Daily Bible Nugget #401, 2 Corinthians 13:14

The Nugget:

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

My Comment:

Perhaps no single verse in the Bible can be said to “prove” the doctrine of the Trinity. But if one has their wits about them, it ought to be passing strange that such associations of the three Persons, God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit are associated together throughout the Bible (see Matthew 28:19;  2 Corinthians 13:14;  Isaiah 42:1) just as though they indeed belong together, and are mentioned on a footing of equality. Because of this feature in the Bible, those who have studied this issue carefully, by the Rule of Necessary Inference, believe in the Bible doctrine of the Trinity.

Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. They all argue strongly against it in their support of Monotheism. But to deny the Trinity, they must ignore or suppress the evidence in the Bible that contradicts their position, and often turn some Scriptures upside down or on their head with strange, out-of-context interpretations that are unsupported by a clear reading, a plain reading, of the text itself in context.

There is an article linked on the “Islam and Christianity Debate Group” discussion thread titled “Ten Ways the Bible Disproves the Trinity” LINK  which I intend to answer here, rather than on Facebook, because it always takes more words to answer a mistaken opinion or argument than it does to present it.


The Claim:

Now, if the Trinity represents the truth about the nature of God Almighty, and was preached by Jesus (peace be upon him), then one would expect this to be reflected clearly throughout the Bible. Moreover, one would not expect to find anything which negates the doctrine. What follows are ten reasons, taken from the Bible, that disprove the doctrine of the Trinity.

1. God does not change.

The Bible describes God as unchanging in nature:

I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. [Malachi 3:6]

They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. [Psalm 102:26-27]

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows. [James 1:17]

Trinitarians believe that God temporarily took on flesh when the second person of the Trinity, the Son, entered into humanity as Jesus. At this point God was subject to the limitations of human beings, such as needing to eat, drink and sleep, because of the human nature of Jesus. Once Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended back to God, he took on a new glorified, spiritual body and is free of all the limitations he had when he was here on earth.

Because Trinitarians believe that Jesus did not cease being God whilst he was here on earth, there is conflict with the statements of the Bible that affirm God’s unchanging nature. You can’t have an unchanging God on the one hand, and a ‘person’ of Him that is changing. If Jesus took on a human nature, whilst at the same time still being God, then the implication is that in becoming man, the nature of God changed. When Jesus then ascended and took on a glorified, spiritual body, whilst still being God, then the nature of God changed once again.

The use of Malachi 3:6 to support this argument is invalid. In context, God is declaring that He does not change, and because this is so, the Israelites and their nation continue to exist, for God does not go back upon His covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the point Malachi makes in Malachi 3:6.

The idea in context at Malachi 3:6 has nothing to do with the wrong supposition that the pre-existent second member of the Trinity, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, must experience “change” to become Incarnate as a human being and be born of the virgin Mary; this has nothing to do with God experiencing change in His eternal, unchanging nature.

The Bible is clear, even if we were to read the Old Testament alone, that the second member of the Trinity appeared on earth repeatedly in human form as the very visible, tangible, audible, Angel of Jehovah. Anyone who has a Bible and access to an extensive collection of cross references may prove this by starting at such passages in the Bible as Genesis 17:1 or Genesis 22:15 or Exodus 3:2. Make a study of the Theophanies and/or Christophanies found in the Bible (for Theophanies, see cross-references given for Genesis 12:7; for Christophanies, see cross-references given for John 8:56;  John 8:58;  John 12:41). It is probable, since John 1:18 declares no man has seen God at any time, that this must be a reference to God the Father, who is spirit, John 4:24, and not visible to human eyes. Yet people are said to have seen God in the Old Testament (see Judges 13:22 and its cross references). This being so, the necessary inference to be drawn is that all instances of seeing God are instances of seeing the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate form.

But since the Bible clearly declares that people have seen God, Who appeared in the form of a man (Genesis 18:2) before the first advent of Christ, then if the Muslim use of Malachi 3:6 which asserts God does not change is correct, then how explain the apparent contradiction? How can God who is unchanging appear on earth to be seen by men in the form of a man?

Therefore, the argument that “God does not change” has nothing to do with the supposed claim against the doctrine of the Trinity.

2.  It compromises God’s absolute perfection.

God Almighty by definition is absolutely and eternally perfect in nature, He cannot degrade into a worse state and He cannot improve into a better state.

We’ve already seen that belief in the Trinity necessitates that the nature of God changed. This raises an uncomfortable question: was the nature of God more or less perfect when He took on flesh and entered into humanity? If He was more perfect before becoming human, then this implies that God’s perfect nature was temporarily compromised whilst Jesus was here on earth as a man. If however He was more perfect after becoming human, then this implies that God was eternally inferior in nature beforehand. Both propositions are blasphemous.

Certainly God has a perfect nature. His nature is unchanging. But the testimony of the New Testament is clear that Jesus Christ has an unchanging nature:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

It is clear from the testimony of the New Testament to Jesus Christ that He was absolutely sinless. He never committed a sin (1 Peter 2:2;  Hebrews 4:15). Jesus did not possess a sinful nature (Luke 1:35;  John 14:30). Jesus challenged his enemies to find any sin in Him (John 8:46) and they did not do so. John the Baptist testified of Jesus Christ, calling Him “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Peter speaks of Christ as being “without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). This surely speaks of a perfect Savior, qualified to die for our sins, qualified to make Atonement on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

It is a mistake to suppose “that belief in the Trinity necessitates that the nature of God changed.” The Bible declares otherwise.

Was Jesus more perfect before becoming a human? The Bible declares Jesus the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Those who deny the Trinity deny the deity of Christ. They apparently must deny that Jesus Christ, though one Person, possessed two natures:  a Divine nature and His human nature. This is the doctrine of the “hypostatic union” of two natures in one Person. Upon His Incarnation, Jesus Christ permanently possessed these two natures in one person. Jesus Christ, therefore, was never at any time less perfect than He was before His Incarnation, and is declared in Scripture to still be perfect ever after His resurrection bodily from the dead and His ascension into Heaven.

Therefore, the contention that the doctrine of the Trinity “compromises God’s absolute perfection” is false and not in accordance with what is revealed in Scripture.

3.  All persons of the Trinity are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. [Matthew 12:32]

If the three persons of the Trinity are equal in importance and all are 100% God, then why is speaking a word of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit an unforgivable sin, while doing a similar act against the Son, Jesus, can be forgiven? Since only the Holy Spirit has the right to not be blasphemed against, it seems that some persons of the Trinity are more equal than others!


Apparently the Muslim apologist I am citing is unaware that each member of the Trinity has its unique offices and responsibilities. Jesus taught that one of the offices or responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to reprove or convict and convince men of their sinfulness, of their sin (John 16:8). In Matthew 12:32 and its context, the Jewish leaders were refusing to believe in and accept Jesus Christ, even though He (1) healed the sick,  (2) forgave sin, though only God can forgive sin–yet by their own postulates, the Jews believed that only God could heal, so Jesus proved He can do both, see Mark 2:5-8;  (3) had power over nature itself when He calmed the storm at sea, see Mark 4:31-41;  (4) possessed creative power demonstrated when He multiplied the loaves and fish to feed five thousand men besides women and children, see Mark 6:37-44. In context at Matthew 12:32 the Jewish authorities were attributing to the power of Satan what was evidently done by the power of God, thus they were resisting the conviction based upon tangible evidence brought by the Holy Spirit. This sin was unforgivable then and if persisted in by anyone today who refuses the testimony of the Bible to the Person of Christ that He is without question the Divine Son of God, the Savior of the world, is unforgivable today, and will result in the loss of salvation and a most unfortunate eternal destiny where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47, 48).

4.  Jesus acknowledges that he has a God.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” [John 20:17]

Trinitarians attempt to explain such statements away by saying that it was only the human side of Jesus being subservient to God, not his divine side. The problem is that later in the Bible, after Jesus has ascended and cast aside all human limitations, he is still saying “my God”:

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. [Revelation 3:11-12]

So their explanation of the human side of Jesus doing the talking falls apart when he is still using the same language of subservience as he did whilst he was here on earth.

Jesus Christ in His human nature certainly speaks of God the Father as “my God.” This is very correct. Yet Jesus Christ even now still possesses, since the Incarnation–His having become a man–a human nature. For all eternity forward He is and will always be a man. He is called “the man Christ Jesus” well after His ascension to heaven in 1 Timothy 2:5.  The hypostatic union continues forever.  Subordination does not imply inequality.  It simply reveals the arrangements among the Persons of the Godhead, the Trinity, as to their respective offices with respect to the redemption or salvation of mankind.

Therefore, the fact that Jesus Christ acknowledges that He has a God is no argument against the doctrine of the Trinity.

5.  Jesus surrenders his kingdom to God.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. [1 Corinthians 15:24-28]

If Jesus is fully God, and an equal member of the Trinity, then why does Jesus give back his kingdom to God the Father when our world comes to an end? In addition, why is Jesus made subject to God after he has surrendered his kingdom over? Clearly, God is forever supreme over all, including Jesus.

Here is a case of assuming what is to be proved. The text of Scripture as cited from 1 Corinthians 15:24, 25, 26, 27, 28 does not state that Jesus hands over his kingdom to God, but rather “the kingdom.” This is a very interesting instance of a Figure of Speech used here that exhibits “intentional obscurity.” This means that when the Apostle Paul penned these words he purposely wrote this text to be obscure to avoid persecution from either Jewish or Roman authorities (see John 11:48;  Acts 17:7) should this letter fall into the wrong hands. See my note at 1 Corinthians 15:24 in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, for a full discussion of this passage and examples of other instances of “intentional obscurity” in the New Testament.

Jesus does not give up His own kingdom, but those kingdoms He has subdued (Revelation 11:15), for the Messianic Kingdom on this earth will never end (Daniel 7:14;  Luke 1:32, 33).

6.  Not defined anywhere in the Bible.

The nature of God is undoubtedly the most fundamental aspect of a religion. Scripture should provide a clear picture of who our Creator is, otherwise how can we be expected to properly worship that which we don’t understand?

If God wanted humanity to believe in His Triune nature, then why isn’t it clearly and explicitly defined anywhere in Scripture? There is no statement to be found anywhere in the Bible where God is described as being three co-equal persons, Father Son and Holy Ghost. This is in spite of the fact that there were numerous opportunities that were presented to Jesus where he could have spelled this out in detail:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” [Mark 12:29-33]

It’s important to note that the Jewish understanding of the commandments rejects all notions of God being a Trinity. So in the passages above, by simply repeating the commandment about God being One, Jesus is re-affirming the Jewish understanding of God’s nature and therefore rejecting the Trinitarian understanding. This was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to correct the Jew’s misconceptions about God and give him the Trinitarian understanding of God being three co-equal persons, Father Son and Holy Ghost. As we have seen the exact opposite is the case, his answers provides ammunition to use against the Trinity.

Because there is a lack of a clear, explicit statement in support of the Trinity, what we find is that in order to support the doctrine of the Trinity using the Bible, Trinitarians have to cobble together bits and pieces of unrelated scripture in order to try and form a picture of a Triune God. Is the Bible a book of guidance or a Da Vinci code?

To argue that “Scripture should provide” a clear explanation of these matters is an appeal, in part, to the principle of “rationalism,” which when it comes to understanding what the Bible has to say is a false principle. Who are we to demand that God rewrite the script to suit our way of thinking, our demands?

Even the Scripture writers themselves testify that they did not fully understand what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write (see 1 Peter 1:10, 11, 12 and Daniel 8:15).

The Bible is not written in the form or format of a systematic theology. To learn its truths we must “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39;  Acts 17:11). To determine what the Bible actually teaches about a subject of interest to us, we must take into account all that the Bible says or reveals about that subject, and often related subjects. Not everything about a given subject of interest is necessarily stated all in one passage of the Bible.

To do Real Bible Study, therefore, we must use appropriate tools for Bible study, such as Bible concordances and collections of cross references given in reference Bibles or The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or my expansion of that well-received venerable work, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or my work Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. I have now finished preparing a new work which is far more complete and accurate than the previously named resources, but I cannot tell you the title of it yet because the title has yet to be determined.

Trinitarians do not merely “cobble together bits and pieces of scripture in order to try and form a picture of a Triune God.” Rather, we carefully study Scripture according to the Rules of Interpretation given here in the October 2010 Archives listed to the right on this page. We read carefully, and by drawing the proper necessary inferences, we arrive at the truth of what the Bible teaches.

The Jews of the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a Messiah. They thought they knew their own Scriptures well. They knew about messianic prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, they either failed or refused to recognize the Messiah when He came at the appointed time and manner revealed in Scripture. Humanly speaking, they failed to draw the Necessary Inference about the coming Messiah when they did not observe two different classes of messianic prediction found in the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. What they failed to see, even refused to see, was that Messiah must first suffer, and only then enter into His glory (Luke 24:26;  1 Peter 1:11).

The same procedure in careful Bible study required to properly gather and understand messianic prophecy is the method that must be employed to learn the truth about the Bible doctrine of the Trinity.

The Jews failed at both.

7. Fabrications inserted into the Bible to support the doctrine.

An appeal is made to the text of 1 John 5:7 as it stands in the King James Version and its underlying Greek text, a text known as the Received Text.

Since no one appeals to this passage today to support the doctrine of the Trinity, such an argument is moot. It has nothing to do with the truth or alleged falsity of the doctrine of the Trinity. There is plenty of other evidence in the Bible for the Trinity.

8.  Trinitarian scholars manipulate the Bible to protect the doctrine.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [John 17:3]

This statement in the Bible is devastating to the doctrine of the Trinity, as it clearly identifies God as the only true God to the exclusion of Jesus. Here Jesus defines his own position as the Messiah, distinct from the Godhead, which consists of the Father alone.

In fact so devastating is this statement, that major pro-Trinitarian scholars of the past have resorted to manipulating the Bible in order to protect the doctrine of the Trinity. We note the remarkable comment of the celebrated Church Father Augustine. Augustine of Hippo is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity. It was so difficult for Augustine to harmonise John 17:3 with the doctrine of the Trinity, that this immensely influential church leader actually restructured Jesus’ words to accommodate both the Father and Son in the Godhead. Augustine, in his “Homilies on John”, boldly asserts that John 17:3 means:

“This is eternal life, that they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” [1]

This daring alteration of the Bible seriously distorts the original meaning of the words in order to include Jesus in the Godhead. Such forcing of the text merely exposes Augustine’s desperation to protect his creed in the Bible.

Most Christians today are unlikely to know of this information about Augustine’s citation of the text of John 17:3. I do not know of any contemporary scholarship that handles John 17:3 this way.

But I would assert that The New World Translation produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses most certainly does “manipulate the Bible” to protect their anti-Trinitarian doctrine. They mistranslate John 1:1 to read “and the word was a god.” They carefully eliminate every reference to the Holy Spirit as a Person. And much more. So when it comes to just who it might be in our day that would manipulate the very text of Scripture to support false doctrine, it would seem that Jehovah’s Witnesses have clearly done just that.

9.  God is above Jesus in hierarchy.

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. [1 Corinthians 11:3]

This statement was uttered after Jesus had ascended and cast aside his human limitations. If the Trinity is true, then surely Paul (the author of the above statement) would have uttered something along the lines of “man is the head of a woman, and God and Christ are the head of man” which would imply a horizontal relationship between the persons in the Trinity. Clearly, God is above Jesus in this hierarchy, implying no co-equality between them, and thus there is no Trinity.

If only it were that simple, the argument might be swung in favor of the Muslims, Unitarians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and their denial of the Trinity.

As I stated above, this is an argument based upon rationalism. It seeks to rewrite the script. It fails because it cannot account for other things Paul wrote that declare precisely the contrary (Romans 9:5;  Titus 2:13, etc.).

The persons of the Trinity are revealed in Scripture to each assume particular offices and roles in the Godhead. That God the Father assumes a position in hierarchy above Jesus the Son of God does not disprove the doctrine of the Trinity. Subordination does not imply inequality.

10.  Necessitates the belief in three gods.

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” [John 1:24-25]

Here John has described a ‘trinity’ of persons, the Messiah, Elijah and the Prophet. These are three distinct persons, each with their own will, personality and function. What they share in common is their nature, humanity.

No one in their right mind would say that the Messiah, Elijah and the Prophet are three persons in one human, even though they all share in the same nature – humanity. Yet this is exactly what they are saying with regards to the Trinity. Clearly, Trinitarians believe in three separate gods, not one, just as they believe in three separate human beings. This is a clear violation of what Moses, Jesus and all the Prophets of the Bible taught: God is One.

Of course this comparison misses the point completely. When the Jehovah Witnesses came to visit me for four years, they had a similar numerical argument against the Trinity. How, they asked, can 1+1+1 = 1? I said, simple. Consider that 1x1x1 = 1. What Biblical authority can you cite to require addition rather than multiplication? The argument either way has no validity to what the Bible teaches about the Godhead consisting of Three Persons, each of whom is called God in Scripture itself, and each of whom possess the several incommunicable attributes of God. But since only God can possess these incommunicable attributes, yet Scripture attributes them to both Jesus the Son of God and to the Holy Spirit, as I have frequently posted on this site from my note on Matthew 28:19 in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, we have positive proof for the doctrine of the Trinity that it  is plainly taught by Necessary Inference in Scripture itself.

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One Response to Daily Bible Nugget #401, 2 Corinthians 13:14

  1. anon says:

    John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

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