Does The Bible Explicitly Teach The Trinity?
Lesson - 2C


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The following are questions with answers taken from various Wikipedia articles. This is to highlight some relevant points on the subject—"Trinity or Trinitarianism"—which people should understand before continuing the bible study. The answers are excerpt taken from the full articles written on the subject. You can readily study the full articles written on the subject by clicking on the source link after each answer.
Note:
The answers to the following religious questions are taken from various Wikipedia articles due to their neutral point of view principle.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view  However, it is still highly recommend that you search the internet for more information on the subject.

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Having learned that monotheism―belief in one God, in the the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, does not necessarily mean belief in the same God (Lesson-2B.1). This is also true in Christianity who all profess to be monotheists but they do not also necessarily believe in the same God because the vast majority of Christians are Trinitarian monotheist, but a small percentage of Christians are Unitarian monotheist (Lesson-2B.2).  Let us therefore continue our study of the Trinitarian monotheist belief in the Trinity.

The Trinity Doctrine:

2C.1   What is the Trinity?

From the Wikipedia article on the Trinity, these are written:

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.[1] The doctrine states that God is the Triune God, existing as three persons, or in the Greek hypostases,[2] but one being.[3] (Personhood in the Trinity does not match the common Western understanding of "person" as used in the English language—it does not imply an "individual, self-actualized center of free will and conscious activity."[4]:pp. 185-6. To the ancients, personhood "was in some sense individual, but always in community as well."[4]:p.186 Each person is understood as having the one identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures.) Since the beginning of the third century[5] the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as "the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."[6]

God in three persons

According to the Trinity doctrine, God exists as three persons, or hypostases, but is one being, that is, has but a single divine nature.[80] Chalcedonians—Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Anglicans and Protestants—hold that, in addition, the second person of the Trinity—God the Son, Jesus—assumed human nature, so that he has two natures (and hence two wills), and is really and fully both true God and true human. In the Oriental Orthodox theology, the Chalcedonian formulation is rejected in favor of the position that the union of the two natures, though unconfused, births a third nature: redeemed humanity, the new creation.

The members of the Trinity are said to be co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal with no beginning.[81]

It has been stated that because three persons exist in God as one unity,[82] "The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" are not three different names for different parts of God but one name for God,[83] because the Father can not be divided from the Son or the Holy Spirit from the Son. God has always loved, and there has always existed perfectly harmonious communion between the three persons of the Trinity.
Source:  Wikipedia, Trinity, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity  (as of Apr. 5, 2010, 16:11 GMT).

The TRINITY DOCTRINE is stated as follows: (Based on the above references)

  • Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.
  • The doctrine states that GOD is the TRIUNE GOD, existing as three persons, but one being.
  • Each of the persons is understood as having the one identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures.
  • Since the beginning of the third century the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as "the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
  • Members of the Trinity are said to be co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will.
  • The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal with no beginning.
  • It has been stated that because three persons exist in God as one unity, "The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" are not three different names for different parts of God but one name for God.


The Trinity in the Old Testament:

2C.2   Does the Old Testament of the Holy Bible explicitly teach the Trinity?

From, The Encyclopaedia of Religion (1987):

"Exegetes and theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity, even though it was customary in past dogmatic tracts on the Trinity to cite texts like Gen. 1:26 'Let us make humanity in our image, after our likeness.' Although the Hebrew Bible depicts God as the Father of Israel and employs personifications of God such as Word, Spirit, Wisdom, and Presence, it would go beyond the intention and the spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions with later Trinitarian doctrine..." 
[The Encyclopaedia of Religion, 1987]

From the Wikipedia article on the God in Judaism, these are written:

Judaism is based on a strict monotheism. This doctrine expresses the belief in one indivisible God. The worship of multiple gods (polytheism) and the concept of a Singular God having multiple persons (as in the doctrine of Trinity) are equally heretical in Judaism. The prayer par excellence in terms of defining God is the Shema Yisrael, originally appearing in the Hebrew Bible: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One", also translated as "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is unique/alone."[Deut. 6:4] 
Source:  Wikipedia, God in Judaism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Judaism  (as of Apr. 7, 2010, 00:30 GMT).

The Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible does not contain the doctrine of the Trinity.

  • Although the Hebrew Bible depicts God as the Father of Israel and employs personifications of God such as Word, Spirit, Wisdom, and Presence, it would go beyond the intention and the spirit of the Old Testament to correlate these notions with later Trinitarian doctrine..."
  • Judaism is based on a strict monotheism. This doctrine expresses the belief in one indivisible God. The worship of multiple gods (polytheism) and the concept of a Singular God having multiple persons (as in the doctrine of Trinity) are equally heretical in Judaism.


The Trinity in the New Testament:

2C.3   Does the New Testament of the Holy Bible Teach the Trinity?

From the Wikipedia article on the Trinity, these are written:

The New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and nowhere discusses the Trinity as such. However, Southern Baptist theologian Frank Stagg emphasizes that the New Testament does repeatedly speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to "compel a trinitarian understanding of God."[7] The doctrine developed from the biblical language used in New Testament passages such as the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19 and took substantially its present form by the end of the 4th century as a result of controversies in which some theologians, when speaking of God, used terms such as "person", "nature", "essence", "substance", terms that had never been used by the Apostolic Fathers, in a way that the Church authorities considered to be erroneous.[6][8][9][10]

References used from Scripture:

The New Testament does not use the word "Τριάς" (Trinity) nor explicitly teach it, but provides the material upon which the doctrine of the Trinity is based.[22] It required reflection by the earliest Christians on the coming of Jesus and of what they believed to be the presence and power of God among them, which they called the Holy Spirit; and it associated the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in such passages as the Great Commission: "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"[Matt. 28:19] and Paul the Apostle's blessing: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,"[2 Cor. 13:14] while at the same time not contradicting the Jewish Shema Yisrael: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one."[Deuteronomy 6:4][1]

According to Christian tradition the Trinity was introduced by the Gospels and Jesus Christ[24] "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."[Matt. 28:19-20] Jesus thus mentions the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a phrase that may suggest that there is one name that encompasses all three.

However, some scholars dispute the authenticity of the Trinity and argue that the doctrine is the result of "later theological interpretations of Christ's nature and function."[33][34] The concept was expressed in early writings from the beginning of the second century forward. Some believe the concept was introduced in the Old Testament book of Isaiah written around 700 years before Jesus, copies of which were preserved from 300 years before Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Source: 
Wikipedia, Trinity, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity  (as of Apr. 5, 2010, 20:19 GMT).

The following information are taken from above references:

  • The New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and nowhere discusses the Trinity as such.
    •  However, Southern Baptist theologian Frank Stagg emphasizes that the New Testament does repeatedly speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to "compel a trinitarian understanding of God."
    • The doctrine developed from the biblical language used in New Testament passages such as the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19
    • The Trinity took substantially its present form by the end of the 4th century as a result of controversies in which some theologians, when speaking of God, used terms such as "person", "nature", "essence", "substance", terms that had never been used by the Apostolic Fathers, in a way that the Church authorities considered to be erroneous.
  • The New Testament does not use the word "Τrinity" nor explicitly teach it, but provides the material upon which the doctrine of the Trinity is based.
    • It required reflection by the earliest Christians on the coming of Jesus and of what they believed to be the presence and power of God among them, which they called the Holy Spirit; and it associated the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in such passages as the Great Commission: "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".(Matthew 28:19)
    • and Paul the Apostle's blessing: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,"[2 Cor. 13:14] while at the same time not contradicting the Jewish Shema Yisrael: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one."
  • According to Christian tradition the Trinity was introduced by the Gospels and Jesus Christ "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19)
    • Jesus thus mentions the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a phrase that may suggest that there is one name that encompasses all three.
  • However, some scholars dispute the authenticity of the Trinity and argue that the doctrine is the result of "later theological interpretations of Christ's nature and function."
    • The concept was expressed in early writings from the beginning of the second century forward.
    • Some believe the concept was introduced in the Old Testament book of Isaiah written around 700 years before Jesus, copies of which were preserved from 300 years before Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Isaiah 9:6

The New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and nowhere discusses the Trinity as such. The New Testament does not use the word "Trinity" nor explicitly teach it, but Trinitarians claim that it provides the material upon which the doctrine of the Trinity is based.

Why the Trinity doctrine is not in the Bible

2C.4   What is the reason why the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly stated in the Bible?

 From the Wikipedia article on the Trinity, these are written:

Scriptural texts cited as implying support

The diverse references to God, Jesus, and the Spirit found in the New Testament were later systematized into a Trinity—one God subsisting in three persons and one substance—to combat heretical tendencies of how the three are related and to defend the church against charges of worshiping two or three gods.[32] The doctrine was not explicitly stated in the New Testament and no New Testament writer expounds on the relationship among the three in the detail that later writers do. Thus, while Matthew records a special connection between God the Father and Jesus the Son,[Matt. 11:27] he falls short of claiming that Jesus is equal with God[Matt. 24:36][32] although John is more explicit and writes that Jesus Christ told the Jews: "I and the Father are one".[John 10:30]
Source: 
Wikipedia, Trinity, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity  (as of Apr. 5, 2010, 20:19 GMT).

The basic reason why the Doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly stated in the New Testament is that . . . . . .

  • No New Testament writer (Christ's Apostles and disciples) ever expounded on the relationship among the three (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in detail.
  • The diverse references to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit found in the New Testament were later systematized into a Trinity—one God subsisting in three persons and one substance.

  You can easily verify the scriptural basis of the Trinity Doctrine in the succeeding lessons.

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NOTE: The use of the terms, Trinitarian, Binitarian, or Unitarian in this website are not intended to refer to any religious organization but only to denote numerical orientation in the number of persons in one God in order to simplify the way of presenting the different concept of God in Christianity.

 
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