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Studying the Trinity Is an Exercise in Love

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« on: January 26, 2012, 07:26:45 am »

Studying the Trinity Is an Exercise in Love

“Why does a doctrine like the Trinity matter?” some ask. After all, the idea of one God existing eternally as three Persons is complex. A brief survey of Christian theology will show you that most heresies are heresy precisely because they get the Trinity wrong.

Even more… is it possible to completely understand the Trinity anyway? If finite human beings are unable to fully exhaust the teaching of the Trinity and full explanations are impossible, then why is it important to get the Trinity right?

Gregory of N@zianzus said in the 4th century:

“It is difficult to conceive God, but to define him in words is an impossibility.”

So words may help us along in our effort, but God will not be bound by them.

Why Bother?

When face to face with such complexity, some may wonder, Why even bother? If the Trinity is so difficult to understand, why spend so much time on it?

The answer is love. Those who love God desire to know Him personally and to know more about Him.

My wife is a complex person. I readily admit that I do not know everything there is to know about her. There are times when I simply cannot figure her out. But my love for her causes me to want to know her better.

If a husband sometimes has a hard time figuring out his wife, surely the human attempt to understand God will be even more difficult. But consider this: if I find great reward in growing in my knowledge of my wife, how much bigger will the reward be for us to grow in our knowledge of the Almighty God!

An Exercise in Love

Understanding the Trinity is not a pointless theological exercise. It is an exercise in love. We are plumbing the depths of the One who loved us enough to create us and then save us. Where our explanations and definitions fail, we go back to our knees.

Isaac Watts ended his Trinitarian hymn “We Give Immortal Praise” with these words:

“Almighty God, to thee be endless honors done,
the undivided three, and the mysterious one.
Where reason fails with all her powers,
there faith prevails, and love adores.”

Bernard of Clairvaux once said:

“It is rashness to search too far into [the mystery of the Trinity]. It is piety to believe it. It is life eternal to know it. And we can never have a full comprehension of it, till we come to enjoy it.”

Indeed. All theological reflection on the Trinity should have as its ultimate end the purposeful enjoyment of the Triune God.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2012/01/24/studying-the-trinity-is-an-exercise-in-love/
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 07:31:44 am »

1Jo 5:7   For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 




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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 07:33:52 am »

Question: "What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?"

Answer: The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible.

The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who make up God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:

1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word "Elohim" and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for "God," "Elohim," definitely allows for the Trinity.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke 4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event of Jesus' baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son. Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24; Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7, 12; Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.

4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son see Luke 22:42, John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and especially John 16:13-14.

6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus' human works (John 5:17; 14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.

The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1, 16:12-15; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.

The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus' works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been many attempts to develop illustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God's greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).

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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 07:41:53 am »

"God is not a trinity!"
(Oh yes He is.)
trinity, triune God

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For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and THESE THREE ARE ONE. I John 5:7

It is amazing how much error there is in this world. Yesterday I got an e-mail from a Pentecostal who asked if I was a "Trinitarian". The question prompted me to write this article on the tri-unity (aka the trinity) of God (I prefer the Bible word "Godhead"). This is something I've been meaning to do for a long while. A measure of fear came upon me as I sought to write this treatise because herein I am seeking to describe the very nature of the Most High, magnificent, dread LORD God. Nevertheless, upon careful Bible study, I can write...

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20
I've heard people say that belief in the trinity means that we worship three gods. This simply reflects ignorance of the word of God. Any Christian willing to read their King James Bible with some clear eyeballs will see the truth. The LORD our God is one LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4) but He does exist in three Persons, a trinity.

If there were no other verse of the Bible testifying of the trinity, I John 5:7 would be enough for any Bible-believer to see that God consists of three Persons--the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost [1]. But this article was not written because of Bible believers. It was written to counteract the error of those who say that there is no Godhead consisting of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A few groups come to my mind as I think of "anti-trinitarians"--


Folks like the "Jesus Only" group say that only Jesus is God. They say that the Father and the Holy Ghost are only titles. Later in this treatise, we will show how each person of the Godhead (a Bible word) actually speaks in the scriptures. A "title" cannot speak. The Jesus Only people will only baptize in the name of Jesus directly contradicting Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19,
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
A Pentecostal sect (I'm not talking about all Pentecostals) represented at the Isaiah 58 website denies the trinity saying that God created Jesus and then Jesus created everything else (close to JW theology). This is the error of Arianism, i.e., saying that Jesus is a created being.
In one article on their website, The Influence of Trinitarian Doctrine on Translations of the Bible by John David Clark, Sr., there are number of blasphemies...the author says Jesus was sinless NOT because He was God but because He was obedient. Remember that Jesus was born as a baby--how many two year olds do you know that are willingly obedient 100% of the time? I have yet to meet a sinless person and I never will. Jesus was sinless from birth, no one else can accomplish that feat. He was not an ordinary man. He is God come in the flesh. The article also says that the Father can make anybody a god and that is what He did with Jesus (reminiscent of Mormon theology). The author further attempts to destroy the truth of the word of God by saying that Bible translators purposely mistranslated "the Greek" pronouns for the Persons of the Godhead.

People who spread false doctrine can make it sound correct because they wrest with the scriptures to their own destruction. We've got to know our Bibles intimately. The Bible is the only standard of truth. The Isaiah 58 folks wrongly divide a lot of things including what they call "speaking in tongues".


Then you have the Jehovah's (false) Witnesses. The JWs are infamous anti-trinitarians who deny that Jesus is God. This cult follows the teachings of heretick Charles Taze Russell.
all of these groups are dead wrong.

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How can one God exist in three persons?

The Bible says that God made man in His image--but it also says that God is not a man. How then is man in His image? I do not claim to know all the answers, but man is tri-partite. Look at your own self. YOU exist in three distinct persons yet you remain one man.

You have a body/flesh which is the part of you that others can see.

You have a mind where you think your thoughts and make your plans.
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...


You have a spirit where you feel and where your essence lies.
I Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Your body, mind and spirit are separate and distinct. My hand is a part of me, but it is not my intellect, my mind. My thoughts are a part of me, but they are not my spirit. I'll give an example. There have been times where I've seen my mind and my spirit in conflict. I'm hurt. My spirit is wounded. I'm crying and my mind says "Stop crying!" but I can't because my spirit has been wounded. Sometimes our mind and our flesh are in conflict. We know something is wrong but we are so weak and powerless that we let the flesh have its way. Paul talks about how his mind and flesh were in conflict--

Romans ...7:25 So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
You are undoubtedly tripartite (body, mind, spirit) yet you remain one entity. If you and I were in the same room and I looked at you, I would only see your flesh. I could not see what you were thinking or what you were feeling. I could not see who you really are.

The Godhead and our salvation.

Let's take a look at a few scriptures concerning the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in our salvation (for those of us who are saved)--

God the Father sent the Son.
John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.


The Son was the propitiation (payment) for our sins.
I John 4:10, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


The Holy Ghost reproves us, teaches us, guides us and testifies of Jesus Christ.
John 14:26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

"But Jesus is subject to the Father! How can He be God?"

1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Jesus is no less God because He is subject to the Father. Even as a person, my body is subject to my mind. A signal must go from my brain to my hand in order for me to move it. Does that mean that my hand is not a part of me because it has to do what my mind tells it to? Nay. It is still a part of me even though it is in subjection to my mind.

When I meditate...

When I meditate on the triunity of God I liken,

the Father to the mind (The plan originates and emanates from Him. He sent the Son and told Him what to speak. John 12:49, "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.")
the Son to the body (Colossians 2:9, ...in him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead BODILY 2 Corinthians 4:6, "...the light of the knowledge of the glory of God IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST."); and,
the Holy Ghost to the spirit (John 14:26, 15:26, "...the Holy Ghost...the Spirit of truth.").
The breakdown.
The scriptures call each Person of the Godhead, God. In fact, the word "Godhead" is a Bible word (Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9).

The Father is called God--
Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Jesus is called God (see this article for more)--
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16

Hebrews 1:8 But UNTO THE SON he [God] saith, THY THRONE, O GOD, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

For IN HIM [JESUS] dwelleth ALL THE FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY. Colossians 2:9


The Holy Ghost is called God--
Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the HOLY GHOST, and to keep back part of the price of the land? ...thou hast not lied unto men, but unto GOD.

Each Person of the Godhead SPEAKS AUDIBLY in the Bible--

God the Father SAID of Jesus in Matthew 3:17 ..."This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Jesus SAID in John 10:30, " I and my Father are one."
The Holy Ghost SAID in Acts 13:2, ..."Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them."
Each Person of the Godhead was operative in the Old Testament--

The Father--Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Jesus--1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 9 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: AND THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
The Holy Ghost--Hebrews 3:7-11 Wherefore (as THE HOLY GHOST SAITH, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation IN THE WILDERNESS [when Israel was in the wilderness with Moses, ref. Numbers 32:13]: When your fathers TEMPTED ME, PROVED ME, AND SAW MY WORKS forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
From the very first chapter of the Bible, God makes it known that He consists of more than one Person--

Genesis 1:26-27, And God said, LET US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God [not angels. the "us" can only refer to God.] created he him;
How about Genesis 3:22?

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil...
When Isaiah had a vision of the Lord sitting upon a throne, the Lord asked him a question,

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for US? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
In the Old Testament, we find that God has a Son (Proverbs 30:4, Psalm 2:7-12) and a Spirit (Isaiah 40:13, 2 Samuel 23:2, Judges 3:10, etc.).

In closing...

The modern Bible perversions take out the word, "Godhead" and they attack the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. One man told me that it was difficult for him to understand the deity of the Lord Jesus while he read the NIV. Once he changed over to the King James Bible, it was abundantly clear. This is no surprise to me. Remarkably, the NIV oftentimes agrees with the Jehovah's (false) Witness "Bible" in the verses it deletes. In fact, EVERY complete verse that the NIV deletes is deleted in the New World Translation (the JW version). It also deletes many of the same words and phrases including important portions of our theme verse in I John 5:7. I know this for a fact as I have copies of both contemptible books.

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[1] Of course, many (if not most) modern Bible versions do not have this complete verse. In this, they agree with the Jehovah's (false) Witness "Bible" called The New World Translation.

http://jesus-is-lord.com/trinity.htm
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 03:46:12 am »

See what the UCG says about the Trinity - they deny it!

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/who-god/god-trinity/

Is God a Trinity?

"What about the Trinity? Many millions believe that God consists of three distinct persons or entities—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in one being. How do we choose between explanations regarding the nature of God? Simply stated, only the Scriptures can give us the true answer. The fact that the word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible also gives us reason to reflect.

"Did the New Testament really teach the elaborate—and highly contradictory—doctrine of the Trinity?" — Karen Armstrong, A History of God

We have seen that God is revealed in the Scriptures as a family —comprising the Father and the Son in heaven, with many potential members of the same divine family now on earth. The Bible speaks of "the whole family in heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
See All...).

To put it another way, two divine members of that family, the Father and the Son, reside in heaven, but the human children of God on earth even now help make up this family (Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
See All...; 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
See All...). (To understand further, please request or download our free booklet What Is Your Destiny? )

But what about the Trinity? Many millions believe that God consists of three distinct persons or entities—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in one being. How do we choose between explanations regarding the nature of God?

Simply stated, only the Scriptures can give us the true answer. The fact that the word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible also gives us reason to reflect. We must not cling to long-held religious traditions if they contradict the Scriptures . Our beliefs must rest solidly on the teachings of the Holy Bible . Jesus declared that God's word is truth (John 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
See All...; compare Psalm 119:160Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
See All...).

Historical evidence

The fact of the matter is that the Bible does not teach the Trinity. The opening words of The Oxford Companion to the Bible under the article "Trinity" are enlightening: "Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament . Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the [ New Testament ] canon" (Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, editors, 1993, p. 782).

The term later is a vital key in understanding why general Christian belief has been burdened with the Trinity doctrine. Theologians after the first century originally conceived the doctrine, and others added to and elaborated on it over the years that followed.

Notice this admission in the New Bible Dictionary: "The term 'Trinity' is not itself found in the Bible . It was first used by Tertullian [one of the early Catholic church theologians] at the close of the 2nd century, but received wide currency and formal elucidation only in the 4th and 5th centuries" (1996, "Trinity").

The same dictionary explains that "the formal doctrine of the Trinity was the result of several inadequate attempts to explain who and what the Christian God really is... To deal with these problems the Church Fathers met in 325 at the Council of Nicaea to set out an orthodox biblical definition concerning the divine identity." However, it wasn't until 381, "at the Council of Constantinople, [that] the divinity of the Spirit was affirmed."

Another theological source admits that there was "an impression of binitarianism [that is, two in unity, the Father and Son] given by much second- and third-century thought ... Pluralist thinkers ... maintained the full co-presence of the two ( later three) distinct entities within the Godhead" (Alan Richardson, editor, A Dictionary of Christian Theology, 1969, p. 345).

Indeed, the second-century bishop Irenaeus, an earlier church father, stated unequivocally, "There is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption [i.e., sonship as God's children]" ( Against Heresies, Book 4, preface; compare Book 3, chap. 6). We find no mention here of the Holy Spirit being a third person as God. Rather, the concept here is that of human beings becoming part of the family now consisting of God the Father and God the Son.

We see, then, that the doctrine of the Trinity wasn't formalized until long after the Bible was completed and the apostles were long dead in their graves. It took later theologians several centuries to sort out what they believed concerning the Holy Spirit. Regrettably, the Trinity doctrine has been a major barrier to clear comprehension of the biblical truth that God is a divine family.

Continuing with the account in The Oxford Companion to the Bible : "While the New Testament writers say a great deal about God, Jesus, and the Spirit of each, no New Testament writer expounds on the relationship among the three in the detail that later Christian writers do" (p. 782). The scholars being quoted here are, of course, somewhat understating what is obvious to those who comprehend the biblical explanation of God.

Spurious addition in 1 John 5:7-8 [7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
See All...

Some Bible translators of past ages were so zealous to find support for their belief in the Trinity in the Scriptures that they literally added it. A case in point is 1 John 5:7-8 [7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
See All.... It reads in the King James Version, also known as the Authorized Version: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The words in italics are simply not a part of the accepted New Testament manuscripts. Regrettably, in this particular passage the New King James Version reads essentially the same.

Most Bible commentaries tell us that this is a spurious addition to the biblical text. Consider the words of The New Bible Commentary: Revised: "Notice that AV [the Authorized Version] includes additional material at this point. But the words are clearly a gloss [an added note] and are rightly excluded by RSV [Revised Standard Version] even from its margins" (1970, p. 1269).

In the New Revised Standard Version, 1 John 5:7-8 [7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
See All... correctly and more concisely reads, "There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree." John personifies the three elements here as providing testimony, just as Solomon personified wisdom in the book of Proverbs.

"The textual evidence is against 1 John 5:7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
See All...," explains Dr. Neil Lightfoot, a New Testament professor. "Of all the Greek manuscripts, only two contain it. These two manuscripts are of very late dates, one from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and the other from the sixteenth century. Two other manuscripts have this verse written in the margin. All four manuscripts show that this verse was apparently translated from a late form of the Latin Vulgate" ( How We Got the Bible , 2003, pp. 100-101).

The Expositor's Bible Commentary also dismisses the King James and New King James Versions' additions in 1 John 5:7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
See All... as "obviously a late gloss with no merit" (Glenn Barker, Vol. 12, 1981, p. 353). Peake's Commentary on the Bible is very incisive in its comments as well: "The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed in RSV and rightly [so] ... No respectable Greek [manuscript] contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate [the 5th-century Latin version, which became the common medieval translation] and finally NT [ New Testament ] of Erasmus [in the 16th century]" (p. 1038).

Again, Trinity did not come into common use as a religious term until after the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, several centuries after the last books of the New Testament were complete. It is not a biblical concept.

Why the Holy Spirit is sometimes called "he" and "him"

Many people assume that the Holy Spirit is a personal entity, based on references to the Spirit as "he," "him" and "himself" in the New Testament . This confusion arises from two factors—the use of gender-inflected pronouns in the Greek language and bias on the part of some translators.

Greek, as do the Romance languages deriving from Latin (Spanish, French, Italian, etc.), invokes a specific gender for every noun. Every object, animate or inanimate, is designated as either masculine, feminine or neuter. The gender is often unrelated to whether the item is indeed masculine or feminine. For example, in French the word livre, meaning "book," is of the masculine gender and is referred to by a pronoun equivalent to the English "he." And in Spanish, mesa, or "table," is in the feminine. Clearly, although these nouns have gender, their gender does not refer to actually being male or female.

In the English language, in contrast, most nouns that do not refer to objects that are male or female are referred to in the neuter sense, with the pronoun "it."

In Greek, both masculine and neuter words are used to refer to the Holy Spirit. The Greek word translated "Helper," "Comforter" and "Advocate" in John 14-16 is parakletos , a masculine word in Greek and thus referred to in these chapters by Greek pronouns equivalent to the English "he," "him," "his," "himself," "who" and "whom."

Because of the masculine gender of parakletos, these pronouns are grammatically correct in Greek. But to translate these into English as "he," "him," etc., is grammatically incorrect.

By the same token, you would never translate a particular French sentence as "I'm looking for my book so I can read him." While this grammatical construction makes sense in the French language, it is wrong in English. Thus the supposition that the Holy Spirit is a person to be referred to as "he" or "him" is incorrect.

Only if the parakletos or helper were known to be a person could the use of a gender-inflected pronoun justifiably be used in English. And the term parakletos certainly can refer to a person—as it refers to Jesus Christ in 1 John 2:1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
See All.... Yet the Holy Spirit is nowhere designated with personhood. So personal pronouns should not be substituted for it.

Neuter in nature, not personal

Indeed, there is absolutely no justification for referring to the term "Holy Spirit" with masculine pronouns, even in Greek. The Greek word pneuma, usually translated "spirit" but also translated "wind" and "breath," is a grammatically neuter word. So, in the Greek language, pronouns equivalent to the English "it," "its," "itself," "which" or "that" are properly used in referring to this word for "spirit."

Yet when the King James or Authorized Version was produced (early in the 1600s), the doctrine of the Trinity had already been accepted for more than 1,000 years. So naturally the translators of that version usually chose personal rather than neutral pronouns when referring to the Holy Spirit in English (see, for example, John 16:13-14 [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
See All...; Romans 8:26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
See All...).

Notice, however, that in some passages in the King James Version the translators properly used neuter pronouns. For example, Romans 8:16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
See All... says, "The Spirit itself [not himself ] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Matthew 10:20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
See All... and 1 Peter 1:11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
See All... are other places in the King James Version where the proper neuter pronouns are used.

Regrettably, later English translators of the Bible have gone even further than the King James translators in referring to the Holy Spirit as masculine rather than neuter. Thus the Holy Spirit is almost always referred to as "he" or "him" in the more modern versions. This reflects not linguistic accuracy, but the doctrinal bias or incorrect assumptions of Bible translators."

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/who-god/god-trinity/
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 03:50:01 am by Christian40 » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2012, 03:10:00 am »

Nice thread Mark. Good info.
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 07:38:29 am »

Blinded by the Light

To the average Muslim or the average Jew, Christianity is a polytheistic religion. Christians can explain that we worship only one God, but in three Persons, but that makes it about as clear as mud. Jews worship YHWH, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

If there is one verse of Scripture that defines Judaism, it would be the "shema".

Shema Yisra'el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad - "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Muslims find the doctrine of the Trinity to be even more confusing than do the Jews. The Old Testament makes reference to the Son of God on any number of occasions, whereas the Koran's references are all negative.

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." (Psalms 2:12)

“The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle . . .God is but one God. GOD FORBID THAT HE SHOULD HAVE A SON!” (The Koran: 4:171)

"Those who say: “The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son, preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack . . .” (The Koran: 19:88)

”God forbid that He Himself should beget a son!” (The Koran 19:29)

Although the New Testament is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Redeemer of the World, King of King and Lord of Lords, there is but one verse in the New Testament that clearly outlines the doctrine of the Trinity -- and it is suspect.

John Calvin wrote of the Trinity doctrine, "I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text:

"There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one." (1 John 5:7 KJV)

“As they lie in the text. . . “ Calvin’s wording here raises another question: Is the text itself genuine?

There are those that argue that 1st John 5:7 was added by some scribe or copyist later and that it was not among the earliest doctrines of the Church.

I’ve seen this debated many times over the years – the argument over the authenticity of the text baffles me. If the text is not authentic, then what is it doing in the Bible?

If the answer is that it shouldn’t be in the Bible, then the next question should be, “who says and how do they know?"

The New International Version is translated from the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. The NIV version waters down the Trinity proof text this way:

"For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."

The verse in the NIV is footnoted. The footnote reads;

"Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century)"

That's where one moves from the realm of doctrine into that of opinion. Nobody can say for certain if the text was a later insert. If it was certain, then it wouldn’t be part of the Bible. But there it is.

So for many scholars, it is a matter of opinion if it is supposed to be there.

The word translated as "mystery" is musterion which means, "a Divine secret, not previously revealed."

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a mystery. So let me throw this out for your consideration. The Bible does not require you to believe a ‘mystery’ as a condition of salvation.

The Bible requires that we believe the facts as they are, not necessarily the Divine mechanics behind those facts as they may be revealed later.

Genesis records that God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” That is a fact and I believe it.

There is no mystery in the existence of light. Only in how it sprang from nothing. But I don’t need to know that in order to believe that God created light.

“And the Word was made flesh.” I believe this as a fact – my belief is not based in my understanding of the details of how, but in my faith in the factualness of that statement.

I believe the Bible’s statement that God is both Three and One. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person in the Godhead, and I also believe that God is One.

HOW this can be is a matter of faith and not one of understanding. That’s why it is a mystery.

But it is absolute absurdity to reject the facts which God has revealed because we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how it all works.

The ‘mystery’ does not lie in the fact itself, but rather in how that fact comes to be a fact. Paul wrote,

“Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (1st Corinthians 15:51)

There are many Christians that don’t believe in the Rapture. They have a different opinion about what that verse means. But their eternal destiny is not in jeopardy.

Nobody is saved by faith in the Rapture. We are saved by our faith in the Promise of salvation by grace.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God . . . “ (Ephesians 2:Cool

The mystery is not relevant to the facts. As a Christian, you are not required to believe the mystery or even to understand it. But you are required to believe the Scriptures.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2nd Timothy 3:16)

The objection that the text describing the Trinity was inserted into Scripture later by a copyist means, by definition, that 2nd Timothy 3:16 is ALSO unreliable. Doesn't it?

If 1st John 5:7 was a later insert, meaning that 2nd Timothy 3:16 must be unreliable, what does that say about Ephesians 2:8?

How does one know which verses to trust? There is a Latin phrase that deals with these kinds of Bible objections.

“Si erro, libenter erro; et me redargui valde recusem.”

It means, "If I err, I err willingly; and I vehemently refuse to be convinced of it."

There is much that we know but can’t explain. You are NOT your body. You are a soul who has a body. You don’t need to be a religious scholar – or even a Christian – to know that. Consider a few examples:

Aircraft routinely carry the bodies of deceased persons as cargo. Airlines therefore report the number of ‘souls’ on board an aircraft to differentiate with the number of bodies.
An injury to the body is felt by the soul. An animal will flee from an injury and be done with it. It takes an injured soul to plot revenge for an injury to the body.
On the other side of the equation, when the soul feels shame, the body blushes. When the soul feels anger or fear, it is the body that trembles.
You know it as fact. The Bible only confirms that it is true, it doesn’t explain how it works. Neither can you. Nor should you necessarily have to know how it all works in order for it to be true.

It will be true whether you understand it or not. That doesn't mean that nobody should study. Everybody should. But it is a command with a purpose:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2nd Timothy 2:15)

These are marching orders for those called to serve -- not everybody who gets saved is called to lead others to Christ. Some are called to the work of evangelism, others are not.

But all need to be saved. Salvation does not come by scholarship. Salvation does not come by understanding the mysteries of God as revealed. One doesn’t need to have ever cracked a Bible in order to be saved.

The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing . . . the Word of God.” (I believe it safe to say that Heaven is full of people that never learned to read on earth.)

John tells us that these Three are One in unity and testimony and also in essence. 1st Timothy tells us that ALL Scripture is Divinely inspired and useful for doctrine.

Jesus Christ said that every hair on your head is numbered and that not a sparrow falls from the sky without God’s knowledge and permission.

It then follows that God is equally capable of preserving His Word as He wants each of us to have it, according to His purpose. That's another no-brainer that is often overlooked in the quest for scholarship.

The Bible says that God has revealed Himself as one God in Three distinct Persons; the Pater, the Logos and the Hagios Pneuma. But the Divine mechanics -- exactly how God can be one God in three Persons -- is not revealed by Scripture.

Where is the wisdom in rejecting what is revealed, based on that part which has not been revealed?

The doctrine of the Trinity is not nearly as difficult as it is made out to be. Try this for an illustration. Take three candles into a dark room and put one in each corner. Light them and go stand facing the other corner.

From that perspective, facing into the corner, you can only see one light. But you know that there are three candles. You can’t see the three candles, but you know that they are there.

Do you know how the light from each candle behind you was diffused in order to create the single light illuminating your corner?

Now for the next question. This is the big one. Do you NEED to know how in order to be able to use the light to see?

What if you were already standing in the corner in the dark when somebody else comes in and lights the candles? Would it change anything about the light if he said there were three different candles in different corners and all different colors?

Would you have to inspect the three candles before you could use the light to see with? Or is it enough to simply know how many candlepower the light is? Do you see it? The Light illuminates the doctrine.

Trying to create a doctrine away from the Light gets the equation exactly backwards. Turn around from your imaginary corner and stare directly at one of the candles for a minute.

Now turn back around and see if you can still see as well into the darkness of your corner as you could -- before you blinded yourself by staring too hard into the Light.

It is incumbent upon us to learn all we can from the Word of God because the more we learn, the more we understand how little we know. That is where wisdom begins.

In knowing that God is God. And that we are not.

The Scriptures tell us; "him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."

It is easy for God to be a Trinity and still be One God because He is God. Everything is easy for God.

But it is impossible for us to fully understand it because we are not God. God says it takes three Divine Candles to produce the Light that illuminates my dark corner.

Now that He's defined that Light for me, I need only worry about using it to see what He is illuminating.

There will be lots of time to learn about the Candles in detail when I get to Heaven.


http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7280
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 10:10:43 pm »

1Jo 5:7   For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 






Trying to understand the Godhead is probably the Biblical topic that interests me the most. In my 20`s through my early 30`s I visited many different churches and studied/worshipped with a variety of different demoninations.

One thing I discovered through my clashes with Catholicism is the developement of the word person in the English language. The word person comes from the Latin word persona and a persona was a mask worn by an actor for a part that is being played. The Latin word for a person is homo and this usage is seen in scientific words for people.

The earliest written presentation of the trinity doctrine comes from 2nd century Catholic writings and in original form, these are written in Latin. It was created as a response by the Roman church to a heretic oneness doctrine that denies the divinity of Christ. And it is unfortunately a form of oneness doctrine that survives to this very day.

The trinity as presented by the so called early church fathers is three personas of One God. They never said God is three homos, they said He has three personas.

I`m not interested in debating the merits of the background information I am giving because I would have to retrace old research that I no longer have. If this information interests you then with a little research you could find what I am talking about.

But if anyone is interested in a Biblical discussion on the Godhead I am game and the above position is the one that I defend from the scriptures.

I`m not interested in berating anyone on this issue. I love trinitarian brothers in the Lord. But if you want to challenge what you think you know about the Godhead, I`m your huckleberry and let`s have fun  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2014, 12:12:16 am »

I see it as less of a mystery these days in that all three are in complete agreement and act as one. Although each one has a different function. The Holy Spirit, which I believe is the same as the Spirit of Christ, cannot die for the sins of humanity. He is spirit.

It’s like the human body. A thumb doesn’t do what a nose does yet they are completely coordinated within the body as a whole toward some task.

Likewise, I see the body of Christ composed of individual souls, each having a different function, yet acting together under Christ and in agreement with Him for a higher purpose.
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2014, 12:47:29 am »

I see it as less of a mystery these days in that all three are in complete agreement and act as one. Although each one has a different function. The Holy Spirit, which I believe is the same as the Spirit of Christ, cannot die for the sins of humanity. He is spirit.

It’s like the human body. A thumb doesn’t do what a nose does yet they are completely coordinated within the body as a whole toward some task.

Likewise, I see the body of Christ composed of individual souls, each having a different function, yet acting together under Christ and in agreement with Him for a higher purpose.

That`s a decent assessment. I can agree with all that. Your points are all confirmed in scripture.

Let me challenge you with this. What function did Jesus perform prior to His life as a man?
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 06:52:24 am »

That`s a decent assessment. I can agree with all that. Your points are all confirmed in scripture.

Let me challenge you with this. What function did Jesus perform prior to His life as a man?

Here is what i believe.

Jhn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

He was a carpenter from the very beginning.   Wink
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2014, 02:44:13 pm »

Here is what i believe.

Jhn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

He was a carpenter from the very beginning.   Wink


Anybody see that duck that just flew by  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2014, 04:35:40 pm »


Anybody see that duck that just flew by  Roll Eyes

 Huh what is the meaning of that?
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2014, 04:48:55 pm »

Huh what is the meaning of that?

I think you can figure it out  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2014, 05:20:39 pm »

I think you can figure it out  Wink


Actually i cant sorry.
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2014, 07:05:15 pm »

Actually i cant sorry.

It`s an old country boy saying that suggests avoidance.
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2014, 07:20:53 pm »

It`s an old country boy saying that suggests avoidance.

hmmm.. interesting. That means you are applying that i avoided the question. In fact i answered it.
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2014, 08:48:00 pm »

Here is what i believe.

Jhn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

He was a carpenter from the very beginning.   Wink

Thank you, Mark.

I was thinking about this today.

I can see the name morphing Jesus > Jaweh > Jehova > Jeshua.

And I can see Christ’s words. “Before Abraham was, I am.” And “I am the Alpha and the Omega”.

And I can see the beginning of the book of John.

I can see this intellectually. But to be honest, it’s not firmly embedded in my heart yet.

Was Christ always separate from the Father? These verses would say “yes” – that the entire world has never seen or known the Father. Is it important that I make this connection? And, if so, why?

One thing I do know. Christ is separate, yet working as one with the Father, seated at the right hand of the Father. And He has been given authority as Lord of Lords over all things. His character is one of deep compassion for each and every one of us as opposed to the devil, who doesn’t give a twit. Christ has given His people the keys to His kingdom and made a way to destroy the works of the devil in people’s lives on this earth. And he has made a way for people to have eternal life, forever together with the source of all love and life.

People want to know the Father? The Father draws them to His Son.

Couple of years ago, I had a close friend that had a direct, personal, spiritual encounter with God. At the same time, I believe there was some demonic interference that greatly confused the situation. Prior to that, he had been to church. He knew the story of Jesus in his head. Heard it a million times. I was moved to agonize in prayer for this man and his family. He was at a serious crisis point in his life – about to lose everything. The family was about to be destroyed. I sought help from several churches that had no idea what I was talking about.

One of the things that he realized during this encounter was, “Oh my God! You really did send your Son to die for me.” This was profound. It was the difference between “knowing” and really knowing with every fiber of his being. He also realized that this was the very thing that he had been searching for his entire life. All the worldly substitutions that he used to try to fill the void inside himself were nothing compared to this.

Since then, I’ve seen some miraculous changes in this man. God had begun and continues to do a deep work within his heart. Some things that he used to enjoy and thought were important are fading away. While other things that he never even thought of are becoming his primary interests.

When God touches someone directly, there is no wondering or doubt. He can do things that man-made churches will never be able to do.
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2014, 09:05:32 pm »

hmmm.. interesting. That means you are applying that i avoided the question. In fact i answered it.

Yes, but it was a short answer that doesn`t tell me much.
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