When discussing the doctrine of the Holy Trinity it is a good idea to remember that the orthodox Christian Church has been doing its best to comprehend the infinite God with our finite minds for some two thousand years now! And some of the greatest intellects in long history of the Christian Church have attempted to help us understand the great mystery of our God‘s nature. No doubt this has been quite helpful, but you may take heart in this: No one this side of eternity will ever completely comprehend the Trinity. That said however, in the confused milieu of what is now being considered “Christian” today, it becomes very important for you to know what the doctrine is and just how it was actually arrived at.

The Doctrine Stated

Here is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as succinctly as possible: In all the universe there is but one God; Who created that universe ex nihilo, which means “out of nothing.” Within the nature of the one true and living God there are three co-equal and co-eternal Persons (cognizant egos) existing simultaneously; The whole undivided essence of God belongs equally to each of the three Persons; God the Father; God the Son – Who is Christ Jesus of Nazareth – and God the Holy Spirit. And these three Persons are that one God.

Dr. Walter Martin, a renowned defender of the orthodox Christian faith and whose doctorate was in the history of the ancient Christian Church, summed up the formation of the doctrine of the Trinity quite well when he explained that this teaching was developed from the Bible when:

honest, godly men said: “2 Peter 1:17 says there is a Person called the Father, and He’s God. Acts chapter 5, verses 3 and 4, says there’s a Person called the Holy Spirit, and He’s God; and John chapter 1, verse 1, says there’s a Person called the Word and He’s God. You’ve got 3 Persons, and Deuteronomy 6:4 says there’s only one God. The logical conclusion is: These three Persons, somehow, are the one God.”

Monotheism And The Hint Of Plurality

There can be no doubt that Judaism–which uses the Old Testament as found in most any Bible translation as their Holy Scriptures–is a monotheistic religion. Mono meaning “one” and theos being the Greek word for God. Monotheism, by definition, is the belief in one God. And it is this belief that set the Hebrew people of Moses’ day completely apart from the rest of the world at that time which was made up of polytheists–with poly meaning “many.”

While these other peoples believed in multitudes of different “gods,” the people of Israel stood out from the rest of the world as they were chosen by the LORD to follow the one true God of the Bible when He commanded Moses to announce: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). And this remains the foundation of the monotheistic Jewish faith even to this day, and is a twice-daily oral confession for the faithful orthodox Jew.

However, if you read this verse in the original Hebrew you will see that there is a hint of God’s plural nature within the language that is used. The Hebrew word for “God” is Eloah, but here in Deuteronomy 6:4 God the Holy Spirit chose to use the word elohim, which is the plural form of Eloah. Transliterated, the verse reads like this: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD (singular) our Elohim (plural), the LORD (singular) is one.” It’s significant to note that the Hebrew word for “one” used here is echad referring back to our Lord’s one Name, or title. Whenever God refers to Himself by Name – LORD (see Exodus 3:14) – He uses the singular, but when He refers to what He is – God – He uses the plural elohim.

The Holy Trinity Was Derived From The Bible Itself

For the Christian Church then, the Holy Trinity is a necessity based on the Scriptures themselves, and upon the teaching of its Founder, God the Son–Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Something that is important to understand here is that in His humanity Jesus was born a Jew, and as a Rabbi He taught His disciples to believe in the one God of the Old Testament. In Mark 12:29 the Master says – “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This you will immediately recognize as a reference back to Deuteronomy 6:4. And so the Christian Church was a natural outgrowth from, or a fulfillment of, the Jewish faith, with an uncompromising belief in the one true and living God of biblical revelation.

I ask you now to try and imagine yourself as one of these godly men in the early years after their Lord and Master has ascended to Heaven as they struggle to write down their faith in Christ in a way that is clear to others. They had seen Jesus of Nazareth appeal to the Old Testament Scriptures many times to prove His teaching was from God the Father. And that is exactly the way these humble men of God arrived at the doctrine of the Holy Trinity–not by the fruitless meanderings of Greek philosophers–but they were compelled to accept this Truth because this is what the Bible itself teaches us about our Creator God.

The fact remains that whether we wholly understand this teaching or not is completely irrelevant at this point as this is clearly what these Holy Scriptures truly say. The examples within this short treatise are but a few of the many verses of the Bible that speak of the plural nature of the one God. Simple logic will tell us that something, which is true, does not then become false because a person doesn’t fully understand it. We must never forget that what is in fact true–will remain true–regardless of our comprehension of that truth. And so it is with this cardinal doctrine of the historic orthodox Christian Church known as The Holy Trinity.