From the preceding outline of Scripture teaching the following points areclear:
The teaching as to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is theculmination of the Old Testament teaching on the subject;
in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is revealed as personal in hisaction upon men;
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are grouped together and regardedas belonging to the same class;
on the basis of these facts the Christian doctrine of the Trinityarises. The word Trinity does not occur anywhere in the Bible, but thethought expressed by the word is clearly taught therein.
2. The Trinity1.
Before proceeding to the chief question in regard to the Trinity severalpreliminary statements are necessary. The first that the Christian conception of the Trinity does not imperil the conception of the unity of God. The Old Testament gave us monotheism. New Testament writers, mostly Jews, give usthe Trinitarian teaching with no sense of conflict or inconsistency. The unity of God is clearly held in the New Testament. Sometimes the Trinitarian doctrinehas been stated in theological works in a manner which makes it difficult todistinguish it from tritheism. This is a fundamental error, and should becarefully avoided.In the second place, it is to be noted that when we employ the terms “person”and “personal” in connection with the Trinity, we do not mean precisely whatwe have in mind when we apply the terms to men. With men a person is aseparate and distinct individual, having no essential connection with otherindividuals. In reference to the Trinity we mean by personalities innerdistinctions in the Godhead. These distinctions, however, are qualified by themost intimate relations of unity. They express the meaning of a single divinelife, not of three separate and externally related divine lives. There are notthree Gods, but one. A divine person is not less than a human person, butmore. The divine life is richer and more complete than the human.In the third place, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is not the result of aneffort to solve an abstract metaphysical problem. It arises out of the revelationin and through Jesus Christ and out of our experience of the grace of God inhim. That is to say, God has spoken to us in Christ, and our experience of Godin Christ is accompanied by a need which the Trinitarian truth alone supplies.