Trinity, relationships between the persons

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The actual term “the Trinity” is not found in Scripture, but the truths implied in a trinitarian understanding of God are clearly set out. The OT hints at a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The NT affirms that the Son and the Holy Spirit are divine.


There is only one God

Deuteronomy 6:4 LEB
“Hear, Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique.
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OT indications of plurality in the Godhead

God refers to himself in the plural

Genesis 1:26 LEB
And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.”
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The angel of the Lord

The “angel of the Lord” is identified with, yet distinct from, God.
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The word of God

The “word of the Lord” or “wisdom of God” is personified and identified with, yet distinct from, God:


The Spirit of God

The Spirit of God is God’s personal agent:

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The Messiah

The Messiah’s divine nature is emphasised:

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Interchangeable expressions

Word, Spirit (or breath) and Lord are used interchangeably for God:

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NT trinitarian references

The unity of the three persons is reflected in the singular name.
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The unity of the three persons

The Son is fully united with the Father

John 10:30 LEB
The Father and I are one.”
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The Spirit is identified with God

2 Samuel 23:2–3 LEB
“The spirit of Yahweh speaks through me, and his word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel said to me, the rock of Israel has spoken; ‘He who rules over mankind rules righteously, in the fear of God.
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The three persons are distinct from one another

Jesus Christ addresses the Father directly

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The Father speaks to the Son from heaven

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The Spirit speaks to the Father on behalf of believers

Romans 8:26–27 LEB
And likewise also, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as one ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unexpressed groanings. And the one who searches our hearts knows what the mindset of the Spirit is, because he intercedes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God.

Other examples of the difference between the persons

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The relationship between the Father and the Son

Jesus Christ is God’s unique Son

The Greek word for “One and Only”, traditionally rendered “only begotten”, is actually used to signify “the only one of its kind”; “unique”.
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The relationship of Father and Son is unique

Matthew 11:27 LEB
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.
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The Father loves the Son

John 3:35 LEB
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.
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The Father shares his divine life with the Son

Colossians 2:9 LEB
because in him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily,
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The Father delegates his authority to the Son

John 5:27 LEB
And he has granted him authority to carry out judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
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Father and Son indwell each other

John 14:10–11 LEB
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from myself, but the Father residing in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if not, believe because of the works themselves.
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The relationship between the Holy Spirit and the other two persons

The Spirit is “the Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ”

Romans 8:9 LEB
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.

“the Spirit of God”:

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“the Spirit of Christ”:

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The Spirit’s unique relationship with God

Matthew 10:20 LEB
For you are not the ones who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father who is speaking through you.
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The Spirit’s unique relationship with the Son

John 1:33 LEB
And I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water, that one said to me, ‘The one upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon him—this one is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
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