Trinity in the New Testament

One of the first texts that would be opened up to is Matthew 3:16-17 when describing the Trinity. We see the Son, Jesus, coming out of the water, the Spirit descending like a dove and lightning upon Jesus, and a voice from heaven that says “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We can compare this passage with Matthew 17:5, while Christ, Peter, James, and John are on the top of a mountain with Elijah and Moses, a voice speaks from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Here we find in both places a voice from heaven, whom we all assume is the Father, speaking a word over the man Jesus that he is the Son of God.

John 14:6-27 also speaks heavily of Christ’s unity with the Father and the eternal Spirit. The statement is blatantly spoken that He and the Father are one. “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” We see in this passage the promise of the Spirit of Truth as well. Combine this passage that explains that we are in Christ, and He is in us, and that Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Christ with Romans 8. We find in Romans 8 that the Spirit of God lives in us (verse 9), the Spirit of Christ dwells in us (verse 9-10), and that the Spirit of the Father lives in us (verse 11). In case there was question of whether Jesus is somehow God with us, but the Father is God in heaven, and the Spirit is God in us, let that be put to death with the revelation that we have all three persons of the trinity within us all at the same time. If we have the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we of all people have the evidence of a triune being.

For this reason, Jesus told His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). In 1 Corinthians we find Paul tell us that there is one God – referencing the shema – and that this God is the Father. Yet, in the same verse, Paul also tells us that there is one Lord, and that Lord is Jesus. The difference between the Greek Θεος and Κύριος is negligible. Κύριος is used in Matthew 4:7, 4:10, and 5:33, to name only a few, specifically to the Father. The Gospel of Mark never associates Κύριος to Jesus, but only to the Father. To then say that this verse in 1 Corinthians would distinguish Θεος and Κύριος as absolute Lord, or God, and lord, or master, is unsatisfactory. Both Θεος and Κύριος are used in reference to God the Father, as well as Jesus. This passage is displaying equality between the two.

2 Corinthians 13:14 also gives us all three persons being distinguished from one another, yet each being equal with one another. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Once again, we have here the word Κύριος in relation to Ίησού Χριστού and then Θεος in relation to God the Father. Both are being promoted together with the κοινωνία του ‘Αγίου Πνεύματος. This is important, because unlike the verse in 1 Corinthians 8, we have all three being expressed together. If it was already unprecedented to try and explain away the difference between Κύριος and Θεος, then that complication is only compounded all the more when Paul would also put the Holy Spirit on par with both the Father and Son together.

We have in Galatians 4:4-6 another interesting passage regarding all three persons of the Trinity. Here we have the God the Father sending His Son to redeem humanity and make them sons. Then, we read, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” Now, here we have a question of whether the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ mentioned in Romans 8:9-10 or if it is the Holy Spirit. I think we find the answer in Hebrews 9:14. Jesus offered Himself unblemished to God through the eternal Spirit. That eternal Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Why is this important? We find in Hebrews 5:8 an interesting passage about being a son. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered…” We find in the context of the first seven chapters of Hebrews that to be a son of God, brought unto glory, is to be suffer as Christ suffered, and thus be made a priest of the order of Melchizedek (footnote reference Hebrews 2:8-11 and 5:5-10). In Galatians 4:4-6, we find that the Spirit that made Christ a son was the eternal Spirit. It was through the Holy Spirit that Christ learned obedience and was then made perfect, and likewise it is we too who are brought into perfection through the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:18 declares that we have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus. In the book of 1 John, we find a few verses in the fourth chapter that also put together all three persons: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God… God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him… By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.” We read in 1 Peter 1:2, “who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Sprit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood…”

Matthew 11:27 speaks forth connections between God the Father and Jesus the Son. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” John 1:1-18 expresses Jesus Christ as the divine word, with God from the beginning, the light and life of the world, and the only begotten Son of the Father. Jesus got in trouble in John 5:17-19 because He called God His Father, and thus made Himself equal to God. In John 10:30, we find that Jesus says “The Father and I are one.”

In Hebrews 1:1-5, we find that Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being (verse 3). We then find Psalm 2:7 quoted and the question asked, “Which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father?’” 1 John 1:3 says that our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Clearly we are being told that God the Father and the Son are both God, and they are both dwelling together as distinct persons. We are being told that these two persons are in relation to one another, and that in being related one to the other, they are equal with one another.

We find in Luke 11:13 that the Father and the Holy Spirit are being associated with one another. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” John 4:23-24 says that the true worshipers of God must worship in spirit and truth, for God is spirit. We find the Spirit and Truth being related once again in John 14:17 in that the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Truth.” Later, in Acts 2:1-36, we find that the Holy Spirit of God is poured out upon the disciples. This baptism was promised in Matthew 3:11 as being baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire. We find in Acts that the baptism is not two distinct possibilities – either the Holy Spirit or fire – but instead the same thing being expressed in two ways.

We even come to the book of Revelation. Here we see Jesus promise the Church in Laodicea that those who overcome will sit with Him on His throne as He sat down on His Father’s throne. What is interesting is it seems like His throne is then His Father’s throne. We go another chapter in, and we see the throne of God, and only one sitting upon it. Then, we find the Lamb, who is not sitting upon the throne, being worshiped in Revelation 5:12. Revelation 5:13 then declares the Lamb to be sitting upon the throne. When you skip to the end of the book, you find there is no temple because God and the Lamb are the temple. You find in Revelation 22:1 a single throne being spoken of, but that throne is of God and the Lamb. This is restated in verse 3, but the interesting thing is that the detail is added that there will be servants that serve Him, God. There is unity between God and the Lamb, even in that they share one throne, but there is a distinction between the two. Therefore, God is complex in His unity.

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