The absence of the Trinity in the NT. Did the apostles really know?


#1

I am having still some difficulties understanding the church’s perspective on the trinity an how it got there. My main concern is with how this doctrine came about. There is little to look to for evidence in the bible and there appears to be much that contradicts this concept. I am not as interested in specific scriptural arguments, but more how the doctrine of the trinity (mainly the deity of Christ) is a required article of faith when it was not important enough to be included in the old or New Testaments. The doctrine was not introduced officially until 325 and I believe it was finished sometime around the fifth century.

I am currently going through RCIA classes and we have already covered the trinity, but the lesson was very watered down and didn’t answer any hard questions. As for scriptural evidence they only mentioned that there are “seeds” or “hints” in the bible and that the term, as well as the concept are not explicitly found in the bible.

They only gave two examples of a “hint.” The first was that God speaks in plural terms a few times in genesis. Most scholars I have read (including catholic, protestant, and others) have rejected this as being even a remotely possibly piece of evidence.

The other example of a hint that was given is in the New Testament Jesus is often called lord (kyrios in Greek). The RCIA director claimed that calling Jesus lord is equivalent to calling someone the one true God. Unfortunately this is clearly not the case as anyone who was a lord or master over anyone else could be called “kyrios.”

I have been studying this topic thoroughly for over two years. One of the scholars I have read is Fr. Raymond Brown. From what I’ve read, he seems to think that the apostles themselves were probably unaware of the divinity of Jesus. I believe he specifically mentioned Paul as being unaware of any doctrine that Chist was somehow God and that the gospel of John or the Johanine community was the first to begin to cultivate the idea of Jesus being God in some sense.

I know that not every little thing about Jesus could be squeezed into the New Testament, but why would something as important and radical as the trinity not come up? Is it possible the apostles were really unaware of Christ’s divinity or did they think the public was not ready for such a radical concept?


#2

The Apostles, I believe, understood that the Father is God, Jesus is God,
the Holy Spirit is God, yet distinct persons, yet there’s only One God, so
they may not have had a good word to describe this mystery, but there is
no doubt that the Apostles grasped at the concept.


#3

I would refer you to the beginning, there is creation without the Presence of God therein, then the Presence of God that Jesus says is Spirit by saying God is a Spirit and in the second verse in Gen the Spirit of God is present in His creation over the face of the waters by His choosing of the waters. Then right after that God speaks (hence the Word of God of God in God’s Presence) and there is light. Note the Word of God of God the first of God, also note the seventh day God rested therefore all things rest in and on His Word. And at least in the KJV then it’s the LORD God in the second chapter. Because God’s Word is Lord of all that is made and if you read the first Chapter of John he tells you:

1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2: The same was in the beginning with God.
3: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Hence the Word of God the First of God the only begotten of God, from the Presence of God, hence Son of God just like God the Father that the Word of God is from. From God in Heaven into the world via the Son of man like unto other sons of man.

Hence God, God’s Presence (Holy Spirit) and His Word, that which is of God who came into the flesh to dwell with men, our LORD Jesus the Christ. Consider things like the Israelies where in the Presence of the Lord their God.

“Lord God” is said at least 52 time in the torah and “Lord your God” at least 80 times

In creation the Hebrew term for God is Elohim which means (Creator and Judge) and LORD is YHWH in Hebrew, which in most English translations is Lord some “Yahweh” and “Jehovah”. So you have Yahweh Elohim and the Presence thereof. One most consider how this work if you remember, Moses after God showed him His Glory Moses from then on had light shining from his face that the Israelites needed him to ware a veil over it remained this way from then on out. The Kingdom of God as Jesus says in within us. Therefore the Presence of God is within. And He makes His Presence known to whom He is with and to those around whom He is with. also understand that nothing knows the Creator, or the Will of the Creator, unless its through His Word.


#4

This might not even be close to what you are asking about but Jesus’s baptism comes to mind and he who is referred to as doubting Thomas said, “My Lord and My God” when Jesus answered Thomas’s doubts also comes to mind.

There are many places when Jesus speaks of Himself as God and many places where He speaks of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except thru Me and no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and to whomever the Son wishes to reveal Him”, this is why I believe that it was thru Jesus that I met God the Father.

Jesus also said, “I and the Father are One”, in meeting God the Father the way that I did, I can say that I have been One with the Father but I can NOT say that I and the Father are One, since I am not God and when Jesus said what He did (“I and the Father are One”), He was flat-out, point-blank telling us that He Is God.


#5

There are a few vague references to the Trinity in the NT. Obviously, it is not named as such, but the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are definitely treated as a triad in the NT. St. Paul mentions the Three in at least one of his closings to his letters. The most obvious treatment of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being treated as a triad on equal terms with each other, though, comes in The Great Commision in Matthew (the very end of the gospel), where Jesus says, "Go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." This clearly indicates that, even in the very beginnings of the Church, Christians considered the Three members of the Trinity to all be God - though they may not have called it the Trinity at that time.


#6

#7

I think that the Church probably understood from the Old Testament that God spoke of himself in the plural.

Examples would be in Genesis when God said, Let us make man in our image’. And that God’s Spirit hovered over the waters’. El is the Hebrew for God and Elohim is the plural. The word ‘Elohim’ is used very frequently in the Old Testament. But, as you said, you were already aware of the examples in Genesis.

In the Psalms, David said to God, ‘Take not thy Holy Spirit from me’.

In the New Testament at Jesus’ baptism, we see Jesus on earth, the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and God’s voice speaking from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son’. So this shows God in 3 persons.

You might be right that the Apostles didn’t really understand this at first. Jesus was ALWAYS explaining things to them.

I think that the most powerful testimony in the New Testament that Jesus is God, comes from the episode in Gethsemane. ‘Whom are you looking for? They answered, Jesus the Nazorean. He said to them I AM. When he said to them I AM, they turned away and fell to the ground’. In this passage Jesus basically told them, ‘I am I AM’. The name that God used of himself was so powerful, that they knew God himself was speaking to them. It was so powerful, that they fell down.

The church, in its great wisdom and understanding believes that Jesus is God. Sometimes things only become ‘important’ when a dispute is raised. The fact that Jesus was God was always understood, but perhaps had to be defended when a dispute arose.

This is my idea. I am certainly not a church historian.


#8

As far as “Did the apostles really know?”, I don’t think that the Apostles knew much of anything before the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them.

Remember, it was Jesus, Himself, Who told the Apostles to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

By the way, knowing that something is, is not the same thing as understanding something, some things are beyond our understanding and it is only God Who can give us this knowledge in whatever way that God wishes to give us this knowledge.


#9

"Come ye near unto me, and hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time before it was done, I was there, and now the Lord God hath sent me, and his spirit. " Isa. 48:16
In the Old Testament, the nature of God is expressed as three persons in one God.


#10

That is a powerful image. Were they bowing at Jesus, the one whom they came to arrest? Or were they bowing at the name of God? I can’t see it common for the soldiers to bow to the one they are arresting. And, if they really thought Jesus was God they wouldn’t have arrested him at all. If Jesus was just stating that he was the one they are looking for then why did they bow at him when he said those words? But, if he was invoking the name of God as himself, then they were bowing at the name.

This is kind of an interesting translation-

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“They were saying to him, “Yeshua the Nazarene.” Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD.” But Yehuda the traitor was also standing with them.”

  • Jn 18:5

#11

I advise you read the CE’s article.

newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm


#12

Hi JK,

The greatest Revelation is that Jesus is the one and only true Son of God. Jesus was killed for this truth, the Jews understood he made himself equal with God my calling God his very own Father. this is why after Thomas proclaimed to Jesus, my Lord and my God, scripture then go on to say these things are written so you will believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made. Even the dodgy watchtower bible translation (new world translations) admits this and calls Jesus God in John 1:18, when it says “no one has seen God” but the only begotten God. i have studied the Trinity in great depth and just built a web site 4unity.net where I use explicit scriptures throughout the entire bible to reveal the truth that Jesus is indeed God the Son. I have the early Church writings before 300ad aswell.
Jesus said unless you believe I am he you will die in your sins and he also said for the sake of the Jews salvation in John chapter 5 that no one has seen the Father at any time, here he is making reference to numbers 12:8 and many other verses… this was because it was Jesus who appeared in the Old Testament as God Almighty.
Please read

Part 1
4unity.net/the-one-and-only-son/

Part 2
4unity.net/your-savior/

Part 3
4unity.net/trinity/

and

4unity.net/worshiping-jesus/

Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Life in the Son and his name. Blessings
Daniel
4unity.net


#13

JK8619 get a “New Catholic Answers Bible” It answers your question completely.


#14

Hi JK,

Paul believed in the divinity of Christ :

Romans 9

1 This is the truth and I am speaking in Christ, without pretence, as my conscience testifies for me in the Holy Spirit;

2 there is great sorrow and unremitting agony in my heart:

3 I could pray that I myself might be accursed and cut off from Christ, if this could benefit the brothers who are my own flesh and blood.

4 They are Israelites; it was they who were adopted as children, the glory was theirs and the covenants; to them were given the Law and the worship of God and the promises.

5 To them belong the fathers and out of them, so far as physical descent is concerned, came Christ who is above all, God, blessed for ever. Amen (Ho ôn epi pantôn **theos **eulogêtos eis tous aiônas, amên)


#15

[quote=JK8619]I am having still some difficulties understanding the church’s perspective on the trinity an how it got there. My main concern is with how this doctrine came about. There is little to look to for evidence in the bible and there appears to be much that contradicts this concept. I am not as interested in specific scriptural arguments, but more how the doctrine of the trinity (mainly the deity of Christ) is a required article of faith when it was not important enough to be included in the old or New Testaments.
[/quote]

It’s very perceptive of you to realize that the Trinity is not so explicit in Sacred Scriptures as Christians often presume. This is often used as a talking point of why it is so important to have a Church together with the Sacred Scriptures so that the one can reveal the other.

But regarding your question; The authors of the NT were not writing an EXPOSE or catechism type of document. They weren’t concerned with including every single Church doctrine, since the NT didn’t even exist yet. It was compiled over almost a century from the writings preserved by the various CHURCHES.

Secondly, some doctrines were SO integral to Christianity, that it was basically “common knowledge” among Christians you might say.

Thirdly, because the early Church was severely persecuted and misunderstood, the Sacred Mysteries were kept very secret from the outside world, and not necessarily set down in writing.

If today’s Christians better appreciated the significance (and the limitations) of the Bible, they would know that separating the Bible from the Church is both unnatural and evil.


#16

The Trinity is in the Bible.

chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:2)

It is right there.

-Tim-


#17

St. John gives a reference to the Trinity in the opening lines of the Book of Revelation.

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
(Revelation 1:4-5)

This is an almost veiled or coded reference to the Trinity, consistent with the symbolic nature of the images and references in the rest of the Book of Revelation.

John is wishing grace and peace from three:
[LIST=1]
*]him who is and who was and who is to come
*]seven spirits
*]Jesus Christ.
[/LIST]

That’s the Trinity right there.

-Tim-


#18

=JK8619;11467098]I am having still some difficulties understanding the church’s perspective on the trinity an how it got there. My main concern is with how this doctrine came about. There is little to look to for evidence in the bible and there appears to be much that contradicts this concept. I am not as interested in specific scriptural arguments, but more how the doctrine of the trinity (mainly the deity of Christ) is a required article of faith when it was not important enough to be included in the old or New Testaments. The doctrine was not introduced officially until 325 and I believe it was finished sometime around the fifth century.

I am currently going through RCIA classes and we have already covered the trinity, but the lesson was very watered down and didn’t answer any hard questions. As for scriptural evidence they only mentioned that there are “seeds” or “hints” in the bible and that the term, as well as the concept are not explicitly found in the bible.

They only gave two examples of a “hint.” The first was that God speaks in plural terms a few times in genesis. Most scholars I have read (including catholic, protestant, and others) have rejected this as being even a remotely possibly piece of evidence.

The other example of a hint that was given is in the New Testament Jesus is often called lord (kyrios in Greek). The RCIA director claimed that calling Jesus lord is equivalent to calling someone the one true God. Unfortunately this is clearly not the case as anyone who was a lord or master over anyone else could be called “kyrios.”

I have been studying this topic thoroughly for over two years. One of the scholars I have read is Fr. Raymond Brown. From what I’ve read, he seems to think that the apostles themselves were probably unaware of the divinity of Jesus. I believe he specifically mentioned Paul as being unaware of any doctrine that Chist was somehow God and that the gospel of John or the Johanine community was the first to begin to cultivate the idea of Jesus being God in some sense.

I know that not every little thing about Jesus could be squeezed into the New Testament, but why would something as important and radical as the trinity not come up? Is it possible the apostles were really unaware of Christ’s divinity or did they think the public was not ready for such a radical concept?

Welcome Home friend:)

Here’s what your looking for:
Mt. 3: 13-17 "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
And when Jesus [SON OF GOD] was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God [HOLY SPIRIT]descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.[GOD THE FATHER]

FYI: “JESUS” APPEARS 932 times in the NT
The HS appears 386 times
& God the Father appears over 300 times

THAT dear friend is where the evidence comes from:thumbsup:

God Bless you and THANKS for asking
Patrick


#19

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