Can You Explain the Trinity (The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit)?


Father, Jesus and Spirit spelled out in Scrabble tiles


Well, yes, I can. I mean, I can try. That is to say, I can tell you what I think about the Trinity. But I hesitate to do so. Not because I don’t like talking about God, but because I just can’t remember a discussion that clarified the Trinity without presenting a few new questions. And it isn’t for a lack of brains. The concept of the Trinity is something that, over the centuries, great minds and expositors haven’t been able to explain.

In Bible College, I spent time in Theology classes trying to come up with a good explanation for the Trinity. One classmate explained that an egg is one part shell, one part white and one part yolk, but that together they made up the egg. But the teacher said God isn’t three parts. Another student tried to explain it using themselves: “I’m a father to my two year old, I am a son to my dad and I am my own soul self too.” But that got messy, as one can’t be his own father or his own son. My favorite attempt was H20 overlooking an early spring thaw of a lake. Steam is coming off the ice, there is the ice and there is the lake under the ice; all of which are H20.

The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit = 1 God

Before my wife and I moved to a land that was predominantly Muslim, we took a course on Islam. In that class we spent a lot of time discussing how to explain the Trinity to people who were Muslim because, we were told, that the Trinity was a point of contention with them. Apparently in parts of the Muslim world, people would say that Christians are polytheists (believe in multiple gods) because we worship 1. The Father, 2. Jesus, and then 3. The Holy Spirit. Yet as followers of Christ we know God to be Triune. That is, we know Him as three persons in One being.

It may help to distinguish between a living “being” and a “person.” God is the life giving “Being” who consists of three “persons.” For instance, whales are great beings, but they’re not a person. The impressive Joshua Tree is a being, but it’s not a person. God is the great Creator Being, who has revealed to those who are followers of Christ that He is three persons: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. And while God has not revealed this to us in one easy scripture that says the word, “Trinity” or the word “Triune” or even “Three in One,” if you read the entire bible, you’ll in time, come to see and to experience God in this way.

Back to my years living among Muslim people. Week after week, Madrassa students (like a seminary for Islam) would insist that I had three gods, and I would insist that there is only one God by citing, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) or “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5) or from the New Testament “there is no God but one.” (1 Corinthians 8:4) One time a man, who was becoming irritated at my stubbornness, lost his temper and insisted I count and add the names. “You insist that you have only one God, but you say three names! One plus one plus one equals three! Don’t you learn math in your schools?” My response surprised me – I shot back, “Yes, we learn math, and one times one times one equals one!”

Understanding the Trinity – The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit

Those who have chosen to follow Christ gain understanding of the Trinity through the scriptures, as well as begin to experience God through these three manifestations. This experience begins right away. All three persons of the Trinity were involved in your coming to faith. Think back to the time before you knew Him or remember the time you understood that you were in need of a Savior. It was the Father who drew you to Christ. It was Christ who responded to the Father’s love by coming to die on the cross for your sins so that you could be reconciled to God. It was the Holy Spirit who was sent from the Father to reveal the Son and draw you to Him so all glory could be given to God.

To build your understanding of the trinity, find people who love God and who love reading their Bibles. Find friends who love to talk about what they’re reading in the scriptures. Pour yourself into His word. God loves “peculiar people.” The King James Bible reads,“ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

If you want to understand the Trinity, the best way is to build your trust in God, and to take Him at His word whether you understand things completely or not. Don’t wait to “get it,” before you obey or walk with Him. That’s not faith. Faith is how you walk with God in a way that He can and will bless you. Be humble! Know that you won’t know everything that there is to know. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part,” as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:9.

Ultimately, you aren’t going to convince a skeptic about the Trinity. You can know for sure that God is three persons though, so walk in that confidence. You’ll know by living a life that is transformed by the power and guidance of God, involving the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is no verse you can throw at someone to convince them of the trinity. There is no earthly example that great minds have come up with to show the Trinity to closed or hesitant minds. But if you live your life abandoned for God, He will show you Himself. All you do, your life and words, may prove the best witness for those who do not yet believe. Walking by faith is the greatest adventure. God said to Abraham, the father of the Christian faith: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

Faith will always have you stepping into things before God shows you what you’re going to encounter. You can do this because you know that God is good, and that He always has your best in mind. When you step toward Him, THEN you’ll see, understand and hear the good that God brings. It’s in that faith and through His goodness that you’ll begin to see the truth behind questions like “What is the Trinity?” Faith is part of that process. And sometimes that’s all you can tell someone. You can try and explain God to people, but to know Him really, they have to take the faith step to find out themselves.

Scriptures about The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit

There are scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament that reveal that God consists of more than one person while being alone God. Here is only a partial list to help you begin your own personal bible study on the Trinity:

Also, here are others that might help:

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