The following is an excerpt from “The Truth,” Book 4 of Disciples Path, a series of resources published by Lifeway. You can check out other resources in this curriculum series at lifeway.com/disciplespath.
A. W. Tozer once wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That is certainly true. God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things; therefore, we cannot be anything or accomplish anything that transcends our connection with Him.
Still, it’s important to remember that thinking about God is only the beginning. Believing information about God with our heads is only one part of forming a relationship with Him. We must also develop that relationship through our hearts—through our emotions and affections.
In this way, our relationship with God should resemble the sun, which produces both light and heat. Take a moment to think about our solar system. If the sun produced nothing but light, our planet would be an illuminated wasteland of solid ice. If the sun produced nothing but heat, the lovely diversity of our world would be shrouded in darkness. Only the combination of light and heat produces life.
Those who embrace an intellectual understanding of God may have the light of proper doctrine. However, beliefs won’t do us any good if they fail to push us toward an actual love and appreciation of our Creator. Similarly, today’s culture is filled with people who demonstrate a genuine passion for spiritual principles and ideas, yet direct that passion toward false idols or false ideas about God. Both approaches are ultimately unfulfilling.
As we’ll see, God has revealed Himself as the Triune Creator—three separate persons who make up one Being—who is on a mission to redeem the world. That’s a critical doctrine that all disciples of Jesus need to understand. Yet even as you engage the light of these Scriptures, don’t forget to allow the warmth of God’s love to penetrate your own heart. Both are necessary.
One of the interesting aspects of studying the Trinity in Scripture is that you’ll never find the word “Trinity” in Scripture—not even in the original Hebrew or Greek languages. Indeed, “Trinity” is a term that Bible scholars created in order to discuss God’s existence as three distinct persons united in a single Being.
However, that doesn’t mean the concept of the Trinity is foreign or the Scriptures are outside the boundaries of biblical doctrine. In fact, the presence of the Trinity can be felt throughout the entire course of God’s Word—starting with the beginning:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Gen. 1:1-3)
The very first verses of the Bible make direct references to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. But Jesus is there, too, if you know where to look. Remember what John wrote in the first verses of his Gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.” (John 1:1-3)
Perhaps the clearest representation of the Trinity occurred during Jesus’ baptism at the very beginning of His public ministry:
After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” (Matt. 3:16-17)
Again, it’s difficult for us to fully process what is happening in these verses. On the one hand, we can see three distinct persons acting in different ways—Jesus was baptized as a human being, the Holy Spirit descended from above in the form of a dove, and God the Father spoke an audible pronouncement of His pleasure with Jesus. At the same time, we know that all three of those persons exist as one Being. All three are God at the same time.
That’s the mystery of the Trinity.
Adapted from “The Call,” Book 3 of the Disciples Path series of resources. © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.