Though there is only one God, He exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
God is one, but He exists in three distinct Persons. We call this the Trinity, a contraction of “tri-unity,” meaning “three in one.” The word Trinity doesn’t appear in the Bible, but God’s existence as three Persons in one God is clear from Scripture.
Old Testament evidence of God’s plurality can be found in the very first verse: “In the beginning God . . .” (Gen. 1:1). The Hebrew word used for God is Elohim, which is a plural noun. Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the Messiah: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” The Messiah says in Isaiah 48:16, “The Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
The New Testament is more explicit about God’s triune nature. After Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon Him as a dove, and the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are together in the same scene.
Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). Paul closes 2 Corinthians by saying, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (13:14). Peter declares that believers are chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).
So God is one, but God is three. This is a profound mystery that no human illustration can adequately describe and no scientific explanation can prove. The Trinity is something we have to take on faith, because God has taught it in Scripture.
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise God that He is so far above our finite understanding, yet has chosen to reveal Himself to us.
For Further Study
Read John 14—16.
• What does Jesus teach about His relationship with the Father and the Spirit?
• What do you learn here about the different functions or ministries of each member of the Trinity?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.