“Because the Bible doesn’t contain the word ‘Trinity’ therefore we shouldn’t believe in it,” claims an anti-trinitarian. If we are to use that rational for judging what Holy Scripture teaches then we shouldn’t believe in planes, trains, automobiles, microwaves, telescopes, or iPhones because the Bible doesn’t contain those words either. That’s just ridiculous, isn’t it?
In the undivided and indivisible essence of God there are three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What does God’s Word say about the doctrine of the Trinity? Well, it isn’t just a New Testament development, but is clearly taught in the Old Testament as well.
“Draw near to Me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit. Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:16-17). Here three Persons are clearly distinguished.
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness beyond Your companions” (Psalm 45:6-7). Here God is anointed by God with the oil of gladness, which is the Holy Spirit.
In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn of God and of the Spirit of God and of the Word of God, by whom all things were made (Genesis 1:1-3; John 1:1-3). Because there are more Persons than one, God said, “Let Us make man is Our image, after Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
From the New Testament we learn that three distinct Persons were revealed at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17), and that all nations are to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
In the name of the Father, God’s Word says: John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 3:16; Galatians 4:4, 6; Psalms 2:7; and John 15:26. In the name of the Son, God’s Words says: 1 John 5:20; Romans 9:5; John 5:23; John 3:16; Galatians 4:4; John 14:16-17; and John 15:26. And in the name of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word says: Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16; John 14:16; Matthew 10:20; Galatians 4:6; John 15:26; and John 20:22.
“So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God … Just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so also are we prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords” (Athanasian Creed). Faith in the Triune God means more than accepting the bare teaching of Three Persons in One Essence; it includes reliance and confidence in the saving work of the Trinity. A reading of the Athanasian Creed will bring out this fact very clearly.