In the video below Dr Dwight Nelson, senior pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University preaches on the topic of the Trinity of the Godhead.
This is a very difficult topic to address as it discusses the essence of God himself. As human beings we still struggle with our understanding and study of things around us, and here we are about to study something about God whom we have never seen.
Man is finite and God is infinite. God is immortal and man is mortal. God is all knowing and man has limited knowledge. We therefore cannot fully understand him as we are only created beings and therefore cannot fully comprehend someone who created us.
We however can deduce some facts from what has been revealed to us in the scriptures. And the totality of the revealed word shows that there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons.
Below is a bible study guide courtesy of the Pioneer Memorial church on this important topic.
“The Last Days: Trinity Under Fire”
□ Philosophical logic
• I John 4:8—“God is love.”
• Bruce M. Metzger: “The Unitarian professes to agree with the statement that ‘God is love.’ But these words, ‘God is love,’ have no real meaning unless God is at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God were a single person, then before the universe was made, he was not love. For, if love be of the essence of God, he must always love, and, being eternal, he must have possessed an eternal object of love. Furthermore, perfect love is possible only between equals. Just as a man cannot satisfy or realize his powers of love by loving lower animals, so God cannot satisfy or realize his love by loving man or any creature. Being infinite, he must have eternally possessed an infinite object of his love, some alter ego, or, to use the language of traditional Christian theology, a consubstantial [“of one or the same being”], co-eternal, and co-equal Son.” (The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ 83)
• Otto H. Christensen: “There is a sense in which the fact that God is love requires that he be more than one person. Love must have both a subject and an object. Thus, prior to the creation of other persons, humans, God could not have really loved, and thus would not have been truly love. If, however, there have always been multiple persons within the Trinity itself, among whom love could be mutually exercised, expressed, and experienced, then God could always have been actively loving. . . . Because God is , three persons, rather than two, there is a dimension of openness and extension not necessarily found in a love relationship between two persons, which can sometimes be quite closed in nature.” (Getting Acquainted with God 58, 59)
• Two persons form a couple —three persons become a community.
□ Biblical Revelation
• In John 13-17 Jesus declares His unity with the Father (13:31,32; 14:6; 14:7; 14:9; 14:10,11; 14:12; 14:13 [et al]; 14:23; 14:28; 14:31; 15:1; 15:10; 15:15; 16:3; 16:5; 16:16; 16:27; 16:28; 16:32; 17:1-26).
o John 14:9, 10—“He who has seen Me has seen the Father . . . . I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.”
o John 14:16—“And I [one Being] will ask the Father [another Being], and He will give you another Helper [a third Being].”
o The divinity of Christ:
John 10:30-33 John 8:58-59
The Gospel of John unequivocally declares the deity and divinity of Christ: opening with “And the Word was God” (1:1-3) and concluding with “My Lord and My God!” (20:28).
o John 14:23—“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Genesis 1:27—“Let Us make man in Our image.”
Jesus Himself is describing God as plurality.
o John 14:31—“I love the Father.”
o John 15:15—“All things I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
o John 16:32—“I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
o John 17—Jesus’ entire prayer is steeped in language that declares His unity with the Father.
• In John 14-16 Jesus declares His unity with the Holy Spirit (14:16-18; 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; 16:8-11; 16:13; 16:14; 16:15).
o John 14:26—“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit [one Being], whom the Father [another Being] will send in My name [a third Being], He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Note that the Upper Room Discourse intentionally uses the masculine pronoun “[He]” to refer to the Holy Spirit—rather than the neuter pronoun (“it”) the neuter word “Spirit” calls for—thus affirming the biblical truth that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal spirit that emanates from the Father or the Son—but is rather a personal Being that joins Them in Their divine mission.
o John 15:26—“He will testify of Me.”
o John 16:14—“He will glorify Me.”
• Woodrow Whidden: “The triunity of the one God” is “the profound unity or oneness inherent in the doctrine of the Trinity. Here are three divine beings lined up together in such a way as to point to Their oneness of purpose in imparting grace and love to God’s people through Their deep fellowship with one another and the redeemed.” (The Trinity: Understanding God’s Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships 74—with Jerry Moon, John Reeves)
• No wonder the New Testament radiates with the glory of the Trinity!
o Matthew 3:16, 17—The Trinity at Jesus’ baptism
o Matthew 28:19—The Trinity at your baptism
o I Corinthians 12:4-6—The Trinity in our church
o II Corinthians 13:14—The Trinity at our worship
o I Peter 1:2—The Trinity for our salvation
• The Trinity is a teaching inherent in the Old Testament as well. o Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!”
o Instead of choosing the word yachid which means “one” in the sense of “only” or “alone,” Moses chose the plural word ’echad—which means “one among others in a joined or shared oneness.”
o Genesis 2:24—“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one [’echad—two beings who share oneness of] flesh.”
o Like in a marriage—when two distinct human beings become one—even so in the Trinity, Three distinct divine Beings are One.
□ Personal application
• Jesus’ last prayer: “That they may be one, just as We are one.” (John 17:11,21,22,23)
• But how?
• The unity of the Trinity is the fruit of mutual submission.
o The Father submits to the Son (Heb 1:13; Phil 2:9-10).
o The Son submits to the Father (John 5:19, 30; I Cor 15:28; Phil 2:6-8).
o The Holy Spirit submits to the Father and to the Son (John 14:16, 26; 16:7, 13, 14).
• Mutual submission is the secret to genuine unity—when I place your interests ahead of my interests—when I love you sacrificially (i.e., at my own expense).
• Calvary is the Trinity’s most sublime exhibit of Their mutual submission to our fallen race!
Unity within Community