Lesson 1 of 0
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2.0 Historical Development of the Doctrine: The Terms

One of the more challenging aspects of discussing and comprehending the Trinity is the
particulars of the vocabulary. The already above-mentioned phrase “one substance, three
persons” is hardly illuminating in any holistic sense. We, therefore, turn to the
philosophical discipline of linguistics to define our terms and distill their exact meaning
and use in this context. One of the predominant theological thinkers on the topic of the
Trinity was Tertullian. He was a very apt user of language and quite innovative as well.
According to one analysis, Tertullian was responsible for coining 509 new nouns, 284 new
adjectives, and 161 new verbs in the Latin language. It is therefore not surprising that
new terms and new definitions sprang up as a result of his musings on the concept of the
Trinity. Our attention will be focused on these three words of particular importance.