The word "trinity" is not found anywhere in the Bible. But is the concept of the trinity taught clearly in it?
The Encyclopedia of Religion Vol. 15 1987 admits:
"Theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity."
The New Catholic Encyclopedia tell us:
"The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the Old Testament."
The Encyclopedia of Religion says:
"Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity."
The Encyclopedia Britannica 1976 observes:
"Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament."
Protestant theologian Karl Barth (as quoted in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology 1976) similarly states:
"The New Testament does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. The Bible lacks the express declaration the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence."
It's very clear - there is no trinity revealed to us in God's word. Now some people have problems with John 14 which speaks about another comforter, but let's look at this and see just what it says...
John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever"
We have just looked at all the verses which show us that it is the Sprit of God that dwells in us through His Son. Now here Jesus is about to die and go back to His Father. He will not be there in the flesh to comfort His disciples, but through His Spirit He would be there, and we know it is God's Spirit flowing through Him, as all things flow from God, to his Son, to us, as we have read. Also remember that many times Jesus refers to Himself in the third person rather than saying I or Me etc. Here are a couple of examples. Here is Jesus talking to Nicodemus, notice what He says...
John 3:13-14 " 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"
Now why did Jesus not just say when I am lifted up? Here is Jesus speaking of Himself again...
Luke 18:8 "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Again why did Jesus not just say when I come? And here again...
John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
So it was not unusual for Jesus to speak this way about something concerning Himself. But let's read on.
John 14:17-18 "17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
This verse clears up any misconceptions about verse 16. Here Jesus clearly says that it is the Spirit of truth who the world cannot receive. Why? Because the world, the unbelievers, do not know Jesus, and unless He is invited into your heart He will not force Himself. Remember in Revelation He says:
Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
He's knocking, waiting to come in. But Jesus goes on to say, "but you know him" – here He is talking to His disciples, giving them comfort before His death and the sorrow they would feel. He tells them that they would receive the spirit of truth ... now who is this Spirit of Truth that they would receive? Let's just turn back to verse 6:
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
So here we let the Bible explain itself. And when we read this verse Jesus is saying that the Spirit of Truth, talking of Himself, dwells with them so they know Him and He will be in them, He will not leave them comfortless, He will come to them. So here we plainly see that when Jesus says "I will send you another comforter" He is talking of the Holy Spirit, which we saw comes from God through the Son to us, the Holy Spirit, that is the Spirit of God and His Son dwelling in us, and Jesus would send His Spirit when He ascended back to Heaven and was no longer with them in the flesh.
And chapter 20 confirms this:
John 20:22 "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:"
This is just like in the very beginning at creation, when Jesus breathed into Adam's nostrils and he became a living soul; we looked at this earlier.
Also interesting is what happened at Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost after the Messiah's resurrection there was an amazing fulfilment of the promise of the "Comforter", the power of God working among faithful men. We read in Acts 2...
Acts 2:2,4 "2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost ..."
Remember earlier in our study we saw that when we went back to the Hebrew and Greek translation we saw the Spirit – "ruach" in the Hebrew and "pneuma" in the Greek - actually mean wind, breath, air in motion. So now here again we see the Holy Spirit represented as wind.
The Holy Spirit is never depicted with human qualities, but only as wind, oil, fire, a dove. The Spirit is never seen with the Father and Son, not even in the throne room of Heaven.
There are at least 66 verses in the Bible that refer to the "Throne of God" - 23 in the Old Testament and 43 in the New Testament – 24 references to the "Throne" are found in the Book of Revelation alone! Only two persons are ever named in connection with God's Throne – the Father and the Son. Never have we come across a reference in the Bible where three persons are associated with the Throne of God, or where the Holy Spirit is specifically identified as a person in connection with it. If anyone can find a reference to a third person residing on God's throne then we would welcome the opportunity to see it!
So our comforter is God working through His Son, breathing into His disciples. The Holy Spirit, that emanates from God, to His Son, to us - how wonderful. So both the Father and Son through their Holy Spirit comfort us.
John 16:7-8 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:"
Christ took human nature. He became flesh just like us. While in this world, Christ lived a life of complete humanity in order that He might stand as a perfect representative of the human family. He was tempted just like we are, and in every way that we are:
Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Only someone that has gone through the same experience as us can truly understand and empathise with how we are feeling, how we are struggling with the temptations of this life.
When we see little children who are dying of starvation our heart aches for them, we are saddened by this, but we can't truly empathise with them if by God's grace we have never been deprived of food and water. Yet if we see someone grieving for the loss of a family member many of us can truly relate to and empathise with that person because many of us have also experienced this.
Do you see how we make Christ a liar? He says "I" will come to you, He says "I" stand at the door of your heart knocking, He says "I" will never leave you, He says "I" will be your comforter because "I" know what you are going through because "I" have also experienced it. And we say...that's what You say, but I think You send someone else.
But if that is so then Christ has lied and we do not really have a comforter because no one else but Christ has experienced all the sufferings in your life and mine. Not even God the Father knows what it is to be tempted to sin - He knows of sin, He knows the effects of sin, but only Christ has actually experienced these things.
You see while Jesus was on earth he was constrained by his humanity. He could only be in once place at a time. But when He ascended back to heaven, then He could take up His divinity again and send His Spirit, as He promised he would, to be with us always, even to the end of the world.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
How did the disciples understand "another Comforter"? Did they understand that Christ was talking about someone else? Let them answer:
John 14:22 "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?"
It's very plain. Judas clearly understood that it was Christ who would come to them, not someone else. Notice his question is not "Who?" but only "How?" Judas was not wondering who would come to them as another Comforter, but he did wonder how Christ was coming back to them. Notice he also says "you" and "yourself" regarding Christ, not someone else.
This is clear enough. It is not a strange thing for our Lord to come in another form. He demonstrated that on the way to Emmaus:
Mark 16:12 "After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country."
When Jesus appeared in "another form" it was still Him. When Jesus talks about "another Comforter" then why should it be strange that it also could be Him?
John 14:18 "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
Matthew 28:20 "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Praise the Lord! It is so clear and simple. Jesus is withdrawn from the eye of sense but His personal presence (His own Spirit) is with us still.