Once a month, you’re going to hear from our authors, from our team, or from a guest on how we study the Bible, what resources we use, and what questions we ask.
Have you ever tried to explain what it’s like to be in outer space? I’m assuming you haven’t been there and would need to piece together the things you do know to create a compelling image of what floating around far above the earth might be like. You may not have seen it with your own eyes, but you certainly know outer space is a reality, and with a little study you may know the inner workings well.
In many ways, this is what it feels like to try and put words to explaining the Trinity. (Of course, this analogy falls short, as does every analogy describing the Trinity.) God may be difficult to describe, but He is not unknowable. He is transcendent, or unlike us in His perfection and holiness, superior and far beyond what we can imagine, and yet also near. This is the beauty of the Christian faith. The trajectory of Scripture includes God seeking to be present with His people, from beginning to end.
Knowing Him is not simply knowing facts about Him, but knowing Him by spending time with Him. Our God is deeply relational. We haven’t seen the inner workings of how He is both one God and three Persons with our eyes, but we do read the truth of it in Scripture.
The doctrine of the Trinity beautifully sets our faith apart from the religions of the world. He reveals Himself within Scripture as one God who is three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is intimately involved in our lives—from creation, to sustaining, to salvation, to our sanctification, and to securing our hope eternally (and more).
The Word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture, but the concept is made clearer as the storyline of God’s Word progresses. Each Person is co-equal with the others in their God-ness. Each Person is co-eternal (have existed and will exist forever), all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), ever-present (omnipresent), and unchanging. They are perfect in their union, indivisibly sharing in divine perfection, action, and mission.
They are also distinct relationally (as Father, Son, and Spirit) and functionally. Gregg Allison describes it this way: “The Father exercises the primary role in creation (working with the Son and the Spirit to create). The Son exercises the primary role in salvation (working with the Father and the Spirit to save). The Holy Spirit exercises the primary role in sanctification (working with the Father and the Son to bring transformation).”1
To know God is to know Him as Trinity, and knowing who we worship helps us rightly talk about, think about, and praise Him. Our God is three Persons, but one God. He is unlike the false gods others worship. He is beyond what we can think or imagine, and He is good.
God is love because there is perfect love among the Persons of the Trinity. He displays His love to us through Jesus and pours out His love for His children through the Spirit—His presence with us. The Spirit unites us to Christ so that we might most delight in the Son, and in that union we might be most delighted in by the Father. Our faith is informed by and hinges upon the truth of the Trinity.
This is the gospel: that God chose us in Him by His eternal plan, sent Jesus His Son to redeem us by shedding His blood, and then sealed us for eternity by the Holy Spirit. Without the triune nature of God, our faith would be in vain. He is worthy of our worship!
Want to learn more about the essential truths of the Christian faith? Everyday Theology, an 8-week study on what you believe and why it matters will be available Feb 1, 2020.
- Gregg R. Allison, 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2018).
Mary Wiley lives with her husband John and their two preschoolers, and they attend and serve at Fairview Church in Lebanon, TN. She works as the women’s book marketing strategist for B&H Publishing Group and loves all the stereotypical publishing things: words, books, paper, and coffee. She hosts the Questions Kids Ask podcast, helping parents understand how to answer their kids’ tough theological questions. She also has an upcoming resource centered on understanding the essential truths of our faith and how they apply to our everyday lives called Everyday Theology (Feb 2020). Connect with Mary at www.marycwiley.com or @marycwiley on social media.