The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity

The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity cover art
Instructor: Multiple Instructors
Lessons: 3
Discipline: Theology
Course Group: Basic Christian Doctrine

There is only one God who exists eternally as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And each person of the Trinity is fully equal in power and glory. But how can this be? And why do we believe it? In these lessons we'll explore what the Bible teaches about this most essential doctrine of the Christian faith.

Course Goals:

  • Orient students to what Scripture teaches about the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • Investigate God's Trinitarian nature as three persons in one divine essence.
  • Explore the diverse personal attributes and responsibilities within the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

54 min.

Forum 1: Introduction to the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that introduces what the Bible teaches about our triune God and considers the following questions:
  • What do Christians mean when they say that God is three persons in one essence?
  • How can we begin to understand such a complex doctrine as the Trinity?
  • What do Christians mean when they say that God is one?
  • How do theologians explain the doctrine of God's simplicity?
  • What passages in the New Testament teach us about God's three-in-oneness?
  • With respect to the Trinity, what is a person?
  • Why do some people accuse Christians of worshiping three gods?
  • Why do we believe that God's divine threeness does not violate the doctrine of God's simplicity?
  • Has God eternally existed in Trinity?
  • Was Christ a created being or has he always existed?
  • How do the Trinitarian formulas in the New Testament help us see the equality of the Holy Spirit with the other members of the Godhead?
54 min.

Forum 1: Introduction to the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that introduces what the Bible teaches about our triune God and considers the following questions:
  • What do Christians mean when they say that God is three persons in one essence?
  • How can we begin to understand such a complex doctrine as the Trinity?
  • What do Christians mean when they say that God is one?
  • How do theologians explain the doctrine of God's simplicity?
  • What passages in the New Testament teach us about God's three-in-oneness?
  • With respect to the Trinity, what is a person?
  • Why do some people accuse Christians of worshiping three gods?
  • Why do we believe that God's divine threeness does not violate the doctrine of God's simplicity?
  • Has God eternally existed in Trinity?
  • Was Christ a created being or has he always existed?
  • How do the Trinitarian formulas in the New Testament help us see the equality of the Holy Spirit with the other members of the Godhead?
49 min.

Forum 2: The Unity of the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that focuses on how all three members of the Trinity are unified in one divine essence and considers the following questions:
  • Why does the Trinity seem to be more clearly expressed in the New Testament than in the Old Testament?
  • Why do the Scriptures call God our Father?
  • What encouragement can we draw from the fact that we are part of the family of God, with God himself as our Father?
  • How do the images of a lion and a lamb in Revelation 5 demonstrate that the Son is a divine person equal to the Father?
  • How does John 1:1 teach that Jesus is God?
  • Why was it necessary for the man Jesus also to be God?
  • How can we demonstrate the divinity of the Holy Spirit from Scripture?
  • How do the works of the Holy Spirit demonstrate his divinity?
  • How can we demonstrate the personality of the Holy Spirit from Scripture?
49 min.

Forum 2: The Unity of the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that focuses on how all three members of the Trinity are unified in one divine essence and considers the following questions:
  • Why does the Trinity seem to be more clearly expressed in the New Testament than in the Old Testament?
  • Why do the Scriptures call God our Father?
  • What encouragement can we draw from the fact that we are part of the family of God, with God himself as our Father?
  • How do the images of a lion and a lamb in Revelation 5 demonstrate that the Son is a divine person equal to the Father?
  • How does John 1:1 teach that Jesus is God?
  • Why was it necessary for the man Jesus also to be God?
  • How can we demonstrate the divinity of the Holy Spirit from Scripture?
  • How do the works of the Holy Spirit demonstrate his divinity?
  • How can we demonstrate the personality of the Holy Spirit from Scripture?
70 min.

Forum 3: The Diversity of the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that focuses on the personal attributes and responsibilities of the individual persons within the Trinity and considers the following questions:
  • If the Father has authority over the Son and Spirit, what happens if they disagree?
  • What does it mean when we say that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father?
  • What did John mean when he called Jesus the Son of God?
  • What encouragement can we draw from the fact that the Son of God himself is our brother?
  • What did the early church councils affirm about the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit?
  • What were the implications of the Council of Toledo for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit?
  • What practical applications can we draw from the fact that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person from the Father and the Son?
  • What is the ontological Trinity?
  • What is the economic Trinity?
  • Why is it important to distinguish between the ontological and economic Trinity?
  • Is there a gap between the economic Trinity as he reveals himself to us and the ontological Trinity?
70 min.

Forum 3: The Diversity of the Trinity

A supplement to the series We Believe in God that focuses on the personal attributes and responsibilities of the individual persons within the Trinity and considers the following questions:
  • If the Father has authority over the Son and Spirit, what happens if they disagree?
  • What does it mean when we say that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father?
  • What did John mean when he called Jesus the Son of God?
  • What encouragement can we draw from the fact that the Son of God himself is our brother?
  • What did the early church councils affirm about the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit?
  • What were the implications of the Council of Toledo for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit?
  • What practical applications can we draw from the fact that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person from the Father and the Son?
  • What is the ontological Trinity?
  • What is the economic Trinity?
  • Why is it important to distinguish between the ontological and economic Trinity?
  • Is there a gap between the economic Trinity as he reveals himself to us and the ontological Trinity?