Foundation Truth ~ The Trinity ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

The Trinity -three in one, one which is three, three which are one

The goal of a study of the trinity is not to solve all the mysteries of deity or to prove ourselves smarter that the other guys... it is simply to see what God has said about himself in the bible so that we can honor him as he reveals himself to us, and guard against errors that dishonor him in any way.

  1. God is three persons

  2. Each person is fully God

  3. There is one God

1. God is three persons; the Father is not the Son; the Father is not the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Holy Spirit; they are distinct persons.

-Matthew 28:19 … baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

-Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs––heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, …

-I Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

-II Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

-Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

-Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit––just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

-I Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

-Jude 20-21 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

-Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

-Hebrews 10:29-31 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

-II Thessalonians 2:13-14 …because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A. The Father and Son are distinct persons:

-John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

-John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

-I John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

-Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

B. The Spirit is a distinct person from the Father and the Son:

-John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, …26 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 have said to you.

-John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

-Romans 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

i. The Holy Spirit is a person:

a. Masculine pronoun 'He' is used with neuter word 'Spirit' against rules of grammar: ekeinov to pneuma

-John 14:26; John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

-John 16:13-14 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

b. Personal activities are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:

Teaching (John 14:26); bearing witness (John 15:26; Romans 8:16); interceding or praying on behalf of others (Romans 8:26-27); searching the depths of God (I Corinthians 2:10); knowing the thoughts of God (I Corinthians 2:11); willing to distribute some gifts to some and other gifts to others (I Corinthians 12:11); forbidding certain activities (Acts 16:6-7); speaking (Acts 8:29; 13:2); evaluating and approving a wise course of action (Acts 15:28); being grieved by sin (Ephesians 4:30).

c. The Holy Spirit cannot be merely the power of God – that would make nonsense of the language:

Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit; Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you ... so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope; I Corinthians 2:4 ... in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

2. Each person is fully God

A. God the Father is clearly God

Ephesians 4:6; I Peter 1:2; John 6:27; I Corinthians 8:6

B. The Son is fully God

-John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

-John 20:27-31 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

-Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

-Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

-Hebrews 1:10-12 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

-Titus 2:13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

-II Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

-Romans 9:5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

-Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

-Isaiah 40:3A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (with Matthew 3:3)

C. The Holy Spirit is fully God (see also references under point 1 – God is three persons)

-Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

-I Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

-Psalm 139:7-8 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

3. There is one God

-Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

-Exodus 15:11 Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

-I Kings 8:60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.

-Isaiah 45:5-6 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.

-Isaiah 44:6-8 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. 7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. 8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

-Isaiah 45:21-22 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

-I Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

-Romans 3:30 since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

-I Corinthians 8:4-6 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so–called gods in heaven or on earth––as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”–– 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

-James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe––and shudder!

Errors in understanding the Trinity:

1. Modalism – God is not three persons; rather there is one person who appears to us in three different forms (or modes); also called Sabellianism. Emphasizes the fact that there is only one God but denies the fact that the Father, Son and Spirit are distinct persons who relate to one another.

2. Arianism – Each person is not fully God; the full deity of the Son and the Spirit are denied. Arius taught that the Son was created and not divine

Arianism was condemned at the council of Nicea in A.D. 325

“we believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance (homoousion) with the Father...” (Nicene Creed, A.D. 325) [homoousion (of the same nature) not homoiousion (of a similar nature)]

[But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable' — they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]

a. Subordinationism – the Son was eternal and divine, but not equal to the Father in being and attributes

b. Adoptionism – Jesus lived as an ordinary man until his baptism, when God 'adopted' Jesus as his 'Son' and conferred on him supernatural powers.

3. Tritheism – There is not only one God – there are three Gods – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Holy Trinity

God is One

Deuteronomy 6:4; I Kings 8:60; Isaiah 44:6; John 17:3; I Corinthians 8:5-6; Ephesians 4:5-6

Three Persons are called God;

The Father is called God

The Son is declared to be God

The Holy Spirit is declared to be God

Ephesians 4:6

I Corinthians 8:6

John 6:27

I Peter 1:2

Hebrews 1:8

John 1:1

John 1:18

John 20:28

Titus 2:13

John 8:58 (Exodus 3:14)

Acts 5:3-4

I Corinthians 3:16

I Corinthians 12:4-6

Three Persons possess the attributes of God






Psalm 90:2

Isaiah 44:6

Romans 16:26

Micah 5:1-2

Revelation 1:17

Romans 8:11

Hebrews 9:14

All Knowing

I John 3:20

Matthew 11:27

Acts 15:18

John 16:30

Matthew 11:27

John 21:17

I Corinthians 2:10-11

Isaiah 40:13


I Kings 8:27

Jeremiah 23:24

Matthew 28:20

Psalm 139:7-10


Genesis 2:7

Psalm 36:9

Ephesians 2:4-5

John 1:3-4; 5:21

II Corinthians 3:6-8

Romans 8:10

John 3:8




John 7:28

John 17:11, 25

Psalm 104:8

John 14:16

Acts 3:14

John 10:11

I John 5:6

John 14:26

Psalm 143:10

Purpose; Will

Ephesians 1:11

Matthew 11:27

I Corinthians 12:11

Three Persons do the works of God






Isaiah 64:8; 44:24

I Corinthians 8:6

Psalm 100:3

Colossians 1:15-17

John 1:3

Job 33:4; 26:13

Isaiah 40:13


I Thessalonians 1:10

John 2:19; 10:17

Romans 8:11


II Corinthians 6:16

I Corinthians 14:25

Colossians 1:27

Ephesians 3:17

John 14:17

Searches the heart

Jeremiah 17:10

Revelation 2:23

I Corinthians 2:10


I Thessalonians 5:23

Hebrews 2:11

I Peter 1:2

Three Persons receive honor due only to God




John 5:23; 17:1,4

John 20:28; 14:14

II Peter 3:18

I Corinthians 3:16

Three Persons are called YHWH (Jehovah)




Exodus 20:2

Psalm 92:8

Isaiah 40:3 / Matthew 3:3

Luke 1:76 / Matthew 11:10

Ezekiel 8:1,3

Luke 1:35

Three Persons are distinguished from each other:

Mark 1:11; John 5:32-37; John 3:16; John 17:4; Galatians 4:4; John 16:7-8; John 14:26; John 15:26

Historic Christian Creeds:

Nicene Creed (381)

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Athanasian Creed (c. 500 A.D.)

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

42. and shall give account of their own works.

43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.