth that is intentionally misleading. So perhaps it’s not all that uninformed; however, it gets repeated by those who are uninformed.
All lies contain a portion of truth. In this case, the truth is that the term ‘Trinity’ is not in the Bible. The concept, however – the idea – better yet the description and assumption of God as triune, or one God in three persons – is everywhere; woven throughout the Bible.
Of course, someone might argue that Jews do not acknowledge the Trinity, so perhaps it is strictly a New Testament concept. Modern Judaism and even the Judaism of Jesus’ day, however, are very different from the religion of the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible.
The Israelites understood the oneness of God, and yet they also understood the limitless nature of God. God is described as spirit, as Word, as wisdom. There is even an incarnate Word of God who shows up several times in the Old Testament, though that is a post for another time…
At any rate, however difficult it may be to understand the Trinity (and it is impossible to fully understand the nature of God, limited as we are in our capacities as “not God”), it is how God describes Himself, and is therefore foundational for the Christian faith. If we do not take God at His Word, then we elevate ourselves above God, and make gods of ourselves.
OK, so proof time:
Helpful Bible Passages on the Trinity
God the Father
There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist. 1 Corinthians 8:6a
For this is what the LORD says– He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– He says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other…and there is no other god besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18, 21b-22
(There is) one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:5-6
God the Son
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 14
(Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-17
After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” John 17:1-5
God the Holy Spirit
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
(Jesus said), “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:25-26
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 3b-6, 11a
One God in three Persons
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deuteronomy 6:4
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:4-6
By the way: once you understand (or at least accept by faith) that God is triune (one God in three persons), the Bible starts to make a lot more sense. After all, who hasn’t asked why God talks to Himself in the plural so often in Genesis?
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Genesis 1:26a
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” Genesis 11:5-7
So the people who say that the Trinity is not in the Bible are taking the absence of a word and using it as evidence that there is no teaching. But the Bible does not work this way. Scripture interprets Scripture. We don’t take a single verse out of context to prove a point – we read all of Scripture as the Word of God written to different and various contexts. When all of the Scripture is taken into account, then the reality that the Word of God takes for granted that God is one God in three persons becomes evidently clear.