The Trinity – New Testament Evidence

Yesterday my family and I read in our after breakfast Bible reading time a section in Chapter 14, “God in Three Persons: The Trinity,” of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994) which lists several passages in which all three persons of the Trinity–the Father, the Son, and the Spirit–are named together.

When Jesus came up of the water after being baptized by John the Baptist, “he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased'” (Mark 1:10-11, ESV; all Bible quotations are from the ESV unless specified otherwise). Thus each member of the Trinity performed a specific activity: Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and rested upon him, and the Father spoke to him from heaven. The incident is also recorded in Matthew 3:16-17 and Luke 3:21-22.

Before returning to heaven at the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus told the eleven disciples, “Go…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). His naming the three persons of the Trinity in the same way (“of the [name]”) indicates that each is a person and of equal value as the other two.

Paul introduces the list of spiritual gifts that he gives in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 with, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but one Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” Since the New Testament epistles commonly refer to God the Father as “God” and to God the Son as “Lord,” all three persons of the Trinity are referred to in the passage.

Paul closes 2 Corinthians with the following benediction, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14), again naming all three persons of the Trinity.

Paul also refers to all three persons of the Trinity in Ephesians 4:4-6, saying, “There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–one Lord [Jesus Christ], one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Peter mentions all three persons of the Trinity in opening 1 Peter, saying, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ an for sprinkling with his blood” (1 Peter 1:2).

Grudem closes his considerations of the passages in the New Testament that name all three persons of the Trinity together by explaining why he doesn’t include “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7. KJV). The reason is that the verse is found in only a few, late Greek manuscripts.

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