The Triune Godhead

triune godhead

The Triune Godhead

The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true and living God who is the creator of the universe—eternal, almighty, unchangeable, infinitely powerful, wise, just and holy. At the same time, it teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. This relationship of one God in three distinct, divine persons is theologically termed the Trinity.

The Mystery of the Trinity

While the word Trinity is not found in the Scripture, the concept it represents exists. The ONE God is composed of three coexistent, coeternal, coequal, and co-powerful persons who are one in spirit, purpose, duration, and nature, yet three in individuality, mind, and function.

The concept of the Trinity is a somewhat mysterious principle and can be difficult to totally comprehend and understand. God is infinitely greater than humanity and the mind alone cannot fathom the depth and totality of God. At the same time, it is paramount to understand what the Bible says on the subject as the salvation and keeping of the soul is dependent upon the truths and reality of the triune Godhead.

God is One God

When Jesus was asked about the first commandment, He replied, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). Literally, “Yahweh, our God, is one Yahweh.” Other nations worshipped many gods, but the God of the Jews was one. Quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4, Jesus reaffirmed the truth that there is only one true God. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. Monotheism is a fundamental truth of the Word of God and the theology of God must never become tritheism, or three distinct gods. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 8:4 that “there is none other God but one.” This truth is reaffirmed in Galatians 3:20, “God is one” and in 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God.”

God is Triune

The one God is a triune God. The Godhead is composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). This scripture is a clear declaration of the plurality of the Deity and of the unity of the divine essence of God. Each person of the Trinity is referred to as God in the scripture. They are not three gods, but together they are one God. Each part of the Godhead is distinguished as a separate entity in the Bible—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

God the Father

God the Father is referred to in numerous verses. Jesus spoke of “God the Father” in John 6:27. Paul wrote to the congregation at Rome: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father” (Romans 1:7). Peter stated that Jesus “received from God the Father honour and glory” (2 Peter 1:17). He further spoke of the “foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:2). God the Father was clearly an individual entity of which Christ and the apostles spoke.

God the Son

Jesus Christ was also spoken of multiple times in both the Old and New Testaments as being God. While many deny the divinity of Christ or teach that He was the Father, the Word teaches that He was a distinct part of the Godhead. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and spoke of Mary bringing forth a son. “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). In beautiful words, John 1:1, 14 communicates, “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word [Jesus] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” He existed from eternity. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8). Jesus, sent from the Father, was God become flesh among us (Romans 9:5). “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). When Thomas saw Jesus after His crucifixion, he answered and “said unto him [the resurrected Jesus], My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus was in the form or nature of God (Philippians 2:5-6) and “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Without doubt, there is extensive biblical proof that Jesus is eternal and divine.

God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a third part of the Trinity. Even in the beginning of time, the Holy Spirit existed as a creator. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). The Holy Spirit is revealed as God in Acts 5:3-4. “Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost….thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” To lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God. Another proof of God the Holy Spirit is found in 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Who abides in the temple or dwelling place of God except God Himself? It is God the Holy Spirit that dwells in these earthly temples of God. The Holy Spirit, as God, exercises the divine prerogative to call and bestow divine gifts upon the saints of God (Acts 13:2). His deity is further revealed in Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

Three in One

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons that exist in perfect harmony as one God. They are not names for different parts of God, for they are God, and God is one. Their plurality is exemplified and revealed in numerous passages. When the angel appeared to Mary as recorded in Luke 1:30-35, the message included all aspects of the Trinity. God the Father overshadowed her and the Holy Spirit came upon her to conceive the Son of God. It was prophesied that the Lord God would give to the Son the throne and of His kingdom there would be no end.

Revealed at Jesus’ Baptism

All three persons of the Godhead were present in some form in the account of the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit descended as a dove on the physical body of Jesus and the voice of the Father spoke from heaven. Clearly, these were three distinct entities and shows the error in the teaching that God the Father and Jesus are the same person.

Jesus taught His disciples to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). This encompassed all aspects of God. The three personalities are revealed when Jesus spoke to His disciples concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name [Jesus], he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

Revealed at Stephen’s Stoning

The Godhead was revealed to Stephen when he was being stoned in Acts 7:54-56. He was full of the Holy Ghost and looked up and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God [the Father]. The Bible speaks of the diversities of gifts, administrations, and operations but teaches that it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). Ephesians 4:4-6 teaches that there is one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father of all. The triune God, as three distinct personalities, is revealed in these scriptures.

The Oneness of the Trinity

While the Trinity is three, God is one. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God. This is part of the mystery and paradox of God, for they cannot be separate from one another. The oneness of the Trinity is also exemplified in many passages in the Bible. Genesis 1:26 reads, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Note the plurality as God referred to “us” and “our image.” This indicated the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:27 reads “God created man in his own image.” We now see the singularity of God.

Jesus spoke in multiple places of His union and oneness with the Father. “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). “The Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:38). He prayed for the unity of His disciples for them to be one “even as we are one” (John 17:11, 22). Jesus said in John 12:44, “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me [the Father]. Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus responded by saying: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (John 14:8-11).

A Clear Doctrine of God’s Word

The doctrine of the Godhead, the Trinity, is clearly presented in God’s Word, although there are aspects that are difficult to understand. Those things that are not clear in the Scripture become relatively nonessential, and debate over things not taught in the Word can be counterproductive. If someone denies the validity of the doctrine of the Trinity, they will end up denying either the divinity of the Son of God or the divine power and enablement of the Holy Spirit. There is one God. There are three, divine persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one eternal, existing God. Christians should rejoice and adore this God who has done and continues to do great things in behalf of His children.

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!… For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36). We worship thee oh God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.