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THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
Victor M. Eskew
A. There are several statements that could be used to introduce this lesson that would create some interest.
1. Do you know what Sabellianism, Modalism, and Monarchianism are?
2. We are going to teach you about a word that is never mentioned in the Bible.
3. There is one God, but this one God is composed of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
B. The last statement really gives the lesson away. We want to address: “The Doctrine of the Trinity.”
I. ONE GOD – THREE BEINGS
A. The concept of “one God” is clearly set forth in the Bible.
1. Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord.
a. This is the “shema” of the Jews.
1) It is taken from the Hebrew word for “hear.”
2) Some refer to this as “the creed of the Jews.”
a) The Jews say this statement in the morning and in the evening.
b) They write this statement on their phylacteries.
c) They put the emphasis on the word “one.” They believe there is only one being in the Godhead.
2. I Corinthians 8:4
As concerning those things that are offered in sacrifice to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
B. We also see in the Scriptures that three beings are called “God.”
1. God the Father (Eph. 4:6)
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
2. God the Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
3. God, the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3,4)
But Peter said unto Ananias, Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost…Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
II. TWO VIEWS ABOUT GOD
A. There is one God, that is, one being in the Godhead.
1. There are many explanations about the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
a. The Oneness Pentecostals teach there is one being who is God and He manifests Himself in three different forms or modes.
1) Thus, the name Modalism, also known as Monarchianism.
2) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different forms of the same being.
b. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon, and Muslims view Jesus as a created being.
c. Some, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christians Scientists, see the Holy Spirit as a power or a force, not a person.
2. The main reason they reject Jesus and the Holy Spirit as being separate, and each called “God,” is because they think this is polytheism.
B. The second view states that there is one God, that is, one divine essence that exists in three Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
1. Each is eternal, divine, and holy. They all have the attributes of God.
2. Each is a separate divine being with His own personality.
3. They, however, are one in thought, will, and purpose (See John 10:30).
III. THREE DISTINCT BEINGS
A. NOTE: It is impossible to read the Bible and to deny that three separate “characters” (for lack of a better term at this point) are mentioned. The key is how a person describes these characters.
1. They are divine beings.
2. They are three manifestations of the one being, God.
3. They are three separate entities: one divine, one created, and one just a divine power or force.
B. Let’s look at just a few passages that mention these three entities.
1. Genesis 1:26
And God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness…
a. Three plural pronouns are used: us, our, and our.
b. This does not tell us how many are in the Godhead, but it does indicate more than one.
2. Isaiah 42:1
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
a. God the Father is speaking.
b. He refers to His Son as “my servant.”
c. He promises to put His “spirit” upon Him.
3. Matthew 3:16-17
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and, lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
a. Jesus came up out the water.
b. The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove.
c. The Father spoke from heaven.
4. Ephesians 4:4-6 – One Spirit, one Lord, and One God and Father of all
5. I Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
C. Let’s prove that each of these entities is a being, a personality.
1. Each one of them can speak.
a. The Father (Jer. 10:1; 30:2)
b. The Son (Heb. 1:2)
c. The Holy Spirit (I Tim. 4:1)
2. Each can be slighted or sinned against.
a. God can be blasphemed (Ps. 74:10).
b. The Son can be blasphemed (Mark 12:31-32).
c. The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (Mark 12:31-32).
3. Each being is an emotional being.
a. God (Gen. 6:6).
b. The Son (Mark 3:5)
c. The Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).
IV. ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE THREE BEING ONE
A. An egg: shell, white, and yoke
B. An atom: neuron, electron, and proton
C. Water: liquid, solid, and gas
D. A chord
“Each individual note is ‘a sound’, and all three notes played together are likewise ‘a sound’. Hence a chord is essentially three sounds in one sound, or one sound essentially composed of three different sounds (each of which has an individual identity as well as a corporate identity). By analogy, God is three divine persons in one divine personal being, or one divine personal being essentially composed of three divine persons” (http://www.bethinking.org/god/understanding-the-trinity).
A. We mentioned at the beginning of the lesson that the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. The term can be traced back an early church father named Theophilus who lived from A.D. 115-181).
B. The doctrine arose due to the weight of the Scriptural evidence for it.
C. If we do not like the word “Trinity,” we can simply say: “God is three in one.”
D. The three beings were all involved in the salvation of man, each playing different roles.
1. God planned it.
2. Jesus executed the plan of God on Calvary.
3. The Holy Spirit revealed all that God and Jesus did and how we can be beneficiaries of Jesus’ death through the Word of God.
E. II Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.