It may surprise you to know that the word “trinity” is not used a single time in the bible. It is a theological term Christians have used to describe the relationship of God with us in the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just because that word is not specifically mentioned does not mean the bible lacks mention of these three distinct but united persons of God. This past Sunday, Jeff Noble, our lead pastor, took us through this mysterious and complex doctrine as we continued our summer Think to Change series.
Jeff started things off by proposing a rhetorical question: does it even matter if you believe and understand the trinity? The answer, he explained, is that it matters greatly if you want to know and experience God. You simply can’t love someone deeply that you don’t know well.
The teaching of the trinity is present in both the Old Testament and well as the New Testament. Our focal passage that Jeff used for his message, Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Reading this passage of scripture it may not be abundantly obvious how it references the trinity. However, as Jeff pointed out, a deeper look at the Hebrew word used for “one”, in verse 4, reveals the reference to three distinct but united personhoods of God. The original text uses the word achad, which translates to united. This same word is found in Genesis 2:24 when discussing the union of a husband and wife. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh.” It helps to understand the trinity in a similar way to how a husband a wife unite to become one—singular yet two distinct persons.
Jeff then explained how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit interact to comprise the united personhood of God:
- The Father sent the Son
- John 5:26, John 6:44, John 8:42, John 17:21, John 20:21
- The Father sends the Spirit at the request of the Son
- John 14:16-17, John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7
- The Spirit points to the Son
- John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:8-9, John 16:13-14
- The Son submits to the Father
- John 5:19-23, John 12:49, John 15:10
- The Son glorifies the Father; The Father glorifies the Son
- Jeff called this the “eternal glory fest”
- John 14:13, John 15:8, John 17:1
- Therefore our faith relationship is with the Father through Jesus the Son, by the Holy Spirit
- John 6:44, John 6:65
Jeff’s sermon was a great one and he did an excellent job explaining this complex and often confusing doctrine. We strongly recommend you listen to the podcast in preparation for the weeks to come. Understanding the triune God is the first step in allowing this doctrine to impact your life. In the next two weeks we will move through how this teaching should shape our behavior and who we will become as a result.