What is the Trinity?

The Trinity is the Christian doctrine of the three persons of the Godhead, who contain the qualities that only God possesses and who, in Biblical accounts, are referred to as God himself. This is God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although there is no specific mention of the trinity in the Old or New Testament, the scriptural evidence seems to make it clear that the one God of the Bible is indeed more than one personality. Bear in mind, however, that this is not polytheism (the worship of multiple gods), but still the worship of one God in three forms -- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

        "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all yor heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
        "Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith." (Romans 3:29-30)
        "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit --just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:3-6)

The Bible states clearly that there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Samuel 7:22, 22:32, Isaiah 44:6, Malachi 2:10, Romans 3:29-30, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Galations 3:20, Ephesians 4:6, 1 Timothy 2:5, James 2:19), and that we are not to worship anyone but him alone (Exodus 20:2-6). Yet this one God may have multiple personalities, which is evident in Genesis 1:26 (Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..."), Genesis 3:22 (And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us..."), and Genesis 11:7 ("Come, let us go down and confuse their language..."). God (Hebrew Elohim, plural) refers to himself as "us," which cannot be a reference to angels since angels did not take part in the creation (Genesis 1:1). But there were two others there with him in the beginning, the Spirit (Genesis 1:2) and Christ (John 1:1-3, 1:10, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:2).

        "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2)
        "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17)

Now the Spirit of God is a very important figure in the Bible (Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29, Luke 12:10, "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."), and though the Spirit is the Lord himself (2 Corinthians 3:17-18), he is distinguished apart from God the Father (Matthew 28:19, Romans 8:14-16), and this same Spirit is the Spirit of the Son (Galations 4:6). For the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in bodily form when he was baptized by John the Baptist, yet God spoke from heaven declaring, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:22). Therefore, it is not without reason to conclude that the Holy Spirit that is of both God the Father and the Son is itself an individual entity.

        "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
        "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:15-16)
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20)

It was Jesus himself who didn't just allude to having the attributes of God (authority to forgive sins--Mark 2:5-12, Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath--Luke 6:5, authority to judge the living and the dead--John 5:27), but he came right out and spoke plainly of his unity with the Lord in various company, among priests, disciples and laymen ("I and the Father are one"--John 10:30, "before Abraham was born, I am!"--John 8:58, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End"--Revelation 22:13). It was for this that the Pharisees of the Law wanted to stone him to death (Mark 14:62-63, Luke 22:70, John 8:58) and for which Jesus was crucified by the Romans (Matthew 27:22-26, Mark 15:12-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 19:4-16).

        God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' " (Exodus 3:14)
        Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus... The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death. (Mark 14:62-63, Luke 22:70)
        "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him... (John 8:58)

According to the Bible, God spoke all creation into existence (Genesis 1:3, 1:6, 1:9, 1:11, 1:14, 1:20, 1:24, 1:26, Psalm 33:6, 33:9, 2 Peter 3:5). This word is the word of life (1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 1:1). It is flawless and eternal (2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8), exalted with the name of God above all things (Psalm 138:2), and it was through this word that God created all things (John 1:1-3). Christ is this Word (John 1:14, Revelation 19:13), and it is through Christ that God created the universe and by whose word all things are sustained (Hebrews 1:2-3).

        "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3)
        "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the Only Begotten, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Old Testament support for this multplicity of God comes through the title Elohim, the plural form of Eloah or the plural derivative of El, the Hebrew words for "God." An example would be found in the first chapter of Genesis, where God (plural Elohim) creates the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. According to Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness," which couldn't have been a reference to angels because in verse 27 it says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." It is the collective evidence such as these passages and those mentioned above in which both Protestants and Catholics agree that the Lord is one God made up of three persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). Whether these are acting individually or collectively (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:5-15), they are still one and the same, the Lord Almighty.

        "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me." (John 15:26)

Note: The Vulgate and KJV interpret 1 John 5:7-8 as "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." Most earlier Greek manuscripts and modern translations (NIV, NAS, RSV, TJB, NEB) do not include the reference to the trinity. The context of the passage is of the testimony of the Spirit, water, and blood to Jesus Christ.