Trinity

The Trinity
in the New Testament

by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Trinity

Although the word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible, the theological concept of the One God consisting of Three Divine Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is founded upon various New Testament texts. Christians have traditionally also seen the Trinity foreshadowed or alluded to in certain Old Testament texts.

Terminology:

Biblical Background: Basis in New Testament Texts:

Allusions to the Trinity in Old Testament Texts:

Unity and Plurality

How can God be both one being and three persons? How can Christians both claim to be monotheists and also believe in God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Only if one understands that there are different types of "unity" or "oneness"! One must distinguish between "oneness as uniqueness, separateness, aloneness" in contrast to "oneness as unity within diversity."

Trinity-SCU Trinity in the Creeds of the Church:

Depictions of the Trinity in Art:

Throughout Christian history, the Trinity has been depicted in many different ways: as three identical human figures,
three different human figures, two different human figures and a dove, or even two identical human figures and a dove. Moreover, the Trinity has also been symbolized with various geometric, architectural, and natural forms.

 

Trinity Trinity
Eastern?
"Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father"
Western?
"Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son"
Trinity-SCU

 

Conceptions of the Trinity: East vs. West

Father
(Creator)

 Son
(Savior)

Spirit  
(Life-giver)

Father
(Creator)

Son 
(Savior)
Spirit
(Life-giver)

Orthodox Christian East:
The Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father”

Catholic Christian West:
The Holy Spirit “proceeds from
the Father and the Son (filioque)”

 
Pertinent Texts from the Gospel according to John:

 


Electronic New Testament Educational Resources

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This page was last updated on December 29, 2013
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