The Triune God

In the beginning, God created…

These magnificent words begin the entire Bible (Gen. 1:1). To know what the Bible is about, we should know the first thing the Bible speaks about: God.

The world is full of different opinions about who God is, and about what He wants. Romans 1 tells us that mankind, warped by sin, has ignored the clear message of creation. God’s “eternal power and divine characteristics” can be seen in the majesty and scope of what God has made, but man has turned to idols of all sorts. Driven by a need for meaning, man stumbles about in darkness.

In this situation, we need God’s speaking! In God’s Word, we have His revelation of Himself. Let’s briefly look at what the Bible has to say about God.

God is Triune

From the beginning, God is very clear that He and He alone is God. As Moses reminded the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 4:35:

You were shown these things that you might know that it is Jehovah who is God; there is no other besides Him.

The New Testament also clearly testifies that God is one (1 Cor. 8:4; 1 Tim. 2:5). However, even from the first verse of the Bible, there is an implication that God’s being is more profound than we might assume. The Hebrew word translated God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohimwhich is plural. The very next word, translated created, is singular.

As God’s Word continues, His revelation of Himself becomes more clear. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus charges His followers:

Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

There are three mentioned here (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but in the original language the word name is singular. The three have one name! As Christians tried to understand this mystery, the word triune was introduced. Triune simply means three-one. The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct, but they are not separate. There’s much more to this than we have space for here, but it’s clear that God’s being is mysterious and deep.

Why?

After hearing what the Bible has to say about God, you may have the question: why? Why does God seem so complicated, and why is it important? The answer is related to God’s dispensing.

Man, lost in sin and blinded to the reality of God, is essentially cut off from God. 1 Timothy 6:16a says of God:

Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen nor can see…

But in Christ, the unseen Father God is seen, touched, and heard. Listen to what Jesus says in John 14:9a:

Jesus said to him, Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.

This is amazing, but it is not all. In describing the Comforter who will be sent by the Father, Jesus says in John 14:27:

Even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you.

It’s this last phrase: in you, that shows us God’s dispensing reaching us today. Because of the triune God’s dispensing, we don’t only know God as the Father, or as the Son expressing all that God is, but through the Spirit who indwells every believer (Rom. 8:11). As a Recovery Version footnote on John 14:7 reads:

…In the dispensing of Himself into us, God is triune. He is one, yet He is three — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The Son is the embodiment and expression of the Father (vv. 7-11), and the Spirit is the reality and realization of the Son (vv. 17-20)…. God the Father is hidden, God the Son is manifested among men, and God the Spirit enters into man to be his life, his life supply, and his everything. Hence, this Triune God — the Father in the Son and the Son as the Spirit — dispenses Himself into us to be our portion that we may enjoy Him as our everything in His divine trinity.

Further Reading: Gen. 1:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 20-21

Verses and footnotes from The New Testament Recovery Version