117 Trinitarian Texts in the New Testament

The argument is generally the same no matter who you ask. From atheists to those of different religions to even different sects within the Christian , all observe that the term Trinity (nor any directly related word) is found in Scripture. Many scholars agree that a reasoned concept of the triune God was not explicit in the minds of the New Testament authors even though John appears conscious of what has been termed “the problem of the Trinity.”[1] The doctrine of the Trinity, like many other classical doctrines of Christendom, was organized and articulated after the writing of the NT. However, no other confession of faith is so foundational to historic Christian faith and to a mature biblical view. The knowledge of god as Holy Trinity is formed, structured, corrected, and (to some extent) limited by witness of the Scripture.[2]

The purpose of this post is to show that while the word or related words to Trinity do not appear in Scripture, this doctrine did not appear out of thin air but is found throughout Scripture. This post will focus on Trinitarian text (passages) that are prevalent throughout the New Testament and provide a basis/foundation for a doctrine of the Trinity. I am not arguing that the word Trinity appears in some obscure form or is found in a Greek word that we no longer know about, but the idea/concept is prevalent in Scripture. The Bible is the fundamental source and controlling framework for a Trinitarian theology.

There are at least 117 text that have been compiled by Dr. Horrel of DTS and other theologians[3] by various word searches and comparisons. The text might be included for a single reference that can be subjective, but the effort is to include texts within a unit of thought. There are several references that could be included in this list but they do not have a final verdict on them.[4] Conversely, there are several that could be questioned if the author really intended Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Certain longer passages as a single reference (or thought unit) whereas some exegetes may divide such texts into multiple Trinitarian references (e.g., Jn 16:7-15; Ac 1:1-8; Ro 8:9-17; 1Co 2:8-16). Other times it seems appropriate to divide the reference (Ac 20:21-24, 27-28). When phrases like “Son of God,” “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of the Lord,” and “Spirit of Jesus” occur (cf. Ac 8:35-39; 9:17-20; 16:6-7), the expression is taken to denote one person of the Godhead. Where the single phrase “the Spirit of your Father” (Mt 10:20) is found, this is deemed reflective of two rather than one person of the Godhead. The phrase “the seven spirits” (or “the sevenfold Spirit”) in the Book of Revelation is taken as a reference to the Holy Spirit.”[5] All citations are in the NIV

I will be breaking these down into more manageable sections over the next few days instead of posting all 117 here in one post. Here are the first 25.

  1. Mt 1:18-23 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
  2. Mt 3:16-17 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
  3. Mt 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
  4. Mt. 10:20-22 [Jesus] “For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”
  5. Mt 12:15-18 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: [YHWH] “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
  6. Mt 12:28, 31-32 [Jesus] “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” [See parallel “the finger of God” Lk 11:19-20]
  7. Mt 22:41-45 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?
  8. Mt 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  9. Mk 1:8-12 [John] “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert…
  10. Mk 12:35-37 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with delight.
  11. Lk 1:30-35 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
  12. Lk 1:41-45 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
  13. 13. Lk 1:67-69 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.
  14. Lk 2:25-30 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation,
  15. Lk 3:21-22 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
  16. Lk 4:1-14 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’“ The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’“ The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’“ Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’“ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
  17. Lk 4:16-19 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
  18. Lk 10:21-22 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. 22 ”All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
  19. Lk 11:13 [Jesus] “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [11:14, Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute.]
  20. Lk 12:8-12 [Jesus] “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,
  21. Jn 1:32-34 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one [God?] who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
  22. Jn 3:5-6 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
  23. Jn 3:34-36 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
  24. Jn 6:61-65 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
  25. Jn 14:16-17 [Jesus] “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

 

[1] The phrase was popularized by Arthur W. Wainwright, The Trinity in the New Testament (London: SPCK, 1962) 3-14, 235-67. Wainwright initiates his work, pp. 7-13, with the debate between Emil Brunner, who argued that the struggle regarding Trinitarian thought did not begin in the NT and Karl Barth who insisted that in some sense it did, i.e., that there is no sharp division between reflection (theology) and proclamation (kerygma).

[2] Dr. J. Scott Horrel, “Abundant Trinitarian passages of the New Testament, Theological Method, and Nicene Implications.” DTS, Fall, 2014.

[3] Listings of NT passages are discussed in Arthur W. Wainwright, The Trinity in the New Testament (London: SPCK, 1962) 237-47, Peter Toon, Our Triune God: A Biblical Portrayal of the Trinity (Wheaton IL: Victor Books, 1996) 133-229, Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship (Phillipsburg NJ: P & R, 204) 52-85, Brian Edgar, The Message of the Trinity: Life in God (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), Fisher Humphries’ “The Revelation of the Trinity,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 33:3 (Fall 2006) 285-304, and Allan Coppedge, The God Who Is Triune: Revisioning the Christian Doctrine of God (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007) 23-78.

[4] Additional references to the Trinity are possible in Lk 11:19-20; Jn 4:23-26; Ac 8:35-39; 9:17-20; 16:6-10; Eph 6:17-24; and Rev 19:10.

[5] Dr. J. Scott Horrel, “Abundant Trinitarian passages of the New Testament, Theological Method, and Nicene Implications.” DTS, Fall, 2014.

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3 thoughts on “117 Trinitarian Texts in the New Testament

  1. Pingback: Bible References to the Trinity Continued | Seeking Our God

  2. Pingback: Scriptural passages on the Trinity continued | Seeking Our God

  3. Pingback: More Scriptural passages regarding the Trinity | Seeking Our God

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