the·ol·o·gy noun : the study of God
We study God through His Word each Thursday on the blog. Our goal is to present the truth of God in a way you can digest and apply. This week we’ll tackle the Trinity found throughout the Bible (beginning in Genesis 1:26).
Confession: There is a lot about God that I don’t understand. Even though I write Bible studies . . . even though churches hire me to come and be a Bible teacher . . . even though I’ve been a Christian for more than half of my life . . . even though I deeply desire to know and understand God . . . even though I am committed to being a lifelong student of God’s Word . . . there is still a lot about God that I can’t wrap my brain around.
I may not be able to figure out God (keep reading to find out why that’s a good thing!), but over the years I’ve learned a secret—just because something is big doesn’t mean it’s scary; just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
This is certainly true of the study of God.
Instead of running from the things about God that seem too complex or above my head, I’ve learned to run toward them, like a soldier training for battle. Because I want you to run toward God and His Word with your questions, I want us to tackle the tough stuff together.
This week we’re ripping off that Band-Aid with a biggie—the Trinity.
Theologians with more degrees and bigger brains than me have written and talked and argued plenty about what the Trinity is and what it isn’t and why it matters. Can I be honest? Most of what they’ve said just makes my head hurt and confuses me further. I hope you don’t mind if I take a simpler approach. We’ll call it Trinity for Dummies (because that’s a lot shorter than Trinity for Average Girls Who Don’t Have A Million Degrees and Sometimes Can’t Figure Everything Out).
Ready girls? Here’s a crash course in the Trinity 101.
Here’s what you need to know about the Trinity.
- The word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible.
- It’s a shorthand word used to describe the big idea that there is one God in three persons. Those three persons are the Father, the Son (a.k.a. Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.What that doesn’t mean is:
– There are three gods.
The Bible is clear that there is one God in verses like Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
– There is one shape-shifter God who sometimes appears as a Father, sometimes as a Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit.
– Each member of the Trinity is one-third God. The truth is they are all fully God.
- The Father is God (1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Pet. 1:3).
- The Son is God (1 Tim. 6:15, John 8:58, Heb. 1:8).
- The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3–4, John 3:5–8).
Is your brain starting to hurt? Let’s shift gears and look at this through a filter we girls tend to gravitate toward—relationships. In the very first book of the Bible, we find the Trinity having a conversation.
Genesis 1:26 records, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Did you catch the mention of “our”? Who is God talking to here?
Well, God actually.
From the very first book of the Bible, at the creation of the world, we see the Trinity on display. God decided to make man in “our” image and after “our” likeness. From our earliest glimpse of God, we see Him in a relationship. We see the pattern repeated throughout the entire Bible. In Luke 1:35, the entire Trinity is involved in the conception of Jesus. In Matthew 3:16–17, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present for the baptism of Jesus. As part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, Jesus urges His disciples to baptize others in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God has always existed in Trinity. He has always been a relational God.
That doesn’t necessarily compute in our finite minds (ever heard the Trinity described as an egg or like water . . . yep, doesn’t exactly capture the BIGNESS of this truth), but that doesn’t mean we should brush it off.
Here are three reasons the Trinity matters.
1. God can meet your needs.
The Bible offers helpful, straightforward descriptions for each member of the Trinity for simple girls like me.
God the Father = father/daddy (Gal. 4:5–7).
God the Son (Jesus) = savior (Luke 2:11).
God the Holy Spirit = helper (John 14:16).
In the one true God we find a Father, a Savior, and a Helper. He is not one sided or only able to meet some of your needs. God created you. God died to save you from your sin, and God is able to help you as you seek to live your life for Him.
2. God is relational.
One of the ways that you reflect the image of God (Gen. 1:26) is by being relational. God created us to relate to each other just as God in the Trinity relates to Himself. Yep, that’s hard to grasp. But here are three digestible takeaways:
- God is not ignorant to the ins and outs of relationships. He is a relational God.
- There is order in the Trinitarian relationship. Unlike our own sometimes-flawed human relationships, when we look at the Trinity, we see an absence of chaos. (No fighting, no hurt feelings, no jealousy or comparison.) The Son submits to the Father (John 14:31). The Holy Spirit points to Jesus (John 15:26). As we seek to reflect God, we need to consider how the Trinity models relationships. The order God talks about in His Word (between parent and children, men and women, etc.) is good and on purpose. It reflects the Trinity to the world!
- You can know He gets it! When your relationships go haywire, you might be tempted to think God doesn’t have a clue, but He does. The Trinity proves that He isn’t oblivious to the complexities of relationships.
3. You are not God.
The fact that there are things about God that are way above our heads is a good thing. The reality that God cannot fit into the boxes I like to draw or the definitions I can conceive with my finite mind is a welcome wake-up call, because it points to the bigness of God, the complexity of God, the divinity of God.
God is God. I can’t figure Him all out. That doesn’t mean He isn’t real. It simply means that compared to me, He is magnificent. I am reassured that I have placed my trust in a God whose shoulders are too wide for me to measure.
How about you? Would you really want to worship a God you could fully understand? It’s worth thinking about—after all if God was small enough that we could master him, He wouldn’t be much of a God, don’t ya think?
Are there things about God that you struggle to understand? Leave me a comment telling me about it. We will run to God’s Word together for the answers.