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Why Is the Trinity Not Mentioned in Scripture?
Plain Truth Magazine
May 1978
Volume: Vol XLIII, No.5
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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Why Is the Trinity Not Mentioned in Scripture?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Does religion have to be a "mystery" in order to be understood? No one truly understands the so-called "mystery of the Trinity." Some nevertheless insist their followers accept the doctrine, though admitting it is a mystery incapable of being understood! But Jesus said: "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He said: "Thy word [the Bible] is truth." Can you really understand about God; about the family of God; about who and how many members make up the Godhead? God's Word says you can and you must. Believe it or not, the Bible nowhere teaches the Trinity. Here's the proof.

   Why is the word "Trinity" not found anywhere in the Bible? Look it up for yourself use any Bible dictionary or exhaustive concordance. The word "Trinity" just isn't there!
   But then, neither is the word "Lent," nor the word "rapture," for that matter.
   But why?
   Why should it be that some of the major doctrines of a professing Christian world are shockingly absent from the Bible, the Word of God? Don't most religious organizations claim to find their doctrines in the Bible?
   Probably you have either heard or sung many times the song called "Holy, Holy, Holy." Millions have. In it, the words "blessed Trinity" appear.
   In the songbook. But not in the Bible!
   But then, mill ions of Americans spend more time opening and closing a songbook in church services than they do a Bible so it's little wonder the impression gained from habit and tradition sometimes outweighs solid biblical truth.
   As shocking as it may seem to many, the doctrine of the Trinity is another of the pagan "mysteries" which is not found in the Bible!
   Does a doctrine have to be obscure, murky, dark, mysterious, impossible to understand in a practical, day-to-day, commonsense manner? Not according to Christ! He promised His followers the truth! He plainly said the Father would reveal truth to real Christians!
   Most of the really true concepts and doctrines of God's Christianity are not out of sync with the real world of natural laws involving physics, chemistry and the way things work in this whole orderly universe. To our finite, limited, unseeing human minds, of course, miracles might be an exception to this general truism.
   But the whole panorama of pagan doctrines seems to have this one common denominator: They are all patently illogical. And the Trinity is no exception! The Trinity is cloaked in a murky maze of mystery. Theologians find it exceedingly difficult to pin this doctrine down and get a firm grip on it. The layman is simply told not to bother his head about it it is a "mystery," anyway.
   "The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul" (Harold Lindsell and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth, pp. 51-52). So accept it or else, we are told in rather intimidating language; there is no use in trying to understand it.
   Says The New Catholic Encyclopedia: "It is difficult in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective, and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and the theological elaboration of the mystery of the Trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, presents a somewhat unsteady silhouette" (vol. XIV, p. 295).
   A Christian, who is firmly admonished by the apostle Paul to "prove all things" and to "search the scriptures daily," cannot afford to base his biblical understanding on an "unsteady silhouette." True Bible doctrine can be understood! It makes sane, logical sense when subjected to proofs and tests. Christ said: "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32, RSV).

To Whom Did Jesus Pray?

   Can we apply a little plain old biblical "horse sense" to this time-honored doctrine of a three-person Godhead? Consider this completely unshakable biblical fact: Jesus Christ of Nazareth your Savior and my Savior was begotten not by a human father as all other human beings (except Adam and Eve), but by the Holy Spirit.
   A great angelic being appeared to Joseph, Jesus' legal father, in a dream and said: "... Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 1:20).
   Perhaps the very same angel in this case the archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:26) was sent with a similar message to the virgin Mary. Notice carefully the wording of their conversation. "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus" (verses 30-31).
   Mary's reply was just exactly what you would expect of a woman in that situation. "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest [this is the real biblical definition of the Holy Spirit; it is a force or power] shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.... For with God nothing shall be impossible" (verses 34-35, 37).
   So if we want to believe the Bible, we are forced to admit that Jesus Christ was conceived through the agency of the Holy Spirit.
   Yet Jesus calls God His Father not the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ said to Mary Magdalene in the book of John: "... Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
   Can you begin to see how utterly illogical the concept of the Trinity is? If the Holy Spirit were a person, "he" would be Jesus' father not God the Father. Yet Christ dogmatically stated, as you have just read, that God is His Father.
   Consider further. If the Holy Spirit were a person, Jesus Christ prayed to the wrong "father." Since Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit were a person, Jesus' father would be the Holy Spirit. But throughout the four Gospel accounts, we find Christ praying directly to His Father God Almighty! Just one example: "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.... And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God [still talking to the Father], and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:1, 3).

A Simple Lesson in Grammar

   Somebody is going to ask: "What about the fact that John uses the personal pronoun 'he' when referring to the Holy Spirit or Comforter in the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of his Gospel?"
   In the Greek language, as in Spanish, Italian, French, etc., every noun has what is called gender; that is, it is either masculine, feminine or neuter.
   Even such an inanimate object as a glass being utterly devoid of any real life- has masculine gender in Spanish. El vaso is the Spanish equivalent of the two words "the glass" in English. The "el" article and the -o ending to the word vaso give the word "glass" masculine gender in Spanish. Yet by no stretch of the imagination could a glass be considered a male person in the human sense. That would be utterly ridiculous!
   Likewise in the Greek language, the gender of a word has nothing whatever to do with whether it is really masculine or feminine in the sexual sense at all. Gender in language is really nothing more than a convenient grammatical tool. In the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of John, the English pronoun "he" is definitely used in connection with the word "Comforter" but not for theological or spiritual reasons.
   Grammatically, all pronouns in Greek must agree in gender with the word they refer to or in other words, with the term that the pronoun replaces. The Greek word parakletos ("comforter" in English) has masculine gender; hence the translators' use of the personal pronoun "he." ("It" would have been a far better rendering into the English language.)

I John 5:7

   But so deliberate has been the deceptive attempt to foist the false doctrine of the Trinity upon the world that a monk copyist in the fourth century A.D. inserted totally and completely spurious words into the Bible in order to " prove" this major doctrine of pagan antiquity.
   Turn in your own Bible (King James Version) to I John 5:7-8: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: 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."
   But did you know that not one of the italicized words is in any of the accepted New Testament Greek manuscripts? Did you know this spurious section was not found in the text of any Greek manuscripts until after the invention of printing? Comparison with many of the more modern translations and simple research will prove my point. Verses 7 and 8 should actually read as follows: "There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree." This is how the passage is rendered in the Revised Standard Version, perhaps the best overall of modern Bible translations.
   The editors of both liberal and conservative Bible commentaries (ancient and modern) agree as to the very dubious origin of I John 5:7 (as it now stands in the King James or Authorized Version). Notice a couple of quotes from two commentaries of more recent vintage. Says the conservatively oriented New Bible Commentary Revised: "... The words are clearly a gloss and are rightly excluded by RSV [Revised Standard Version] even from its margin" (p. 1269). Peake's Commentary on the Bible, universally recognized as a standard liberal work, is even more incisive with its comments: "The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed even in RSV, and rightly. ... No respectable Greek MS [manuscript] contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT [New Testament] of Erasmus [and eventually the King James]" (p. 1038).
   The translators of the Revised Version of 1881 immediately spotted the difficulties with I John 5:7. The passage occurs in only two modern Greek manuscripts, in one or two ancient versions of little value and, of course, in many late copies of the Latin Vulgate. This is the extent of the textual support for this dubious verse.
   The fact could not be ignored that not a single Greek manuscript or church-lesson book before the fifteenth century had any trace of I John 5:7. Also it is omitted in nearly every ancient version of any critical value including the very best copies of the Latin Vulgate itself. Finally no Greek father even quotes it in any discussion concerning the Trinity doctrine itself.
   Consequently the passage was omitted and it does not appear in the Revised Version of 1881 the first scholarly revision of the King James Version of any consequence.
   F. F. Bruce, a respected British scholar, has this to say about I John 5:7: "... A footnote rightly points out that the passage is 'not in any of the early Greek mss, or any of the early translations, or in the best mss of the Vulgate itself' and suggests that it is probably a gloss that has crept into the text" (The English Bible, p. 217).
   Clearly I John 5:7 is a spurious addition that is in no way, manner, shape or form a part of the New Testament canon.

Matthew 28:19

   Another grossly misunderstood text (often cited to "prove" there is indeed a Trinity) is Matthew 28: 19: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
   To imply that this verse means that all three (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) are persons is just not being honest with the Scriptures. Clearly the first two (God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ) are two separate individual spirit personalities in the Godhead, but that fact does not automatically make the Holy Spirit also a person.
   Think about it a moment! People give names to many things that are simply not persons. Everything whether person, place or thing has a name!
   But why did Jesus command the apostles to baptize converts into these three names? And why must they be baptized (see Acts 2:38) into these names in order to receive the Holy Spirit? God the Father grants human beings real repentance (Rom. 2:4; Acts 11:18; II Tim. 2:25). We become His sons (literally!) the sons of God (bearing His name) when we receive the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9, 14, 16-17). Is that so hard to understand? Human beings often bear the names of their forebears, e.g., Johnson, Robertson, Jackson, meaning originally the sons of John, Robert and Jack.
   "God" is the family name in English of the divine Kingdom of spirit beings. The Father's name is "God" in English. Jesus Christ who was crucified so our past sins may be forgiven is also called God in John 1:1, Hebrews 1:8 and other New Testament texts. The Holy Spirit which comes forth from the very person of God is the begetting agent by which we receive the earnest of our salvation (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:16).
   Many religionists do not understand the part that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each play in the salvation process. The Trinity is the result, in part, of such fundamental misunderstandings.
   But here is another one of those "famous" biblical opposites. Instead of teaching the pagan doctrine of the Trinity, Matthew 28:19 really tells us that God is a growing family or Kingdom into which we may enter upon repentance, baptism, the receipt of the Holy Spirit and patient endurance to the end of our natural lives and/or Christ's coming whichever comes first.
   A closed Trinity, triad, or triumvirate of three persons is as far from God's mind and His plan and purpose for human beings as the east is from the west. The false doctrine of the Trinity can only blind gullible human beings to the transcendent purpose of human life: to be born as literal spirit beings (sons of God) into the great God family!
   God is not a limited Trinity! He is the divine Head of a growing family or Kingdom into which we may, through the grace of God, freely enter! The apostle Peter wrote that if you have the fruits of God's Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:5-9), "an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (verse II).
Was humanity created for a great purpose and, if so, why is humankind so totally unaware of it? To find out, read our free booklet titled Why Were You Born?

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Plain Truth MagazineMay 1978Vol XLIII, No.5ISSN 0032-0420
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