Recently, I posted an article refuting the “100 Scriptural Arguments” for Unitarianism, that can be found at John Schoenheit’s website on the topic. Here, I’m going to be typing up an article with positive, Scriptural arguments for the Trinity. Unlike the one I examined before, these will actually all be Scriptures that point to one of the definitional truths that make up the Trinity. For a refresher, those truths are:
I. Yahweh is unique. There is no other god like Yahweh is God. Yahweh is the sole Creator and Redeemer of the world.
II. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons.
III. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each identified as the one God, Yahweh, in various ways.
IV. Jesus is the Son become flesh, so He is both God and man.
My 100 arguments will be categorized as these statements dictate, with some subcategories. For a fuller explanation of these truths and more specifics on some of the texts, see my Trinity Series. As this is a counter to a Unitarian article, I will spend more time on Scriptures related to what Unitarians deny than those things we agree upon. Of course, they do often state some of our points of agreement as if they prove us wrong, but that is to be expected. Now, to the arguments.
I: Yahweh is unique.
1. Yahweh alone is truly God (Isa. 43:10).
2. There is none like Yahweh (Isa. 46:9).
3. Only Yahweh is Creator (Isa. 44:24).
4. Yahweh our God is utterly unique (Deut. 6:4).
5. Because He alone is our God, He alone is our Savior (Isa. 43:11, 45:21).
II. A. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons
6. The Father speaks of the Son as another person (Matt. 3:17).
7. The Son speaks of the Father as another person who set the example for what He does (John 5:19-21).
8. The Son speaks to the Father, which shows they are distinct persons (John 17:5).
9. The Son was sent by the Father (John 16:28).
10. The Son speaks of the Spirit as another person (John 14:16-17).
11. The Father sends the Spirit (Acts 2:33).
II. B. The Holy Spirit is a Person
12. The Spirit spoke in the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 1:16).
13. The Spirit speaks now and proclaims the things to come (John 13:16).
14. Paul points out the Spirit explicitly says that people will fall away.(1 Tim. 4:1).
15. The Spirit intercedes for us with the Father, and intercession is the act of a person. This also shows that the Spirit is not just another way to refer to the Father (Romans 8:26).
16. The Spirit can be lied to, and only a person can be lied to (Acts 5:3).
17. The Spirit has a will (1 Cor. 12:11).
18. The Holy Spirit is contrasted with evil spirits, which are also persons (1 Tim. 4:1, 1 John 4:2-3).
19. The Holy Spirit speaks what he hears, not of Himself, demonstrating humility, and also hearing, something a person does. (John 16:13-14).
20. The giving of the Spirit to us shows He is a person because it fits everyone else in the relationship. People are given to the Son by the Father (John 17:6), and Jesus was given by the Father for us (John 3:16, Rom. 8:32).
II. C. Plurality of Persons in the Old Testament
21. Yahweh appeared to Abraham and Hagar as “Yahweh” (Gen. 12:1), the word of Yahweh (Gen. 15:1), then the Angel of Yahweh (Gen. 16:7) in three successive appearances.
22. The moment of judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah is described as one Yahweh calling down fire and brimstone from possibly another Yahweh in heaven (Gen. 19:24)
23. The plurality of God in this event was repeated by Yahweh when He spoke to Isaiah and said “I will stir up the Medes”, and many other things, and Yahweh then said these things will be “like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” speaking of another (Isa. 13:17-19).
24. The plurality of God in this event was repeated by Yahweh when He spoke to Jeremiah when he recorded, “‘As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors,’ declares Yahweh” (Jer. 50:40)
25. The plurality of God in this event was repeated by Yahweh when He spoke to Amos a “declaration of Yahweh.” That declaration was, “I overthrew some of you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Amos 4:11)
26. “The Name of Yahweh”, among other uses, is established as a title for Yahweh Himself when it is said that “our help is in the name of Yahweh” (Psa. 124:8), that we “give thanks to the name of Yahweh” (Psa. 122:4), and that “the name of Yahweh comes from afar, burning with anger” (Isa. 30:27). Yet Yahweh says to Moses that He will “declare the Name of Yahweh” as if He may be speaking of someone else (Ex. 34:5-7)
27. The Angel of Yahweh speaks to Abraham and says, “I know you fear God (someone else), because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me (the Angel).” (Gen. 22:12). The same chapter is clear that it was God who tested Abraham (Gen. 22:1).
28. When the Angel of Yahweh appeared to Hagar, He said He will multiply her offspring, (Gen. 16:10), and she calls Him “God” (Gen 16:13). Nowhere does a created being open or close the womb, but Yahweh does (Gen. 29:31, Isa. 66:9).
29. No one can see God and live (Ex. 33:20), and people fear to see God for this reason, but people also fear seeing the Angel of Yahweh (Judg. 6:22, Judg. 13:21-22). In Scripture, no one fears they will die just from seeing any created beings.
30. The Angel of Yahweh appeared with Yahweh in the burning bush to Moses, and the text does not make clear who is speaking when “he” says he is “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…” (Ex. 3:2-6) we know Yahweh is God, but we have seen the Angel claim to be God before.
31. Jacob, when he blesses Joseph’s sons, calls on “the God who…the God who…the angel who…” then says “may he bless the boys”, using a singular verb (Gen. 48:15-16). This shows he did not see the angel as someone other than God.
32. Daniel sees God on His throne but another, “like a son of man” comes “riding on the clouds” and is given titles of the authority of God (Dan. 7:13-14). The “cloud rider”, and variations on the idea, is a title reserved solely for Yahweh and was an unmistakable title of deity. Here, it is said of the son of man when God is already in the scene.
III. A. The Father is God
33. Jesus identifies the Gather as the only true God (John 17:3)
34. Paul states that we have one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 8:6).
III. B. The Spirit is God
35. The Spirit is identified as the God to whom Ananias lied (Acts 5:3-4).
36. Since the Spirit is a person, the fact that He is eternal (Heb. 9:14) shows He is God.
III. C. the Son is God
III. C. 1. The Old Testament prophesies speak of Yahweh coming to His People Himself in various ways that are fulfilled in Jesus.
37. Numerous Scriptures say clearly that Yahweh Himself will come to His people (Isa. 26:21, 31:4, 59:19-20, 66:15, Mic. 1:3, Mal. 3:1). Some of these are fulfilled, as say the apostles, by Jesus, so He isn’t someone else.
38. Yahweh says every knee will bow to Himself and every tongue swear allegience to Him, not someone else (Isa. 45:23). Paul states this prophecy will be fulfilled by these exact things being directed to Jesus, because He isn’t someone else (Phil. 2:10-11).
39. Yahweh prophesies His own coming, not someone else, to Isaiah by saying, “A voice is calling in the wilderness, “Clear the way of Yahweh! Make a highway smooth in the desert for our God!” (Isa. 40:3). And He came, as this is noted fulfilled in Jesus’ coming by John the Baptist (Mark 1:2-3).
40. Yahweh promises twice through Isaiah that He would come with His reward with him and recompense before Him (Isa. 40:10, 62.11). And so He will at the final judgment as Jesus promises He will come, fulfilling the promise He made Himself (Rev.22:12). Also, this is a judgment promise and the Father said He judges no one (John 5:22).
41. Yahweh promises that every knee will bow and every tongue will swear allegience to Him (Isa. 45:23). And indeed they will, for that is what is happening when that happens to Jesus, as Paul states (Phil. 2:10-11).
42. The prophet Zechariah promises, “Yahweh my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.” (Zech. 14:5). Paul states this will be fulfilled, “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (1 Thess. 3:13)
III. C. 2. Concurrent with expectation of Yahweh coming due to foretelling prophecy, Jesus is also said by the apostles to be the one spoken of in other Yahweh passages.
43. The word of Yahweh came to Abraham in a vision, so was not just a voice in his ear (Gen. 15:1). Later the word of Yahweh clearly says, “I am Yahweh” (15:7), showing that “the word of Yahweh” is another name for Yahweh, much like “the Name of Yahweh” or “the Angel of Yahweh”. When the Word of Yahweh came to Samuel, it is once again prefaced with linking the Word to visions (1 Sam. 3:1). This one is able to “stand” before Samuel and call out to him (3:10). John begins his Gospel by speaking of this word who was a person and who was God. Saying He was with God as well (John 1:1). And says this is the one who became flesh in Jesus. (1:14).
44. Paul makes certain we know that to be saved comes by confessing “Jesus is Lord” (Rom. 10:9), and the very reason this saves is that “everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved” (Joel 2:32). There is no reason to quote this verse except that to confess Jesus is Lord is to confess He is the one in Joel, who is Yahweh.
45. The Shema “Hear, oh Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one” (Deut. 6:4) established that Israel was to have only one God, Yahweh. The importance of “one” to the Jews cannot be overstated. Jesus applies this verse to Himself when He says “my sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27), harkening to the beginning of the Shema, followed by saying, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), including Himswlf in the Shema itself.
46. Later, after the resurrection, Thomas applies the Shema to Jesus when He says “my Lord and my God” to Jesus (John 20:28).
47. And again, Paul shows He sees Jesus in the Shema. Notice how much is contained in his words when he says “for us (our) there is is one (one) God (God), the Father, and one (one) Lord (Yahweh), Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 8:6).
48. John, directly after quoting from Isaiah’s temple vision of God (Isa. 6), says that Isaiah “saw his glory and spoke of him” (John 12:41). The only glory Isaiah ever said he saw was when he saw Yahweh in the temple, and the Greek translation even makes reference to his glory filling the temple. John says that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory there.
49. The one Yahweh loves, He rebukes (Prov. 3:12). This is done by Jesus, of course, because that is who He is (Rev. 3:19).
50. Yahweh is our Shepherd and leads us beside the still waters (Psa. 23:1-2). And so that is what the Lamb, Jesus, will do (Rev. 7:17).
III. C. 3. Jesus is called “God”
51. The coming Messiah is prophecied to be the “mighty God” (Isa. 9:6).
52. Thomas calls Him “God” (John 20:28).
53. John calls Him the Word become flesh and states He is God (John 1:1, 14).
54. John calls Him the “unique God” who has made the Father known (John 1:18).
55. Paul calls Him “God over all” (Rom.9:5).
56. Peter calls Him “God and Savior” in the exact same way he calls Him “Lord and Savior” (2 Pet. 1:1, 11)
57. Paul calls Him God and Savior just as Peter does (Titus 2:13).
58. The writer of Hebrews quotes the Father as calling Jesus God (Heb. 1:8).
III. C. 4. Jesus is said to be the Creator in multiple ways.
59. All things came into being through Him (John 1:3).
60. The world came into being through Him (John 1:10).
61. Through Him are all things (1 Cor. 8:6).
62. All things in heaven and earth were created by Him, through Him, and for Him (Col. 1:16).
63. Through Him God made the world (Heb. 1:2).
64. Jesus laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the works of His hands (Heb. 1:10).
65. All things are for Jesus and through Jesus (Heb. 2:10).
66. Jesus is the originator of God’s creation (Rev. 3:14).
III. C. 5. Jesus is worshiped and honored just like the Father.
67. Prophetically, the Messiah is given larteuo, or religious service or worship (Dan. 7:14).
68. The magi worshiped Jesus (Matt. 2:2, 11).
69. A leper worshiped Jesus (Matt. 8:2).
70. The disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus after He walked on the water (Matt. 14:33).
71. The children shouted “Hosanna” at the triumphal entry and Jesus said it fulfilled Psalm 8:2, addressed to Yahweh ordaining praise “for yourself”. Jesus is accepting worship explicitly made to Yahweh (Matt. 21:15-16).
72. The women who saw Him after his resurrection worshiped Jesus (Matt. 28:9), as well as the men (28:17).
73. All of the angels worship Jesus (Heb. 1:6).
74. In the throne room in heaven, the One sitting on the throne and the Lamb are given the same worship by “all creation”, showing worship but also that the Lamb is uncreated, not being a part of “all creation” (Rev. 5:13-14).
75. Stephen prayed to Jesus, an act never sanctioned to anyone but Yahweh (Acts 7:59-60).
76. Paul identifies the saints as those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ on every place. These also are prayers, so the the saints are those who pray to Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2).
77. Jesus Himself, quoting from the Old Testament, said, “It is written, you shall worship God and serve Him only” (Matt. 4:10).
78. Jesus is given all judgment “so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:22-23).
III. C. 6. Jesus has divine titles God says no one else has.
79. God is Israel’s only God and Savior (Isa. 43:10-11, 45:21-22). Jesus is the Savior of the world (John 4:42, Acts 4:10-12).
80. God is the only Rock (Isa. 45:8), yet that rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4).
81. Yahweh is Israel’s husband (Isa. 54:5) and speaks of Israel going after anyone else as adultery (Jer. 3:8). Jesus is the Bridegroom of His people (Luke 5:34-35). Is this because God’s people have a new husband? The son of their first? No. It is the same Husband, Yahweh.
III. C. 7. Jesus has titles only Yahweh possesses in Scripture
82. No one but Yahweh is the first and last (Isa. 41:4). Jesus is the first and last (Rev. 1:17-18).
83. The one who rides the clouds, or variations thereof, is Yahweh alone (Deut. 33:26; Psa. 18:9-10; Psa. 68:4; Psa. 104:3; Isa. 19:1). After setting this precedent, the Hebrew Scriptures say this one time of the Messiah, the Son of man (Dan. 7:13-14). This title of deity is then appropriated by Jesus numerous times, and was seen as a claim of deity by the Jewish judges (Matt. 26:64-65).
III. C. 8. The “I am” statements in John
84. John loves sevens. He highlights seven miracles and names seven of the disciples in his Gospel. He also records seven times Jesus said “I am” with a predicate, such as, “I am the good shepherd”, etc. (6:35, 8:12, 10:7, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1). He also records seven more times when Jesus says “I am” without any predicate (4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 8:28; 8:58, 13:18-19, 18:5). The frequency and intentionality are unmistakable. Jesus is following a common way Yahweh speaks in Isaiah. The Greek translation of Isaiah has the exact same Greek as John, and some of the incidents are obvious parallels (43:2,5/Jn 6:20; 43:10-11/Jn 13:18-19, 8:28; 52:6/Jn 4:26). Jesus speaks as Yahweh repeatedly.
85. When Jesus says, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58), His words were unmistakable as a claim to be the one who said this so many times in the Scriptures. It leads back to Exodus 3, when God gave His name, but by going through the multiple citations in Isaiah.
III. C. 8. Jesus possesses attributes of Deity
86. Men change, which is unrighteous (Prov. 24:21). God, by contrast, does not change (Num. 23:19, Psa. 110:4, Mal. 3:6). Jesus is always the same (Heb. 1:12) yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
87. Jesus knows everything (John 21:17).
88. Yahweh searches the mind and heart (Jer.17:10), and is the only one who does so (1 Ki. 8:39). So Jesus does that, too, of course, since He is the same one (Rev. 2:23).
89. Jesus is incomprehensible, like God (Matt. 11:25-27).
III. C. 9. Jesus has God’s authority
90. Jesus speaks to the storm to calm it (Matt. 8:25-27). No prophet did this. Prophetic miracles did not cause people to ask about their nature, but people here ask, “What sort of man is this?”
91. After healing the man on the Sabbath, Jesus defends His right to disregard the Sabbath on the grounds that God upholds the universe on the Sabbath (John 5:15-18). He can work for the same reason the Father can work. He is God.
III. C. 10. Jesus does the works of God
92. Jesus forgives sin not committed against Him (Matt. 9:2), and this is seen as blasphemy. Nothing in the context mitigates this charge.
93. Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:19-22).
94. Jesus is judge of the whole world (John 5:22). The Father is not, as the verse says, so the only way for Yahweh’s promises to come true, that He will judge the world himself (1 Sam. 2:10, 1 Chr. 16:33), is if Jesus is Yahweh, the one who made the promises.
95. Jesus lead the Israelites put of Egypt (Jude 1:5). (Some manuscripts say “the Lord”, here, but the best textual scholarship considers “Jesus” to be original. Even if it is “the Lord”, this is the title given to Jesus far more often in the New Testament than to the Father. Only one’s theology would lead to interpreting this to refer to the Father.)
96. Jesus sends the Spirit (Matt. 3:11).
97. Jesus gives life to whomever He wishes, just as the Father does (John 5:21).
98. Jesus does whatever the Father does, and in the same way (John 5:19).
IV. Jesus has both human and divine nature.
99. Paul states that Jesus possesses the nature of deity, the “form of God” (Phil. 2:6) and the nature of man, “the form of a slave”, and “human likeness” (Phil. 2:7).
100. Jesus came “in the flesh” (2 John 1:7). He was born (Matt.1:18). He learned (Luke 2:40). He prayed to the Father (Matt. 26:36). He died (Matt. 27:50). These things that show He was truly and fully human are a necessary to Trinitarian theology. No gnostic idea of Christ as being divine but only seeming to be human is compatible with the Trinity.
Well, this is slightly embarrassing. I seem to have run out of space before running out of scriptural arguments. You see, I haven’t touched the triadic statements of Scripture, the most prominent of which is Matt 28:19, which states we are to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I also didn’t really get the chance to plumb the depths of John 1 or John 5 or Hebrews 1, though they were touched on. I also didn’t have the space to discuss the relationship of some of the Old Testament plurality text as related to the New Testament through the intertestamental literature. Oh, well.
I hope this has been helpful, and I hope that anywhere that anyone offers any number of reasons to reject the Trinity, this will be shared as well to show how rich the Scriptures are with its truth.