The Bible teaches that there are three persons in the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Though Trinity is not a biblical word, the doctrine is a biblical teaching. As Wayne Gruden explains, “The word trinity is never found in the Bible, though the idea represented by the word is taught in many places. The word trinity means ‘tri-unity’ or ‘three-in-oneness.’” This word is derived from two Latin words: “tres” meaning three and “unitas” meaning unity.
The greatest verse to explain the Trinity is found in 1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” They are not three different gods; they are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If man had written the Bible, he would have left the Trinity out of it; for the Trinity is too difficult to understand. However, since God wrote the Bible, everything He says about Himself does not have to make sense. Somebody once asked Daniel Webster, “How can you reconcile the doctrine of the Trinity with reason?” He shot back, “Do you expect to understand the arithmetic of heaven?”
Sadly, the doctrine of the Trinity has been attacked and denied by false cults. Robert Spears, a Unitarian, wrote: “It is an unquestionable historical fact that the doctrine of the Trinity is a false doctrine foisted into the Church during the third and fourth centuries; which finally triumphed by the aid of persecuting errors.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, “The testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter.” Mormons disregard the oneness to emphasize the threeness which leads to tritheism. However, the doctrine of the Trinity is unequivocally proven by the Scriptures.
The first proof is the use of the Hebrew word Elohim. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). El is the singular form of the word God, but the Hebrew word for God used in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. It’s a plural noun which means, “three or more.” Because this word is used hundreds of times throughout the Old Testament, it is irrational to disprove the Trinity.
The second proof is in the use of plural pronouns. “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’” (Genesis 1:26). In Genesis 3:22 and Isaiah 6:8, the Trinity is implied in the word “us.” “And the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us…’” (Genesis 3:22) and “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us…’” (Isaiah 6:8).
Third, the use of the word “holy” found three times in Isaiah 6:3 also proves the Trinity. The verse reads, “And one cried unto another, and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory’” (Isaiah 6:3). What may be understood is the utter holiness of God as the primary and prevailing attribute of His deity. Nonetheless, all three persons of the Godhead are holy.
Fourth, all three persons of the Godhead are mentioned in the same passage or involved in the same event. Take baptism for example. In Matthew 3:16-17, all three persons of the Godhead were present at Jesus’ baptism. It says, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17). Now compare this with Matthew 28:19. The verse says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” Notice the baptismal formula in the Scriptures does not say, “in the names of,” but says, “in the name of.” The emphasis is on the oneness of God, yet there are three persons in the Godhead. Take another example such as prayer. When one prays to the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, ultimately that person is praying to God. Jesus prayed to God the Father (John 17:1), Stephen prayed to Jesus (Acts 7:59), and Christians are to pray in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20). All three are active participants in the believer’s prayers. Therefore, the Godhead cannot be repudiated in the light of such verses as 2 Corinthians 13:14 which says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all,” (2 Corinthians 13:14) and in 1 Peter 1:2 which says, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).
Fifth, creation testifies to the Trinity. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). It is illogical to disavow the truth of the Trinity. God left not himself without witness. A three leaf clover, the three states of water (vapor, liquid, and ice), and three kinds of rays from the sun bear witness of the Godhead. Perhaps the best illustration to explain the Trinity is man himself: spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is not three persons, but a three-in-one person.
Sixth, all three persons are referred to as God. There is little argument the Father is God (John 6:27; 1 Peter 1:2), but some who deny the existence of the Trinity believe Jesus is a created being and the Holy Spirit is a mere force, a power, or an influence. This is not true. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent. As Robert Reymond observes, “The three Persons taken together are not to be regarded as a greater divine being than any one of the Persons viewed singly,” and “any one of the Persons viewed singly is not to be regarded as a lesser divine being than when the three are viewed together.” Jesus is not inferior; He is equal to the Father. Though the Son was submissive in doing the Father’s will here on earth, He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” (John 10:30) and, “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me…” (John 14:11). Furthermore, how can a created being bring the universe in existence? “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3). The answer is that Jesus is the Creator and is God (Isaiah 9:6; John 10:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:8). As concerning the Holy Spirit, He is often neglected or misunderstood. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and also is spoken of being sent from the Father and the Son (John 14:16, 26; 16:7; Acts 1:8). In Acts 5:3-4, Peter referred to the Holy Spirit as God. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3-4).
Seventh, there is only one God and not three. The three persons of the Godhead are the same in substance, but distinct in subsistence. They are not three co-operating Gods. The Scriptures affirm that God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 44:6-8; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
John of Damascus once said:
The subsistences dwell and are established firmly in one another. For they are inseparable and cannot part from one another, but keep to their separate courses within one another, without coalescing or mingling, but cleaving to each other. For the Son is in the Father and the Spirit: and the Spirit in the Father and the Son: and the Father in the Son and the Spirit, but there is no coalescence or commingling or confusion. And there is one and the same motion: for there is one impulse and one motion of the three subsistences, which is not to be observed in any created nature.
In conclusion, many cults discard the Trinity. It is a great mystery to the entire human race. Who can explain or fully understand it? No one. This does not take away from the veracity of the Trinity. The Trinity is evident in the Hebrew word Elohim, plural pronouns, baptism, prayer, creation, and in many other ways. By faith, the Godhead must be accepted, for the Scriptures make it plain.