Essay / Theology

Think Bigger: There's Not a "Trinity Verse" –and That's a Good Thing

In the current (Winter 2011) issue of Biola Magazine, I’ve got a brief article that describes the Biblical case for the doctrine of the Trinity. Here’s the intro:

The Trinity is a biblical doctrine, but let’s admit it: There’s something annoying about how hard it is to put your finger on a verse that states the whole doctrine.

The Bible presents the elements of the doctrine in numerous passages, of course: that there is only one God; that the Father is God; that the Son is God; and that the Spirit is God. We can also tell easily enough that the Father, Son and Spirit are really distinct from one another, and are not just three names for one person. If you hold all those clear teachings of Scripture in your mind at one time and think through them together, the doctrine of the Trinity is inevitable. Trinitarianism is a biblical doctrine and all the ingredients are given to us there: Just add thought and you have the classic doctrine.

Like most evangelicals, though, I would prefer to have a doctrine be stated clearly and concisely in one place. I like my doctrines verse-sized. I sometimes wish there were one verse that said, “God is one being in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The doctrine of the Trinity, though, is simply not verse-sized. Sometimes that feels like a disadvantage, but in fact it’s an advantage. The doctrine of the Trinity is a massive, comprehensive, full-Bible doctrine that serves to expand our minds as readers of Scripture. In Scripture, God is leading his people to understand who he is as Father, Son and Spirit.

Instead of just shouting, “Think Bigger!,” the rest of the article shows how to think bigger: It moves from smaller to larger, going from three-verse passages (Gal. 4:4-6) to six-verse passages (Rom. 5:1-5) to 12-verse passages (Eph. 1:3-14) to six-chapter books (Galatians) to sixteen-chapter books (Romans) to complete gospels like Matthew and John.

Click on through to the article in Biola Magazine, and look around the rest of the publication, too (say, isn’t that Allen Yeh I see over there in the interview about Christian mission?). It can be browsed online, or downloaded as a free .pdf if you want to keep all the graphic design intact.

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