Monday, April 21, 2014
THE COMPOSITION OF THE BIBLE IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE TRINITY
As I drove to work today, I listened to the reading of an op-ed piece from our local newspaper. In the article, the writer was expressing his views on the Bible. I was refreshed to hear someone speak well about the Bible in a local newspaper and began to ponder the things that the writer stated. I began to consider the Bible and how it was so intricately fashioned by God. I began to consider that fact that the Bible is one book made up of many distinct books which made me consider the Trinity and how hard it is to explain to someone how God is one yet three distinct persons.
As I have had occasion to teach the Bible in numerous settings, inevitably, someone will ask about the Trinity. In fact, one of the toughest questioners I have had on this subject is my son Daniel who often asks difficult questions and will not accept half answers. I have used the egg illustration, and the water illustration, and the illustration in which I explained that I am a father and a son and a brother but still only one man. Unfortunately, none of these illustrations can fully explain or capture the true nature of God being three in one. The concept of God being trinity is indisputable(probably a good topic for a future blog) but explaining it in a manner that is understandable is another matter altogether.
I began to see a correlation with how the Bible is one book made up of many books and realized I may have discovered a simple, yet effective explanation for the Trinity. In fact, I tested this new explanation out on my son tonight and it hit home.
The Bible is one book. The word Bible means Book. The Bible is made up of 66 books. Everyone of those 66 books is Bible, yet each one of those books can stand alone and none needs any of the other books to be true and inerrant. Each of the 66 books has a distinct purpose, style and personality. Together, all 66 books has(not a grammatical error, as you will see below) one message and purpose, to reveal God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
This is true of God as He expresses Himself to us as Tri-une. One God, three distinct persons with distinct purpose(ministry), style and personality. God the Father does not need God the Son or the Holy Spirit to be fully God nor does the Holy Spirit need the Father or Son to be fully God and so on. Each member of the Trinity is God yet together, they are God with one purpose, to express the fullness of His love to His creation.
Whenever the topic of the Trinity comes up, I am always reminded of Deuteronomy 6:4. In our English Bibles it reads: Hear O Israel, the LORD our God the LORD is one. A literal translation would actually read as follows: "Hear O Israel, YHWH our God, YHWH are one." (YHWH is God's name with the vowels removed. The Hebrew scribes removed the vowels so no one could pronounce God's name, that it might not be taken in vain.) Notice the grammatical mixture of the singular with the plural.
Just as God has given us His word, one Book made up of 66 books, so to God has chosen to express Himself to us as Trinity, one God - three persons.
I hope this makes sense and allows for a better understanding of the person and nature of our glorious God.