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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Trinity: One God in Three Persons

Don Stewart :: Does the New Testament Mention the Three Distinct Members of the Trinity Together?

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Does the New Testament Mention the Three Distinct Members of the Trinity Together?

The Trinity: One God in Three Persons – Question 15

Yes. There are a number of New Testament passages that mention the three Persons of the Trinity. They include the following:

1. The Preaching of John the Baptist Mentions All Three Members

We find the three members of the Trinity all mentioned in the preaching of the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. He spoke about repentance, or turning toward God, in his message. We read him saying the following:

“Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near...” But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment? Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God.” (Matthew 3:2, 7-8 NLT)

This would primarily be speaking of God the Father.

John told the people to place their faith in the Messiah, God the Son. In fact, John specifically pointed to Jesus as the Promised One. We read about this in the Gospel of John:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 HCSB).

Jesus was the One whom John spoke about.

John also predicted the coming “baptism with the Holy Spirit.” We read about this in Matthew in his words to the religious leaders:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11 RSV)

Therefore, John the Baptist talked about each member of the Trinity; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2. The Members of the Trinity Were All at Jesus’ Baptism

We also find all three members of the Trinity were present at the baptism of Jesus. Matthew wrote about what happened:

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16, 17 NRSV)

God the Father verbally acknowledged, God the Son was being baptized, and God the Holy Spirit physically descended upon Jesus while He was undergoing His baptism. Thus, we have each member of the Trinity performing a distinctive action.

3. The Promise of the Father Mentions All Three Members of the Trinity

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said that he would pray to the Father who would send the Holy Spirit to be another Comforter. Here we have another episode where all three members of the Trinity are highlighted.

John records Jesus saying the following:

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16, 17 HCSB)

The Holy Spirit will be sent. He is another Helper, or Comforter. He is another of the same kind of Person as Jesus: God.

Jesus also said,

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NASB)

In preparing the disciples for their future ministry, Jesus, God the Son, tells them He will pray to God the Father to send the Helper, or Comforter. This is a clear distinction between all members of the Trinity.

Jesus referred to the Trinity later on that same night. The Son will send the Spirit who will proceed from the Father:

But I will send you the Counselor—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me.“ (John 15:26 NLT)

The fact that Jesus repeated this truth to His disciples shows the importance of it.

4. Peter’s Greeting Mentions the Three Members of the Trinity

We also find the members of the Trinity in greetings which are given to us in the New Testament letters. For example, in his greeting, Peter makes the distinction between the various members of the Trinity when he wrote to believers:

This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the lands of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God’s special favor and wonderful peace. (1 Peter 1:2 NLT)

Here again we have the Trinity mentioned together. God the Father chose these believers, the Spirit made them holy because they have obeyed the Son.

5. Paul’s Benediction Links Each of the Members of the Trinity

We find the Trinity in the benedictions of the church. In the benediction at the end of 2 Corinthians, we have all three members of the Trinity involved:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

Note that in some Bible translations this is actually verse 13, not verse 14. This includes translations such as the NET, NRSV, and NLT. They are following the latest verse divisions of the standard Greek text that is used for translating the New Testament. Therefore, the last few verses in 2 Corinthians 13 will be divided slightly differently.

6. The Members of the Trinity Are Linked Together in the Sending of the Holy Spirit

Paul linked all three members of the Trinity when speaking of the sending of the Holy Spirit. He wrote the following to the Galatians:

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:6 HCSB)

In this one verse, all three members of the Trinity are referred to. God the Father sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.

7. The Members of the Trinity Are Linked Together in Paul’s Prayer

All three members are mentioned together by the Apostle Paul when referring to prayer. He wrote to the church at Ephesus:

For through him [Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18 KJV)

The three again are linked together. Through Jesus we have access to the Father by means of the Holy Spirit.

8. All Three Members of the Trinity Are Linked to God’s Salvation

Paul places the three together in speaking of salvation of sinners. He wrote the following to the church at Ephesus:

And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. (Ephesians 1:13 NLT)

The three are linked together with respect to God’s salvation of humanity. God saves us believe we have believed in His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of this, He has sent His Holy Spirit to those who trust Him.

9. The Members of the Trinity Are Linked to the Death of Christ

The writer to the Hebrews refers to all three members in speaking of Christ’s death on the cross. He wrote the following:

The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14 God’s Word)

The death of Christ links all three members of the Trinity. We serve the living God, the Father, because of the death of the Son. His offering for our sins was done through the Holy Spirit. Again, we find each of the members of the Trinity mentioned.

10. The Baptismal Formula Links the Three Members of the Trinity

The early church also practiced Trinitarian baptism. This is based upon Jesus’ command that is recorded at the end of the gospel of Matthew. He said,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...” (Matthew 28:19 NRSV)

Following Jesus’ command, a person was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity was identified in the act of baptism. Although all three were identified, they were baptized into the name (singular) of each. This emphasized the unity of the Godhead.

Some have seen a contradiction between Peter calling upon people to be baptized in the name of Jesus and Trinitarian baptism:

“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 HCSB)

However the “name of Jesus” speaks of the authority of Jesus. This distinguishes baptism in the authority of Jesus from the previous baptism done by John the Baptist.

Thus, the Trinitarian baptismal formula is another instance of the members of the Trinity being linked together.

11. Access to God Is through All the Members of the Trinity

Access to God the Father is through the Son by means of the Spirit, the Trinity. Paul stated it as follows:

For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone... (Ephesians 2:18-20 NKJV)

Thus, we find another illustration of the members of the Trinity working together.

Therefore, we have a number of New Testament examples of the three members of the Trinity being mentioned together. This gives further evidence of this important doctrine.

Summary – Question 15
Does the New Testament Mention the Three Distinct Members of the Trinity Together?

While the doctrine of the Trinity is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, the New Testament develops it more clearly. The three distinct members of the Trinity are mentioned a number of times together in the New Testament. We can provide the following examples:

They are all mentioned by the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. He predicted that God the Father would send the coming Messiah. He also testified that the coming Messiah would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit. Thus, John singled out each member of the Trinity.

We find each member of the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus like a dove. God the Father acknowledged Jesus, God the Son, from heaven.

When Jesus was about to leave this world He spoke of “the promise of the Father” that was to be sent to all believers. This is the Holy Spirit. Again, we find the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together.

When Peter greeted the churches he mentioned all three members of the Trinity. Thus, this important disciple taught the truthfulness of the Trinity.

We also find the Trinity in the writings of Paul. In his benediction to the church of Corinth, Paul specifically mentioned each Person of the Trinity. Paul also linked the members of the Trinity when he wrote about the sending out of the Holy Spirit. When Paul referred to prayer, he mentioned each of the members of the Trinity. Finally, when it comes to the salvation of believers, Paul said each Person of the Trinity is involved.

The members of the Trinity are linked together in the death of Christ. He was offered up to the Father through the eternal Spirit.

Jesus said believers are to be baptized in water. The water baptism of all believers is to be done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity.

Finally, access to God is through the members of the Trinity. We come to God the Father through God the Son by means of God the Holy Spirit.

Each member of the Trinity is mentioned in greetings to the church. The Trinity is also mentioned in benedictions. The Bible says that each of the three members of the Trinity provides access to God the Father In all of these examples, the members of the Trinity, though distinct from one another, are always assumed to be equals.

Do We Find the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament? ← Prior Section
Does 1 John 5:7 Teach the Doctrine of the Trinity? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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