Top 50 Questions

Top 50 Questions

Day 5 of 50

What is the Trinity?

As three different entities with one shared essence, the Trinity displays the relational nature of the God of the Bible.

When Saint Patrick traveled to Ireland to spread the message of one true God, he encountered a polytheistic society. It fell to him to explain the otherness and mystery of the Trinity. The God about whom Saint Patrick was talking could not be lumped in with “all the other Gods.”

It’s no wonder that the concept of the Trinity can cause so much confusion. It seems contradictory that God could be both exclusive (“You shall have no other gods before me”1) and inclusive (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Saint Patrick illustrated this concept in two ways to which the Irish might readily relate. In their artwork, he pointed to the Celtic knot, known as the “triquetra” or trefoil knot. In it, one line moves fluidly through three interlaced points or loops without interruption or seam. He also referred to the shamrock, on which three seemingly separate leaves adorn one single stalk.

Both examples showed the presence of three distinct entities within one. With the shamrock leaves in particular, they have a relationship, sharing the same life. It is the same with the Trinity: three persons in relationship: one life, one essence, one God.

Consider This:

  1. Why might God choose to reveal himself as three persons in one? What does that communicate about who he is?
  2. What does it mean to you that God is “in relationship”? How does the concept of a relational God affect you?

Take Action:

Name three reasons why God might have chosen to reveal himself in three persons. Though “the Trinity” is not mentioned in the Bible, there are many places where Father, Son, and Spirit are each described. Consider familiarizing yourself with these passages to gain further understanding of who God has revealed himself to be.

  • Footnotes
      1. The Holy Bible, New International Version © 2011, Exodus 20:3.
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