The Living it Out cover story has always been reserved for interesting and thought provoking illustrations to highlight the weekend message topic. While Barb Roose did a splendid job covering the fundamental basics of the topic in her sermon on The Trinity, the Living it Out writing team was stumped to find a story to captivate and illustrate The Trinity.
Yet, as the writing team began to think about ideas, one Living it Out writer mentioned that she would often see inscriptions in the churches that she attended while growing up that read: “God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost or God the Spirit.” She did not think much of it but as she grew older she began to wonder, “What do these three references to God mean and why does it seem to be mentioned in just about every church that she attended?” She remembered singing the old hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty. God in three persons, blessed trinity”; which in reality confused her even more and provided no further clarity. The song referenced “God in three persons.” God is a person? The answer is: Yes!
O Blessed Trinity!
O simplest Majesty!
O Three in One!
Thou art for ever
Blessed equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.
Frederick W. Faber
Well, as it turns out, this Living it Out writer is not alone. In fact, even the most learned theology scholars like A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis find it challenging to package up The Trinity into a nice neat box. A.W. Tozer described in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, what it is like to actually have knowledge of The Trinity:
“To meditate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground. Our sincerest effort to grasp the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity must remain forever futile, and only by deepest reverence can it be saved from actual presumption. Some persons who reject all they cannot explain have denied that God is a Trinity. Subjecting the Most High to their cold, level-headed scrutiny, they conclude that it is impossible that He could be both One and Three. These forget that their whole life is enshrouded in mystery. They fail to consider that any real explanation of even the simplest phenomenon in nature lies hidden in obscurity and can no more be explained than can the mystery of the Godhead.”
Tozer goes on to explain that “The doctrine of The Trinity is truth for the heart …love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside.”
Challenging and mystical? Yes. Essential to spiritual growth? Without a doubt. Worthy of further discussion? Absolutely. Take time this week to put aside any level-headed scrutiny and dig down deep into this Bible study on The Trinity!
MONDAY — What is the Trinity?
Big Point: While the “trinity” is not specifically found in Scripture, it can be shown that the Bible teaches the essential truths which lead to the trinity doctrine.
The Latin meaning for trinity is “trinitas” which means “the number three—a triad.” While it is true the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, this term is the foundational doctrine of God in the Christian faith. It is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who make up God. Throughout scripture, there are references to God speaking singularly and in plurality. Take a look at the following Biblical statements:
- There is only one God (Romans 3:30).
- The Father is God (1 Corinthians 8:6).
- Jesus is God (John 1:1).
- The Holy Spirit is God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
- Jesus is not the Father (John 1:1, Luke 3:21-22).
- Jesus is not the Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).
- The Father is not the Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).
“I think [the doctrine of the Trinity] to be the highest and deepest of all Divine mysteries”
(An Unpublished Treatise on the Trinity).
Knowing the different parts as referenced above, they all act as one person. A.W. Tozer writes in his book Knowledge of the Holy, “A popular belief among Christians divides the work of God between the three Persons, giving a specific part to each, as, for instance, creation to the Father, redemption to the Son, and regeneration to the Holy Spirit. This is partly true but not wholly so, for God cannot so divide Himself that one Person works while another is inactive. In the Scriptures the three Persons are shown to act in harmonious unity in all the mighty works that are wrought throughout the universe.”
The following scriptures will further describe the harmonious unity of the Trinity.
READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
In Genesis 1:26, God did not say “Let me make human beings in my image” or “Look, the human beings have become like me.” In Genesis 3:22 and in Genesis 11:7, God did not say “I will go down”. What does God use instead to refer to Himself?
Genesis 1:26 (New Living Translation)
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
Genesis 3:22 (New Living Translation)
Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”
Genesis 11:7 (New Living Translation)
Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
We believe in the one true God,
We believe in Father Spirit Son,
We believe that good has won.
What type of action is taking place in Isaiah 6:8? Who is the scripture referring to?
Isaiah 6:8 (New Living Translation)
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
LIVE…What will you do now?
Describe what your views of the Trinity were before reading today’s information.
After reading the information provided about the Trinity, write out the new things you learned.
A.W. Tozer said that “the doctrine of the Trinity is truth for the heart” in that the Trinity cannot likely be satisfactorily explained. Describe where your heart is regarding the Trinity and its truth (NOTE: tomorrow’s study will delve deeper into the issue of applying the Trinity to our lives).
PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Ask God to help you to wholly and completely accept Him for who He says He is– that He is God in three persons.
Further commentary: gotquestions.org answered this question: “What does the Bible Say about the Trinity” with this response: “In Genesis 1:1; the Hebrew plural noun “Elohim” is used. In Genesis 1:26; 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8; the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for “God,” “Elohim,” definitely allows for the Trinity.