Study 5 Objective: Who or is the Holy Sprit, and why is this relevant to the life of the believer?
Scripture alludes to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in phrases that have equal weight in sentence construction.
Matthew 28:19 reads, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The three phrases are distinct and have the same linguistic value.
Similarly, in 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul prays that “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. Peter explains that Christians are “elect according to the
foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:2).
Thus Matthew, Paul and Peter observe clearly the distinctions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Paul told the Corinthian converts that the true Godhead is not a collection of gods (like the Greek pantheon) who each give different gifts. God is one, and it is “the same Spirit…the same Lord…the same God
who works all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
Later, Paul expounded more about the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They are not two separate entities, he says, in fact “the Lord” (Jesus) “is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Jesus said that God the Father would send the Spirit of truth so that He, the Father, could dwell in the believer (John 14:16-17).
The Spirit points to Jesus and reminds believers of His words (14:26), and is sent by the Son from the Father to testify of the salvation that Jesus makes possible (15:26).
Just as the Father and the Son are one, so are the Son and the Spirit. And by sending the Spirit the Father dwells in us.
After the death of the NT apostles, discussions arose within the church as to how the Godhead could be understood.
The challenge was to preserve the oneness of God. Various explanations suggested concepts of bi-theism (two gods – Father and Son but the Spirit only a function of each or both) and tri-theism (three Gods – Father, Son and Spirit), but this went against the basic monotheism found in both the New and Old Testaments (Malachi 2:10, etc).
The Trinity, an expression not found in the Bible, is a model devised by early theologians for describing how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit relate within the oneness of the Godhead. It was the Christian
defence against tri-theistic and bi-theistic heresies, and combated pagan polytheism.
Metaphors cannot fully describe God as God is, but they can help us grasp an idea such as the Trinity. One metaphor is to suggest that
a human being is three things at once. Just as a human is soul (heart, seat of emotions), body, and spirit (mind), so God is the compassionate Father, the Son (the Godhead bodily – see Colossians 2:9), and the Holy
Spirit (who alone understands the things that pertain to God – see 1 Corinthians 2:11).
Biblical references already used in this study teach the truth that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are distinct Persons within the one Being of God.
The NIV translation of Isaiah 9:6 points to a Trinitarian thought. The child to be born will be called “Wonderful Counsellor” (the Holy Spirit), “Mighty God” (the Godhead), “Almighty Father” (God the Father), and the
“Prince of Peace” (God the Son).
What is the significance of understanding that God is One?
Can you think of a model that helps explain the Trinity??