Because so many have been taught erroneous concepts of the nature of God, it can be difficult to accept that the Bible does not teach the Trinity doctrine. Consider this admission in The Oxford Companion to the Bible , edited by Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, in its opening words under the entry “Trinity”:
“Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine , it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the [New Testament] canon” (1993, pp. 782-783, emphasis added throughout).
The Holy Spirit is spoken of in many ways in the Bible that clearly demonstrate that it is not a divine person. For example, it is referred to as a gift (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×; 1 Timothy 4:14 1 Timothy 4:14Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
American King James Version×). We are told that the Holy Spirit can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19 1 Thessalonians 5:19Quench not the Spirit.
American King James Version×), and that it can be poured out (Acts 2:17 Acts 2:17And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
American King James Version×). The Holy Spirit must be stirred up within us (2 Timothy 1:6 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
American King James Version×), and it also renews us (Titus 3:5 Titus 3:5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
American King James Version×). These are certainly not the attributes of a person.
If God were a Trinity, surely the apostle Paul, who recorded many of the theological underpinnings of the early Church, would have comprehended and taught this under-standing. Yet we find no such concept in his New Testament writings.
Paul’s standard greeting in all 13 epistles that bear his name (with only minor varia-tions in wording) is: “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet not once in these greetings does he mention the Holy Spirit. It is always left out. This is an inconceivable omission if indeed the Holy Spirit were a person coequal with God and Christ.
Paul clearly states: “There is one God, the Father, … and one Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:6 1 Corinthians 8:6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
American King James Version×). He makes no mention of the Holy Spirit as a divine person.
If the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be found in the Bible, when and from where did it emerge? The Oxford Companion to the Bible goes on to explain that the doctrine was not formulated until long after Jesus Christ and the apostles had passed from the scene. “This issue is debated over the following centuries” and wasn’t resolved until the “councils of the fourth century and beyond” (ibid.). Regrettably, by that time Christendom had been heavily influenced by non-Christian concepts and teachings from various pagan sources.
For an in-depth examination of what the Bible says about the nature of God and much more biblical evidence that God is not a Trinity, please request or download our free booklet Who Is God? Also, to understand the Bible description of the Holy Spirit as the power of God at work in the lives of believers, request or download Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .