Holy Trinity Persons
Brothers :
The Holy Spirit
and Jesus
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

2. Holy Trinity Persons

Three Pointed DiagramThe concept of three persons in the Godhead permeates the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. But the actual word "Trinity" from the Latin word "Trinitas" or "Trinus," meaning "threefold does not appear in the Bible! In Christian theology, the first recorded use of this Greek word "Trinity" is by Theophilus of Antioch in c170 AD. However, he does not use the standard formula of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to describe the Trinity. Instead, Theophilus (c110-183 AD) puts it as "God, his Word (Logos) and His Wisdom." An alternative Greek word used for Trinity is "triad," meaning "a set of three" or "the number three." Theophilus writes, "In like manner also the three days before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity of God, and His Word, and His wisdom." 'Trinitarianism' contrasts with positions such as 'Binitarianism' that is one deity in two persons, or two deities and 'Monarchianism' with no plurality of persons within the Godhead." In Hebrew, the "Holy Spirit" is also called "the spirit of Yahweh" and comes from the Hebrew word "ruach," meaning "spirit of the holiness" or "spirit of the holy place." The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have quite different qualities and personalities but are still of the same essence. They are three distinct persons in the one deity.

Three Deity Parts

Trinity Tie KnotThe descriptive word "persons" in the Godhead depicts each personality's role in their relationship. The Trinity defines three separate and quite distinctive ways the Holy Trinity functions in the Godhead. An excellent example of this occurs in 1 Peter 1.1-2. Saint Peter writes, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood." Here we have from Saint Peter a specific reference to the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The persons of the Holy Trinity are like family members. It is perhaps useful to realize that a man can be a father, a son, and a husband at the same time. Similarly, a woman may be a mother, a daughter, and a wife at one time. Individuals in the Godhead can equally be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with different roles and simultaneously.

Colors Analogy

Infinity SignGod is always greater than the total of the three individual persons of the Trinity. Consider how nature contains the three primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. These primary colors mixed in different proportions made up other colors like orange, purple, or green. All the colors emanate from the three primary ones so that orange is yellow plus red, purple is blue plus red, and so on. The complex nature of the persons of the Holy Trinity is akin to this. Pure white light splits in a prism to form the rainbow colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. All the spectrum colors combine to create pure white light, like the three members of the Trinity who come together as one God. Separately, they form a whole range of colors.

Creation Word

Jesus and Holy Spirit DoveThe creation story contains the Holy Trinity persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Saint John explains the role of Jesus at the creation in John 1.1-2, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning." The Living Bible helpfully adds in John 1.3, "He created everything there is — nothing exists that he didn't make." Here, as the Word (or the Logos), Jesus is at the very beginning of all things. As God, he is eternal and has no beginning or end, and he is present even before the time of creation. The Word of the Father causes matter to come into existence. The NIV Commentary explains further, "The Greeks use the phrase 'Word' not only of the spoken word but also of the 'unspoken word.' The unspoken word is still in mind - the reason." In the Universe, the Greeks mean the rational principle that governs all things. Jews, however, use the phrase "Word" as a way of referring to God. The Apostle John, therefore, employs a term here which is familiar to both Jews and Greeks. Romans 9.5 asserts that Jesus is God in the fullest sense, "Their's (the people of Israel) are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." The NIV offers an equal translation for this verse as "Messiah. God, who is over all, be forever praised!" The Messiah Jesus is God over all as one of the Holy Trinity persons!

Come Into Existence

In John 17.24, Jesus says, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." The Expositor's Study Bible comments, "Jesus proclaims his pre-existence with the Father and therefore his deity." Note this last phrase where Jesus claims to be loved and exists and is present before the creation! The Holy Spirit hovers over the waters, and Jesus, according to the Epistles, stands in the background. The Father loves Jesus, who is present before the creation as one of the Holy Trinity members! Saint Paul later writes of Jesus in Ephesians 1.4, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he (Jesus) chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." Jesus picked out those who would be his disciples before the Creation of the Universe! An astonishing truth to contemplate! The names for the Holy Trinity are often misunderstood, sometimes with amusing consequences. The little book, "Bishop's Brew," tells of a Vicar's small daughter who buries a dead bird in the garden. Very piously, the child announces, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and into the hole he goes. Amen!"

"Holy Trinity Persons"
by Ron Meacock

^Top Page Next Previous