Lesson 1 of 0
In Progress

1.0 Biblical Foundations of the Trinity

Where does it say in the Bible that God is three in one? The answer is both everywhere
and nowhere. The unique characteristic of the scriptures regarding the Trinity is that they
do not give us explicit definitions of the Trinity, while at the same time providing us with
very positive implicit reasons for rationally reaching that conclusion. The two most
obvious trinitarian formulations can be found in the following two passages: Matthew
28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (…)” and 2 Corinthians 13:13: “The grace of
the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you
all.” The passage in Matthew is a telling demonstration of the connection between
lordship and divinity. The classical understanding of baptism, is that of being submerged
not merely into water, but into a new life, a new kingdom. This kingdom has a King. This
King is God. The baptism is essentially a submerging into God himself. The formula given
to the disciples by Jesus is indicative of the nature of the God in whom one is baptized.
This God is Father, Son, and Spirit. We acknowledge the truth of the nature of God during
baptism. The salvific (as in, pertaining to salvation) significance cannot be overlooked
here. The central symbol of the transition of a person’s life from darkness to light is
baptism. It is in many ways the beginning of this new life. Jesus makes the important
point: when a person is baptized into the new life found in God, they are to be baptized
into the God who is Father, Son, and Spirit.

The second scripture is a passage referring to a blessing spoken by the Apostle Paul to the
readers. Much like the former passage, which emphasizes the broad biblical principle that
only God can save (and that this God is three), this second passage in 2 Corinthians builds
on the principle that only God can bless; and that this God is three. The formula also gives
some insight to the so called economic Trinity (more on that later). It is the many ways in
which the Trinity relates to us in a personal way. We see distinct functions of each one in
terms of their contribution to the blessing. Grace, love, and fellowship. God is the one
who blesses. There is no blessing outside of the action of God. And yet there remain
distinct ways in which the blessing is manifested, each manifestation represented by a
different member of the Trinity, all the while remaining equally important and equally
powerful. Even outside of these more explicit descriptions of the Trinity, there are many
passages of New Testament scripture that imply a tri-unity, providing the skeleton of a
trinitarian doctrine of God.

The Old Testament, with its scope and size, also makes many implications toward a
concept of God in which three-fold distinctions are personified in one being. The typical
triad distinctions found in Old Testament scripture are: