Archives For Trinity

An Introduction to 1 Timothy

December 28, 2019

Church life is messy. Anyone who has worked in a church or served as a volunteer knows things don’t run smoothly.

One of Paul’s closest friends was Timothy. Later in Paul’s life he writes a brief “manual” about how this young church leader, Timothy, should conduct himself and lead the church. Let’s dive into this vibrant letter written to Timothy, to your church, and to my church.

An Introduction to 1 TimothyChart of 1 Timothy

BIG IDEA

Paul tells Timothy how rich and poor, leaders and slaves, and widows and couples should conduct themselves in the church community. Continue Reading…

When I graduated high school and began college I was placed in some classes that were called “remedial” classes. They were classes designed for freshman college students that scored low on entrance exams. English was one area I was deemed to be low in according to college standards. I started reading and writing to improve my English skills. Part of that meant I needed to improve my vocabulary. I began reading books and kept a dictionary close at hand. If I came across a word I did not recognize I would look it up in the dictionary, write the word down in the margin of the page, and write the definition next to it so that I could reference the word later on in the book if I came across the word again. One of those words I remember looking up was the word “paradox.” A paradox as I now know is “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true” (Dictionary.com). When new Christians begin to study the Bible and learn about the Trinity sometimes they think that the doctrine is a paradox that does not make sense: three unique persons united in one essence.

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: “Holy Trinity” by Hendrick van Balen

Now that we have studied the attributes of God, how God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I now want us to look at how the three members of the Godhead exist in community and relationship with each other. I’d like us to look how the members of the Godhead relate to each other and how the three persons exist as one essence. The book, Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity, is not a book I would recommend reading but I did come across a helpful quote about how the relationships among the Trinity exist.

Fatherhood and Sonship are relational terms, and so are neither substantial nor accidental. The claim here runs as follows: Father and Son are two existences of the same simple essence, distinguished by the relationship of begetting, and by that relationship only; that relational distinction is their difference from each other—the Father is not the Son—but it does not compromise the simplicity of the divine essence. Similar arguments can be made about the Father and the Spirit and the Son and the Spirit ~ Stephen Holmes, “Classical Trinity” in Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity, 37.

First, let’s examine how the three persons exist as one essence.

TRINITARIANISM
Relationships within the Trinity

I. THREE IN ONE

Now let’s look at how these unique persons can exist as one essence. 1

A. God Is One

Moses was writing at a time when there were many many gods and often people worshiped all the gods they knew. With that background Moses declared that God (not “gods”) created the world (Gen 1:1), there was only one God (Exod 20:2-3), and that the LORD was one (Deut 6:4). Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. “God, the cause of all, is One. This One is light and life, spirit and word, mouth and speech, wisdom and knowledge, joy and love, the Kingdom of Heaven and Paradise, the heaven of heavens, just as He is called the sun of suns, God of gods, day without evening, and whatever other good things you might cite from the visible world. And, if you seek beyond all that exists, you will find this One Who is, and is alone properly and substantially called Good. That One is not such as are visible things. Rather, He transcends incomparably and inalterably all the visible world.” (St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, vol. 1, The Church and the Last Things, p. 122).

As an introduction study to the topic of Trinitarianism, in today’s post we are looking at the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God. These might be new terms for you, but they basically mean two things:

  • Communicable Attributes – These are the things that God shares with humans to some degree.
  • Incommunicable Attributes – These are the things that God does not share with finite humanity.

Sometimes, in our effort to understand God we “shrink” God. For example, we might see God as a policeman, ill-humored parent, grand old man, heavenly bosom, or distant unloving father. Based on our physical experiences here on earth we might use those “lenses” to try to understand our God. In this post I want to give a thorough and clear explanation of the being of God.

Photo Credit: “Holy Trinity” by Hendrick van Balen

TRINITARIANISM
The Being of God

I. COMMUNICABLE ATTRIBUTES

First, I would like to look at the attributes of God that we more easily can understand because we share  them to some degree. Let’s take a look at God’s communicable attributes.

A. God Is Truth

In Jesus’s prayer to God just before he was betrayed he asks God to help his disciples. He prays to God asking, Continue Reading…

This blog post is the first of my Summer Summary Series. In these blog posts I am providing an examination of the ten articles of the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (the organization which I hope to receive my ministry license through).

The EFCA statement of faith on God reads:

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

A Summary of the Doctrine of God

“The Adoration of the Holy Trinity” by Johann Heinrich Schonfeld (1609-1684)

I. GOD IS CREATOR

The Bible is absolutely and solemnly clear that God is the one who created the world and the universe (Gen 1:1; 14:19, 22; Exod 20:11; Neh 9:6; Pss 146:6; Acts 4:24; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11; 14:7). God created this world out of nothing—ex nihiloin seven literal days with the appearance of age. Before the world was created only God existed with himself (John 1:1-3; Rom 4:17). Therefore, the world and universe which we live in should not be worshipped; God should be the only object of our worship. God also created heaven and those who live there (Neh 9:6; Pss 103:21; 148:2-5; Acts 4:24; Col 1:16; Rev 10:6).

II. BROAD EXPLANATION OF GOD Continue Reading…