The Trinity – Part 3
This is the third part of a series on the glorious doctrine of the Trinity. So far, we have defined the Trinity as “one God in three distinct equal persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; equal in nature, distinct in person, subordinate in their duties.” We mentioned some early church fathers who alluded to the Trinity and surveyed some Old Testament evidence such as the name of God, personal pronouns, and worship using the Trinitarian formula. This month, we’ll turn our attention to the evidence for the Trinity that is found in the New Testament.
The Clearest Statement in the New Testament
John the apostle gives the most dogmatic and clearest evidence of the Trinity found in the New Testament scriptures.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (I John 5:7)
This passage is known in theological circles as the Johannine Comma. There has been great debate through the years in response to the King James translators including this verse in the Bible. Some argue that it is not part of the original writings, in large part because the earliest Greek manuscript that contains I John 5:7 is a 15th or 16th century writing. We agree with the King James Version of the Bible due to the fact that there is evidence for the early existence of this verse. Cyprian of Carthage (3rd century) referred to this passage, and it is also found in Old Latin manuscripts of the 5th or 6th century. Perhaps the greatest argument for the authenticity of I John 5:7 is the unusual Trinitarian formula, “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.” If the Johannine Comma was added after the Canon was complete in order to support the Trinity (as Unitarians claim), then we would expect the standard formula of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
Baptism of Christ
“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)
When Christ was baptized, we see all three members of the Godhead at the same time, separate, distinct, and all involved in the same work.
Taught by Jesus to the Disciples
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)
Notice the singular “name” and not “names.” Some will dispute that “name” in this verse means “authority.” This interpretation still shows that the Father, Son, and Spirit all have the same authority.
Taught by Paul
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (II Corinthians 13:14)
The threefold ascription and benediction written by Paul points to the Trinity.
Join us next month as we look at how the attributes and the work of God provide evidence for the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.