Finding the Trinity in the Bible
Edmund Fortman in his Book, Triune God, writes:
There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence
of a divine paternity and filiation within the Godhead.
They write of the word of God and regard it as revelatory and creative, as
instructive and illuminative. If at times they seem to show a slight tendency
to hypostatize the word of God, nowhere do they present the word of God
as a personal divine being distinct from Yahweh……
…. The spirit of Yahweh is a creative force, a saving power, a spirit of
judgment, a charismatic spirit, a spirit of life and of inward renewal, a
prophetic spirit. Although this spirit is often described in personal terms, it
seems quite clear that the sacred writers never conceived or presented this
spirit as a distinct person.
quot;Of a doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense there is of course no sign, -
although the Church's triadic formula left its mark everywhere.quot; (Early Christian
Doctrines, J.N.D. Kelly, p. 95)
The doctrine of the Trinity did not form part of the apostles' preaching, as this is
reported in the New Testament.quot; (Encyclopedia International, Ian Henderson,
University of Glasgow, 1969, page 226)
quot;The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, and, though used by Tertullian in the
last decade of the 2nd century, it did not find a place formally in the theology of
the Church till the 4th century. (New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas & F. F. Bruce,
Trinity, p 1298)
(T)heologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a
doctrine of the Trinity ... theologians agree that the New Testament also does
not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity. In the immediate post New
Testament period of the Apostolic Fathers no attempt was made to work out the
God-Christ (Father-Son) relationship in ontological terms.(The Encyclopedia of
Religion, Mircea Eliade, Trinity, Vol 15, p53-57)
From what has been seen thus far, the impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma
is in the last analysis a late 4th-century invention. In a sense, this is true; but it implies an
extremely strict interpretation of the key words Trinitarian and dogma.
The formulation quot;one God in three Personsquot; was not solidly established, certainly not
fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th
But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma.
Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a
mentality or perspective; among the 2d-century Apologists, little more than a focusing of
the problem as that of plurality within the unique Godhead. ... From the vocabulary and
grammar of the Greek original, the intention of the hagiographer to communicate
singleness of essence in three distinct Persons was easily derived. ... If it is clear on one
side that the dogma of the Trinity in the stricter sense of the word was a late arrival,
product of 3 centuries' reflection and debate, it is just as clear on the opposite side that
confession of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-and hence an elemental Trinitarianism-went
back to the period of Christian origins. (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1965, Trinity, p299-
Clark Carlton, an Orthodox church defender, admits that as
late as 325 AD, that the church placed scripture at the
forefront of any theological issue. We maintain that the
introduction of non-Biblical words [Homoousios] in the Arian
controversies is the very area they went wrong. They went
beyond what was recorded in scripture: quot;According to
Pelikan, the Fathers of Nicea would have preferred to stay
exclusively with the words of Scripture, but the very use of
Scripture in the Arian controversy forced them to introduce a
non-biblical word [Homoousios means of the same essence
or substance.] in order to preserve the correct interpretation
of Scripture.quot; (THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know
About the Orthodox Church, Clark Carlton, 1997, p 106)
initium evangelii Iesu Christi Filii Dei
The Pauline Doctrine on Doctrine
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure
transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes;
that ye might learn in us not to think of men above
that which is written, that no one of you be puffed
up for one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV)
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast
heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ
Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13 KJV)
Dating the New Testament Books
James 44-49A.D. James Hebrews 67-69 A.D. Anon
Galatians 49-50 A.D. Paul Jude 68-70 A.D. Jude
Matthew 50-60 A.D. Matthew John 80-90 A.D. John
Mark 50-60A.D. Mark 1 John 90-95 A.D. John
1 Thessalonians 51 A.D. Paul 2 John 90-95 A.D. John
2 Thessalonians 51-52 A.D. Paul 3 John 90-95 A.D. John
1 Corinthians 55 A.D. Paul Revelation 94-96 A.D. John
2 Corinthians 55-56 A.D. Paul
Romans 56 A.D. Paul
Luke 60-62 A.D. Luke
Ephesians 60-61 A.D. Paul
Philippians 60-62A.D. Paul
Colossians 60-62 A.D. Paul
Philemon 60-62 A.D. Paul
Acts 62 A.D. Luke
1 Timothy 62-64 A.D. Paul
Titus 62-64 A.D. Paul
1 Peter 64-65 A.D. Peter
2 Timothy 66-67 A.D. Paul
2 Peter 67-68 A.D. Peter
• The Muratorian Fragment (c. 170).
• Melito (c. 170). (Excluded all OT books not in Hebrew)
• Origen (c. 240).
• Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 324).
• Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350).
• Hilary of Poitiers (c. 360).
• The Cheltenham List (c. 360).
• Council of Laodicea (c. 363).
• Letter of Athanasius (367).
• Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 380).
• Amphilocius of Iconium (c. 380).
• The quot;Apostolic Canonsquot; (c. 380).
Heresies of the First Century
•Ebionites – Denied the deity of Christ,
but accepted Him as the Messiah;
followed the Torah
•Mandaeans – Denied the deity of Christ,
worshiped John the Baptist
Logos (λόγος) Logos is usually translated as quot;the Wordquot; in English Bibles. The Gospel
of John identifies Jesus Christ as the incarnation of the Logos, through which all
things are made. The gospel further identifies the Logos as divine. Second-century
Apologists, such as Justin Martyr, identified Jesus Christ as the Logos or Word of God,
a distinct intermediary between God and the world. (John 1.1)
Hypostasis ((ὑπόστᾰσις) In Christian usage, the Greek word hypostasis has a
complicated and sometimes confusing history, but its literal meaning is quot;that which
stands beneathquot;. (Hebrews 1.3)
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh, refers to the conception and birth of a
creature (generally a human) who is the material manifestation of an entity or force
whose original nature is immaterial. (From the Latin, 1st John 4.2)
Apostolic was invented by Ignatius of Antioch in 110. It originally mean to have the
character or style of the Apostles
Catholic was applied to the Church by the Bishop of Antioch in 110 to mean
universal, as opposed to local congregation. It could also apply to the Jew-Gentile
debate as well.
Apostolic Succession is a term used to denote that congregations were founded
by the Apostles themselves. Later, it would be used to claim doctrinal authority.
Ousia (Οὐσία) This Ancient Greek noun formed on the feminine present
participle of εἶναι (to be); it is analogous to the English participle being, and the
Greek ontic. Ousia is often translated (sometimes incorrectly) to Latin as
substantia and essentia, and to English as substance and essence; and (loosely)
also as (contextually) the Latin word accident — which conflicts with the
denotation of sumbebekos, given that Aristotle uses sumbebekos in showing that
inhuman things (objects) also are substantive. (Luke 15.12 – property, estate)
Homoousian (ὁμός, homós, quot;samequot; and οὐσία, ousía, quot;essence, being“)
is a technical theological term used in discussion of the Christian understanding
of God as Trinity. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being homooúsios with
God the Father— that is, they are of the quot;same substancequot; and are equally God.
End of the 1 Century
•Death of the Apostles
•Apostolic Succession on the verge of ending
•Core Canon in use
•Rome and Antioch are centers of power
•Heresies are generally divided into two groups:
•Denied the Deity of Christ
•Denied the Flesh of Jesus
•Gnosticism on the rise