Mister Richardson's
Bible Doctrine Class

CLASS NOTES


Chapter 6: The Trinity


And when Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on Him; and lo, a voice from heaven saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.' - Matthew 3:16,17

A. The doctrine of the Trinity is progressively revealed in Scripture

  1. Partial revelation in the Old Testament - Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; 16:13; Psalm 45:6-7; 110:1; Isaiah 6:8; Matt 22:41-46.
  2. More complete revelation in the New Testament - Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21.

B. Three statements summarize the Biblical teaching

  1. *God is three persons - John 1:1,2; John 17:24; Ephesians 4:4-6.
  2. *Each person is fully God - John 20:28; Acts 5:3-4.
  3. *There is one God - Deut 6:4-5; Isaiah 45:5-6.
  4. All analogies have shortcomings.
  5. Simplistic solutions must all deny one strand of Biblical teaching.

C. Errors have come by denying any of the three statements summarizing Biblical teaching

  1. Modalism claims that there is one person who appears to us in three different forms or modes.
  2. Arianism denies the full deity of the Son and Holy Spirit.
  3. Tritheism denies that there is only one God.
  4. The importance of the doctrine of the Trinity.

D. What are the distinctions between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

  1. The persons of the Trinity have different primary functions in relating to the world.
  2. The persons of the Trinity have eternally existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  3. What is the relationship between the three persons and the being of God?
  4. Can we understand the doctrine of the Trinity?


TERMS
Arianism, economic subordination, homoiousios, homoousios, modalism, only-begotten, ontological equality, subordinationism, Trinity, tritheism.

REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Provide scriptural evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity from both the Old and New Testaments.
2. List the three statements given in the chapter that summarize the Biblical teaching on the Trinity, and give scriptural support for each.
3. Which of the three statements does each of the following deny? Modalism, Arianism, Subordinationism, Tritheism
4. What are the distinctions between the persons of the Trinity? How do these distinctions apply to the work of creation? Of redemption?

RECOMMENDED READING
The Doctrine of God - Gerald Bray
The Holy Spirit - Sinclair Ferguson
Communion With the Triune God - John Owen, Kelly Kapic
Communion With God (Puritan Paperback) - John Owen
The Holy Spirit (Puritan Paperback) - John Owen
The Mystery of the Holy Spirit - R. C. Sproul
What is The Trinity? - R. C. Sproul
Who is the Holy Spirit? - R. C. Sproul

ARTICLES
What is the Trinity? - CARM
The Trinity, Worship, and Prayer - New Horizons
John 1:1 Meaning and Translation - James White
The Trinity - Hodge's Systematic Theology
John Owen on the Trinity - Kevin Vanhoozer
Sabellianism - Gervase Charmley
Highlights of the Trinity Debate

QUOTES
"This sacred doctrine, though it be not against reason, yet it is above reason." - Thomas Watson

"There was no more glorious mystery brought to light in and by Jesus Christ than that of the holy Trinity, or the subsistence of the three Persons in the unity of the same nature." - John Owen

CATECHISM
Q6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A6. There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.


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