Appendix  D
Data On The Trinity
Son of God does not mean God the Son

The Bible teaches there is one God, the Father, and one Messiah and Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the divinely conceived Son of God. Jesus Christ is the fully human “Son of God” and not “God the Son.” For clarity’s sake, it's helpful to understand what the Trinity is. The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and the three of them are co-equal, co-eternal, and share the same essence and together those three individual “Persons” are one triune God. The doctrine of the Trinity that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man and that both the divine nature and his human nature live together in his flesh body may be widely believed, but is never stated in the Bible.

Something that is openly admitted by theologians that is not known by many Christians is that the doctrine of the Trinity is not stated in the Bible, but is actually “built” by piecing together statements that are said to support it. Since most Christians believe the Trinity is a mystery and not to be understood is a huge reason why doctrinal discussions about it are often avoided or brushed aside and ignored. Worse, the teaching that the Trinity is a “mystery” has been used as a club to beat down doubters and dissenters, and those people are often branded as “heretics” and their role in Christianity minimized.

The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, and that is supporting evidence that the doctrine is unbiblical, which may be why Trinitarians differ, sometimes greatly in their definitions of the Trinity. The Eastern Orthodox Church differs from the Western Church on the relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son. Trinitarians who hold to the “classic” definition of the Trinity say Jesus was 100% God and 100% man while on the earth believe differently from Kenotic Trinitarians who believe Jesus set aside his godhood while he was a man on the earth. Oneness Pentecostals say the classic formula of the Trinity is completely wrong, and yet all these claim that Christ is God and that the Bible supports their position.

A study of the history of the Christian Church shows a definite development in the doctrine of the Trinity over the centuries. For example, the early form of the Apostles Creed (believed to date back to shortly after the time of the apostles themselves) does not mention the Trinity or the dual nature of Christ. The Nicene Creed that was written in 325 AD and modified later added the material about Jesus Christ being “eternally begotten” and the "true God” and about the Holy Spirit being “Lord.” But it was the Athanasian Creed that was most likely composed in the latter part of the 4th century or possibly even as early as the 5th century that was the first creed to explicitly state the doctrine of the Trinity.

It seems it would have been clearly stated in the Bible and in the earliest Christian creeds if the doctrine of the Trinity was genuine and central to Christian belief and especially if belief in it was necessary for salvation as many Trinitarians teach. God gave the Scriptures to the Jewish people, and the Jewish religion and worship that comes from that revelation does not contain any reference to or teachings about a triune God. Surely the Jewish people were qualified to read and understand it, but they never saw the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather just the opposite as all throughout their history they fiercely defended the fact that there was only one God. Jesus himself tied the greatest commandment in the Law together with there being only one God when an expert in Old Testament law asked him which of the commandments was the most important. Jesus said to him “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God….” (Mark 12:29-30).

The pronouns in the Bible that refer to “God” are singular and there are lots of them. “The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament contain well over twenty thousand pronouns and verbs describing the One God” (Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-inflicted Wound, International Scholars Publications, New York, 1998, p. 17). Singular pronouns include “I” “my” and “he.” We would expect it to say “For God so loved the world that they gave the Father’s only begotten Son….” if “God” were composed of three co-equal beings who each had their own mind and together agreed to send Christ. The fact that the pronouns in the Bible refer to “God” as a singular being is also evidence that there is no Trinity.

The Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah foretold that he would be a human being who would be the offspring of Eve (Genesis 3:15); a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18); a descendant of Judah (Genesis 49:10; a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15); a son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; Isaiah 11:1); a king ruling under Yahweh (Psalm 110:1); and a ruler from among the people of Israel (Jeremiah 30:21). That explains why the people were all expecting a human Messiah. Psalm 110:1 merits special attention because it's especially clear but has been misunderstood and misrepresented by most English versions that read “The LORD says to my Lord….” The word “LORD” is Yahweh, but many Trinitarian commentators argue that “my Lord” in this verse is the Hebrew word "adonai" that is another name for God, and that would provide proof of the divinity of the Messiah. But the Hebrew text does not use "adonai" but rather "adoni" which is always used in Scripture to describe human masters and lords, but never God.

The Old Testament refers to the Messiah as “one like a son of man” and the phrase “son of man” was a Semitic idiom for a human being and it's used that way throughout the Old Testament. The phrase “son of man” also became a title of the Messiah when Daniel referred to him as “one like a son of man” (Daniel 7:13) and that explains why Jesus called himself “the son of man” many times. The use of the “son of man” in reference to the Messiah is one more piece of evidence that Jesus was fully human and one more reason that people were expecting the Messiah to be human. The New Testament teaches Jesus was a man and Jesus himself said he was “a man who has told you the truth” John 8:40. Jesus was not being disingenuous and hiding his “divine nature” but rather was making a factual statement that reinforced what the Jews were expecting of the Messiah—that he would be a fully human man.

The apostles also taught Jesus was a man and we see this when the Apostle Peter spoke in his sermon to the crowds gathered on the Day of Pentecost making a very clear declaration that Jesus was a man approved of God: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you…” (Acts 2:22). Here Peter clearly taught that Jesus was a man and that God did miracles “by him.” Paul also taught Jesus was a man and we can see that when he was in Athens teaching a crowd of unsaved Gentiles about Jesus Christ and said that God would judge the world “by the man whom He has appointed” (Acts 17:31). Paul never said or implied that Jesus was anything but a “man.”

There are a number of other New Testament verses that state Jesus was a man and we can see them in places like Romans that says a man (Adam) caused sin to enter into the world, and also that a man would have to redeem it from sin. Romans 5:15 says “For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” Some theologians teach that only God could pay for the sins of mankind, but the Bible specifically says that a man must do it. The book of Corinthians makes the same point Romans does when it says “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:21).

1 Timothy 2:5 says that it's the man Jesus, who was the mediator between God and men. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” This verse calls Jesus Christ a “man” even after his resurrection. Trinitarian doctrine tries to explain the verses that say Jesus was a man by saying that he was a man, but he was also 100% God at the same time. But there are problems with that such as there is no single verse that says Jesus was both God and man and that's why the God-man doctrine is built from many verses.

Furthermore, scholars admit that there are only about eight verses in the entire New Testament that can be understood to say that Jesus is God, and every one of them can either be translated in a way that supports the Biblical Unitarian position, or disputed textually, or can be explained from the use of the word “God” in the culture. In contrast, the clear verses where Jesus is said to be a “man” such as when Peter or Paul taught their audiences that Jesus was a man appointed by God are not disputed and in the context there does not seem to be any good reason those men would not have said Jesus was a God-man if in fact that is what he is.

Actually, the book of Hebrews seems to clear up the subject when it says that when Jesus was on the earth that he was made like us in every way: “Therefore he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” (Hebrews 2:17). This verse shows that Jesus was not both fully human and fully God at the same time and if he was then he would not be like us in every respect. Adam, the first man was fully human and by his sin brought sin into the world. Jesus is called the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) and it seems that designation would not be appropriate if Jesus was not fully human in the same way that Adam was.

Adam is called a “type” of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:14). The word translated as “type” in many English versions is the translation of the Greek word tupos (τύπος) which can be defined as “a type, pattern, model, or example of something else.” Although the KJV translates tupos as “figure” most of the more modern versions say “pattern” (NIV), “prototype” (HCSB), or “type” (ESV, NAB, NASB). Adam was a type, prototype, or pattern of Christ because he was fully human and began without a sin nature—and Jesus was the same: fully human and made without a sin nature. The reason no other human male after Adam could be a “type” of Christ is that we are all born with a sin nature. Adam could not be a “type” of Christ if Jesus was 100% man and 100% God because Adam did not have a “God-nature.”

The Bible says in many verses that there is only one God and “God” does not have a God. We read in Isaiah 44:6 “…there is no God besides me” and Ephesians 4:6 says there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all.” Jesus has a God in contrast to “God” who alone is God and does not have a God. Jesus spoke about his God after the resurrection to Mary Magdalene, saying “…I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God” (John 20:17). Jesus still called God “my God” after his ascension into heaven when he was standing at the right hand of God.

There are also verses in the New Testament that clearly speak of “God” being the “God” of Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6 says “ can, with one mouth, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, and 1 Peter 1:3 all say “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So the “one God and Father” (Ephesians 4:6) is the God of Jesus Christ. The “one God” of the Bible never says He has a God because He is God, the Father, the Creator, “the Most High God” and He has no equals. Jesus is not “God” because he's a man, the last Adam, the created Son of God, and the God of Jesus is God the Father.

In John 5:44 Jesus called the Father “the only God” and The New American Standard Bible goes so far as to translate it as “the one and only God.” The straightforward reading of this verse is that Jesus did not think of himself as God. Jesus prayed to God on the night he was arrested that people would “know you, the only true God” (John 17:3). It seems disingenuous or at least confusing that Jesus would refer to his Father as “the only true God” if he knew that both he and “the Holy Spirit” were also “Persons” in a triune God and that the Father shared His position as “God” with them. It seems much more likely that Jesus spoke the simple truth when he called his Father “the only true God."

Colossians 1:15 calls Jesus “the firstborn of all creation.” Scholars disagree on what this phrase means, but that is primarily because the doctrine of the Trinity obscures its simple meaning. Trinitarian doctrine states that Jesus is “eternal” but if that is true then he cannot be the firstborn “of all creation” because that would make him part of the creation. But the simple reading of Colossians 1:15 seems clear: Jesus is a created being. The BDAG Greek-English lexicon [entry under “creation”] explains the Greek word translated “creation” as “that which is created… of individual things or beings created, creature.” Not only was Jesus a created being, but he's also called the “firstborn” from the dead because he was the first one in God’s creation who was raised from the dead to everlasting life—a point that is also made in Colossians 1:18.

God is eternal and was not born. In contrast to the eternal God, Christ is “begotten” that is born meaning Jesus Christ had a beginning. Jesus is never called “God the Son” in the Bible, but he's called the “Son of God” more than 50 times, and a “son” has a beginning. The very fact that Jesus is the “Son of God” shows he had a beginning. Trinitarian doctrine denies this and invents the phrase “eternally begotten" but “eternally begotten” is not in the Bible, but was invented to help explain the Trinity and is actually a nonsensical phrase because the words are placed together but they cancel each other out. “Eternal” means without beginning or end and something that is “begotten” by definition has a beginning.

We cannot approach the Bible with wisdom and “reason together” if we must invent and use non-biblical phrases to support our theology. The Bible calls Jesus the “Son” of God for the simple reason that he had a beginning. Jesus had been part of God’s plan since the foundation of the world, but he began his actual life when God “fathered” him and Mary conceived him in her womb. There are many verses where Jesus and God are portrayed as two separate beings and there are too many examples to list, but just to mention a few we can look at when Jesus told the rich young ruler that he was not good, but “God” was good. Also Jesus grew in favor with “God” and with men, and he told his disciples “Believe in God; believe also in me."

I find it interesting that the Church Epistles were authored by both God and Christ and we see this in 1 Corinthians 1:3 that says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” There's a lot of Scripture that shows Jesus to be separate and distinct from “God” which is what the people of the time believed and expected. The Trinitarian explanation of these verses is that Jesus is God and so “God” means “the Father” when Jesus speaks of himself and “God.” But the Bible never says that. It's only because Trinitarian doctrine asserts that Jesus is God that the assumption is made that “God” means “the Father” when Jesus and God appear together.

Jesus prayed to God “not my will, but yours, be done” because Jesus and God have separate wills (Luke 22:42; John 5:30). They would have one will if Jesus and the Father are the same “one God.” Trinitarian doctrine claims that Luke is referring to the human will of Jesus, and not his divine will, but that is problematic because the Bible never says anything like that or even hints that Jesus had two wills in conflict with each other inside him allowing one to be human and the other to be divine.

The Bible says Jesus is an “heir” of God (Hebrew 1:2), and a “joint-heir” with us (Romans 8:17). But if Christ is a co-eternal “Person” in the “Godhead” then he cannot be an heir “of God” because being God would put him into a position to be a full owner of everything and that would mean there would be nothing he could “inherit” which is why Jesus cannot be God and an heir of God at the same time. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the “image of God” Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4). If Christ is the image of God, then he cannot be God because a person cannot be himself and an image of himself at the same time. Jesus can be called the “image” of God because he always did the will of God, and because he was the image of God is why he could say you had seen the Father if you had seen him.

Ephesians 4:4-6 says there is one God and one Lord and one spirit. This verse teaches exactly what the Jews expected based on the Old Testament and what Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others taught: that there was one God, one Lord, and one spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says “for us there is one God, the Father… and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” This simple and straightforward language elucidates that the Father is God and the Son is “Lord” making a clear differentiation between the two.

Jesus said: “…the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). In contrast, the orthodox formula of the Trinity says the Father and the Son are “co-equal.” God is greater than Christ, just as Christ is greater than we are. 1 Corinthians 3:23 says “And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” When the Bible says “you are Christ’s” it's saying “you belong to Christ” and many English versions say exactly that (i.e., CJB; HCSB; NASB; NET; NJB; NLT). So the verse is saying “and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (NASB). It seems apparent that Jesus cannot be God and belong to God at the same time.

The Bible teaches that God is the “head” of Christ. “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). The Trinitarian explanation of this verse is that God was the head of Christ only while he was on the earth, but the Bible never says that. In fact, the Bible shows us the opposite: God is still the head of Christ and directing him even after he ascended into heaven. God can be seen to be greater than the Messiah in Psalm 2 when God’s Messiah is called “his anointed” and God says “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." The Messiah is not being shown to be a co-equal ruler with God, but God’s under-ruler. God says He fathered the Messiah: “You are my Son; today I have begotten you." It's clear the Messiah was begotten at a specific time in history and that means he's not “eternally begotten” even if commentators argue about which day “today” refers to.

Peter’s teaching to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost says “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36). God must have greater authority than Jesus in order to make him the "Lord." Christ would have already been the “Lord” if he was God—in which case God would not need to “make” him the "Lord." It's also taught that Jesus must be God because he's called the “Lord.” The Greek word for Lord is kurios and is a masculine title of respect and nobility, which is why we see many others besides God and Jesus being called the “Lord."

  • Property owners are called the "Lord" (Matthew 20:8) kurios is “owner” in the NIV.
  • Heads of households are called the "Lord" (Mark 13:35) kurios is "owner."
  • Slave owners were called the "Lord" (Matthew 10:24) kurios is "master."
  • Husbands were called the "Lord" (1 Peter 3:6) kurios is "master" in the NIV.
  • A son called his father the "Lord" (Matthew 21:30) kurios is "sir."
  • The Roman Emperor was called the "Lord" (Acts 25:26) kurios is "His Majesty."
  • Roman authorities were called the "Lord" (Matthew 27:63) kurios is "sir."

The Bible says the Son will be subject to the Father even in the future “When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him [God] who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). The teaching that the two of them are “co-equal” must be wrong if Jesus is subject to the Father even in the eternal future. John 10:36 says “do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God?” The fact that Jesus was consecrated, or as it's translated in other versions as “sanctified” by God shows he's not God because God does not need to be sanctified. Philippians 2:6 says that Christ “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” The point of the verse is that Jesus Christ was highly exalted by God because he was humble and did not seek equality with God. Jesus would never have needed to seek equality with God in the first place because it would have been inherent in him if he was God.

We read in John 5:19 “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” Jesus repeated that in several different ways. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge… because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30). “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (John 7:16). “I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me” (John 8:28). “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49). Jesus would not have needed to be directed by his Father if he was God, and co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

The Old Testament referred to the Messiah as the servant of God, and we see this in Isaiah 52-53, which speaks of the suffering and death of the Messiah when referring to the Messiah as God’s “servant.” They called King David God’s “servant” when the disciples prayed to God in Acts 4:25 and later in that same prayer they called Jesus “your holy servant” (Acts 4:30) CSB; ESV; NAB; NASB; NET; NIV; NJB). They equated the Messiah as a servant of God just like David was rather than referring to Jesus as if he was God himself. There are many verses indicating that the power and authority Jesus had was given to him by the Father. Jesus Christ would have always had those things that the Scripture says he was “given” if he was the eternal God. Christ was:

  • Given “all authority” Matthew 28:18).
  • Given “a name above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
  • Given work to finish by the Father (John 5:36).
  • Given those who believed in him by the Father (John 6:39, 10:29).
  • Given glory (John 17:22, 24).
  • Given his “cup” [his torture and death] by the Father (John 18:11).
  • “Seated” at God’s own right hand (Ephesians 1:20-21).
  • “Appointed” over the Church (Ephesians 1:22).

These verses and others like them make no sense if Christ is “co-equal” with the Father because taken at face value they show Jesus is a man approved of God. A rich young ruler came to Christ and called him a “Good Teacher” (Luke 18:18). Jesus replied with “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19). Why did Jesus not compliment this young ruler for calling him “good” if Jesus was telling people he was God? Instead Jesus gave the man a mild rebuke and said that no one was good except “God” and this is evidence that Jesus was not teaching that he was God. Jesus was very quick to make the distinction between himself and God, and in doing so affirmed what this Jewish man would have already believed, which was that there is one God, and Jesus was certainly not that one God.

Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in favor with God. But if Jesus were God and part of the Trinity then he could not grow in favor with himself or the Father or the Holy Spirit. Jesus could only grow in favor with God if he himself were not God because the mutual love and blessing among the members of the Trinity would have been eternal and unchanging. When it comes to assigning positions of authority in the coming Kingdom of Christ, Jesus said those who will sit next to him as people with authority “is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23). Those positions of authority would be his to give if Jesus were God and co-equal with the Father.

And right here I think it's interesting to note that the popularity of the phrase “Deity of Christ” never appears in the Bible, nor is Christ ever called the “Deity” in the Scriptures. Colossians 2:9 says "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." This verse is stating that God placed all His fullness in Christ, which is quite different from saying that Christ is himself God. In Colossians 1:19 we read “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” That is true, but the fact that Christ has “all the fullness” of God does not make him God. Ephesians 3:19 says that Christians should be filled with “all the fullness of God” and that does not mean Christians will somehow become God.

God is all wise, but Jesus grew in wisdom. The Bible says “And Jesus increased in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). Jesus “learned obedience” (Hebrews 5:8). God does not need to learn. Trinitarians assert that it was the human part of Jesus that grew and learned, but there is not a single verse that makes that distinction. Jesus also had limited knowledge, whereas God does not. In the book of Mark we read “But concerning that day or that hour [when the Son returns] no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” And then there's Scripture teaching it was fitting that “God” should make Jesus “perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10). God is, and has always been “perfect” but Jesus needed to attain perfection through his suffering.

Jesus needed the gift of the holy spirit and he received it at his baptism of John and had it upon him when he started his ministry. He would not need the "holy spirit" if he was God, which is the very nature of God. God placed the gift of His holy spirit on the leaders and prophets of the Old Testament so that they would have spiritual power and be able to hear from Him via the spirit upon them. The Old Testament prophecies indicated that God would put His spirit upon His Messiah, showing that he was not fully equipped without it. Jesus needed the gift of the holy spirit to be spiritually powerful just as the other prophets did. Acts 10:38 says “Jesus, the one from Nazareth—how God anointed him with holy spirit and with power, and he went around doing good, and healing all those who were being oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him."

Jesus was “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrew 4:15), and yet the Bible is clear that God cannot be tempted: “for God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13). Angels ministered to and strengthened Jesus at times of weakness or difficulty and we see this in Luke 22:43 that says “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him” [in the garden of Gethsemane]. Humans need to be strengthened, but God does not need to be strengthened by angels or by anyone or anything. Scripture says very plainly that Jesus died. God cannot die. Romans 1:23 and other verses say that God is immortal. Orthodox Christian doctrine teaches only the human side of Jesus died, but that assertion is based on assumptions because there's no verse of Scripture that says anything like “only the human side of the nature of Jesus died.”

Hebrews 2:10-11 teaches that we are “brothers” of Jesus and “sons of God” and Jesus is never ashamed to call us such. Hebrews is making a distinction between God and Jesus that is very important and that we lose if we think Jesus is God. We would be “brothers of God” if that were the case, but we clearly are not that. A Trinitarian explanation is that we are brothers of the man part of Jesus, but that is adding to the text. The Bible nowhere says or implies anything like that. In John 14:12 Jesus told his disciples that “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.” If Jesus was God, then his statement would be a commission for us to do greater works than God—which is not possible. Jesus would have had to have the attributes of God if he was God, and most theologians agree that some of God’s attributes are unoriginated, self-existent, immortal, all wise, all good, all-powerful and omnipresent. But Jesus had none of those attributes.

  • He was not unoriginated. Christ was the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16).
  • He was not self-existent. “I live because of the Father” (John 6:57).
  • He was not immortal. Jesus died and God resurrected Him (Acts 13:30).
  • He was not all wise. Jesus “grew in wisdom” (Luke 2:52).
  • He was not all-powerful. Christ said “the Son can do nothing by Himself” (John 5:19).
  • He was not omnipresent. Jesus said after Lazarus died “I am glad I was not there” (John 11:15).

John 4:24 says God is Spirit and yet Jesus said about himself that he was not a spirit, but flesh and bone even after his resurrection. Jesus said when he appeared to his apostles “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). That Jesus is still flesh and bone today is exactly what we would expect if Jesus is a “man approved of God.” Part of the great hope that we Christians have is that in the future Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). So in the future we will have bodies that are like the body that Jesus has, which would hardly seem appropriate if Jesus is God in the flesh.

Jesus never taught the Trinity even when he had good opportunities to do so, and we see this when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) and told her he was the Messiah, but nothing more. Jesus did not take the opportunity to teach the Trinity when he asked the Apostles who they thought he was, and Peter said that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew 16:17-20). Also he said he was the Messiah, but did not say a word about the Trinity when he healed the man who had been born blind (John 9:35-38). Trinitarians also commonly say that Jesus claimed to be God, and for that reason the Jews hated him and tried to kill him, but that is not the case because Jesus had been stating in various ways that he was the Messiah, and that is what the Jews were upset about. The Jews all throughout their history made a clear distinction between “God” and the “Messiah” and they did not think the Messiah was going to be God or a “Person” in a triune God.

The Jews would not have considered Jesus a threat, but insane if he had walked around saying he was God. But it was a threat for Jesus to claim to be the Messiah of God and also walk around doing miracles. Jesus had not been claiming to be God in the flesh and this is why the Jews never asked him at his trial if he was God in the flesh, but instead they asked him about what he had been claiming to be, which was the Messiah. Mark 14:61-62 records the High Priest asking “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said "I am.” The High Priest tore his garments and said he deserved to be put to death when Jesus stated he was the Messiah. So we see that the Jews correctly assessed that Jesus had been claiming to be the Christ, and that Jesus indeed said he was the Christ, and also that the Jews thought his claim was worthy of the death penalty.

It's sometimes said the miracles Jesus did proved he was God, but almost every miracle that Jesus did on the earth was done in some form by earlier prophets or by the apostles. Miracles that include healing the sick, raising the dead, multiplying food, and even walking on water. In fact, the Old Testament prophets did some amazing miracles that Jesus did not do such as splitting an ocean apart, stopping a river, making the sun stop in the sky, and calling down fire from heaven. God was the one who worked the miracles through the prophets and He also worked them through Jesus (Acts 2:22).

The supposed “dual nature” of Christ is never stated in the Bible and contradicts the Bible and the laws of nature that God set up. Nothing can be 100% of two different things. Jesus cannot be 100% God and 100% man, and that is not a “mystery” but it's a contradiction and a talk of nonsense. A fatal flaw in the “dual nature” theory is that both natures in Jesus would have had to have known about each other. The Jesus God nature would have known about his human nature, and (according to what the Trinitarians teach) his human nature knew he was God, which explains why Trinitarians say Jesus taught that he was God. The book of Hebrews is wrong when it says Jesus was “made like his brothers in every respect” if Jesus knew he was God (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus was not made like other humans in every way if Jesus was 100% God and 100% human at the same time. In fact, he would have been very different from other humans in many respects.

For example, in his God nature he would not have been tempted by anything (James 1:13), and his human part would not have been tempted either since his human nature had access to that same knowledge and assurance. It is written he was tempted in every way like we all are (Hebrews 4:15). Furthermore, God does not have the problems, uncertainty, and anxieties that humans do, and Jesus would not have had those either if he knew he was God. Also, Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in wisdom, but his human part would have had access to his God part, which would have given him infinite and inherent wisdom. Hebrews says Jesus “learned obedience” by the things that he suffered, but again, the human part of Jesus would have accessed the God part of him and he would not have needed to learn anything.

Kenotic Trinitarians claim that Jesus put off or limited His God nature, but that theology only developed to try to reconcile some of the verses about what Christ experienced on the earth. The idea that God can limit what He knows or experiences as God is not taught or explained in Scripture, and Kenotic Trinitarianism has been rejected by orthodox Trinitarians for exactly that reason. The very simple way to explain the “difficult verses” that Kenotic Trinitarians are trying to explain about Christ’s human experiences is to realize that Jesus was a fully human being, and not both God and man at the same time. Some assert we have to take the Trinity “by faith” but that is not biblical either.

It's important to know who they really are in order to fully love and worship God and Jesus. God, the Father, is the Creator of the universe, the Author of the plan of Salvation, the Father of Jesus Christ, and our One God, and removing Him from that exalted position and having Him share His position as “God” with two other “Persons” diminishes who He really is and what He alone has done. Making Jesus into God actually diminishes who he was, and who he is today, and what he accomplished and is still doing. It demeans Jesus because his courage, mental tenacity, love, great faith, and his true greatness is lost if he is made to be God.

Believing Jesus is God also demonstrates disbelief in his own words when he made statements such as “my father is greater than I” and when he prayed to the Father as “the only true God.” The Father has the unique and singular position as God, and should receive all the worship, credit, respect and awe that He deserves as the One True God. Jesus Christ has the unique and singular position to receive all the worship, credit, respect and awe that he deserves as the man approved of God—the only-begotten Son of the Father.

Appendix E
Data On The Holy Spirit
The gift of God’s spirit has changed

The words “HOLY SPIRIT” in the Bible are primarily used in two very different ways: One way is to refer to God Himself and the other is referring to God’s nature that He gives to people. God is holy and is spirit and therefore “the Holy Spirit” with a capital “H” and a capital “S” is one of the many “names” or designations for God. God gives His holy spirit nature to people as a gift and when HOLY SPIRIT is used that way it should be translated as the “holy spirit” with a lowercase “h” and a lowercase “s.” The Bible says there is one God, and one Lord, who is the man Jesus Christ; and one gift of the holy spirit. Most Christians are aware that the original manuscripts of the Bible were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. However, it's not well known that Hebrew and Aramaic do not have upper-case and lower-case letters, but rather they just have one form for their letters.

Greek does have upper and lower-case letters, but the early Greek manuscripts were all written with only upper-case letters. Therefore, the early manuscripts had no such thing as the “Holy Spirit” or the “holy spirit” because what was always written was the "HOLY SPIRIT." The capital or lower-case letters are always a translator’s interpretation whenever we read “Holy Spirit” or “holy spirit” or “Spirit” or “spirit” in the English Bible. The difference is usually due to the theology of the translator. The bottom line is we cannot know from the Hebrew or Greek texts whether the Author meant the “Holy Spirit” or the “holy spirit” because we must decide based on the context and scope of Scripture whether the reference being made is to God or God’s gift.

There are many descriptions, titles, and names for God in the Bible and I would like to add God’s proper name is “Yahweh” which occurs more than 6,000 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and is generally translated as “LORD.” But God is also referred to as Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddai, the Ancient of Days, the Holy One of Israel, Father, Shield, and by many more designations. Furthermore, God is holy (Leviticus 11:44), which is why He was called “the Holy One” (the Hebrew text uses the singular adjective “holy” to designate “the Holy One." He is also spirit (John 4:24). It makes perfect sense since God is holy and God is spirit that “Holy” and “Spirit” are sometimes combined and used as one of the many designations for God. Thus, the Hebrew or Greek words for the "HOLY SPIRIT" should be brought into English as the "Holy Spirit” when the subject of a verse is God.

None of the dozens of descriptions, titles, or names of God are believed to be a separate, co-equal “Person” in a triune God except for the “HOLY SPIRIT” and there is no solid biblical reason to make the "Holy Spirit” into a separate “Person.” In other contexts the “HOLY SPIRIT” refers to the gift of God’s nature that He placed on people and the new birth to the Christian, and in those contexts it should be translated as the “holy spirit." God placed a form of His nature which is “holy spirit” upon people when He wanted to spiritually empower them because our natural fleshly human bodies do not have spirit power of their own. This holy spirit nature of God was a gift from God to humankind and we see this in the case of Acts 2:38 when the spirit is specifically called a "gift" when given to the Christian.

God put the holy spirit upon Jesus immediately after he was baptized by John the Baptist because Jesus himself needed God’s gift of the holy spirit to have supernatural power just as the leaders and prophets of the Old Testament did. This fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that God would put the holy spirit upon the Messiah enabling him in his ministry. The gift of the holy spirit was born “in” believers (John 14:17) after the Day of Pentecost rather than resting “upon” them and this is one reason why Christians are said to be “born again” of God’s spirit (1 Peter 1:3, 23). Christians have spiritual power when they receive the gift of the holy spirit (Acts 1:8) because the holy spirit is born in them and becomes part of their very nature, and this is why Christians are called God’s “holy ones” which is usually translated as “saints” in the New Testament.

God put His gift of the “holy spirit” or the “spirit” on as many people as He deemed necessary in the Old Testament, and we see this when we look at how God took the spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the 70 elders of Israel. However, today everyone who makes Jesus Christ their Lord receives the indwelling gift of the holy spirit and that's why Peter on the Day of Pentecost quoted the prophecy in Joel that said God would “pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." Many scholars admit the concept of the Trinity that also includes reference to the "Holy Spirit” as an independent “Person” cannot be found in the Old Testament. The Jews to whom the Old Testament was given did not recognize any such being. It's a well-known historical fact that “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone,” was the cry of Israel. No verse or context openly states or even directly infers that there is a separate “Person” called “the Holy Spirit."

Almost every English version translates John 14:17 similarly to “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” Translators capitalize “Spirit” and use “he” and “him” because of their theology. The Greek word “spirit” is neuter and the text could also be translated as “the spirit of truth” and paired with “which” and “it.” The New American Bible reads “which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it.” Capitalizing the “H” and “S” and using the English pronoun “He” is appropriate when God is being referred to as “the Holy Spirit.” However, when we see the “h” and “s” having the lower case such as "the holy spirit" and all the pronouns referring to that spirit being impersonal such as “it” and “which” is when the subject under discussion is the gift of God’s nature.

One of the ways we know that “pneuma hagion” often refers to the gift of God’s nature is that it “belongs” to God, who calls it “my” spirit. The spirit is called “God’s” spirit in many verses and King David understood the holy spirit belonged to God because he wrote “…do not take your holy spirit from me.” The Bible shows us that “the holy spirit” is under God’s authority and direction, which makes sense when we understand it's the gift of His nature that He gives to believers. The words “Messiah” in Hebrew (mashiyach מָשִׁיחַ) and “Christ” in Greek (christos Χριστός) both mean “anointed one.” Thus, the early Christians would have known him as “Jesus the anointed one.” God “anointed” Jesus Christ with the holy spirit and that's why Jesus was said to have been “anointed” even though people knew he had never been formally anointed with oil (Acts 4:27; 10:38).

We have no evidence in the Bible that “the Holy Spirit” was ever used as a name because no one ever used it in a direct address. Many people spoke or prayed directly to God, starting out by saying “O Yahweh” (translated as “O LORD” in almost all English versions). Furthermore, the name “Jesus” is a Greek form of the name “Joshua” (in fact, the King James Version confuses “Joshua” and “Jesus” in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8) and many people spoke “to Jesus” in the Bible. But no one in the Bible ever used “the Holy Spirit” in a direct address because there's simply no actual name for any “Person” known as “the Holy Spirit” anywhere in the Bible.

The “holy spirit” God gave in the Old Testament was God’s nature, but after the Day of Pentecost He gave His nature in a new and fuller way than He had ever given it before and this is what was foretold in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). It was because this new spirit was promised in the Old Testament that the New Testament calls it “the promised holy spirit” Ephesians 1:13; Acts 2:33; Galatians 3:14). We have the “firstfruits” of the spirit (Romans 8:23) because Christians are the first to receive this new spirit and that's why we have the guarantee that we will be in the coming Messianic Kingdom.

The gift of the holy spirit that Christians have is a gift and thus an “it.” Jesus told the apostles that the spirit would be “in” them (John 14:17)—which is what happened on the Day of Pentecost when the holy spirit went from being with or “upon” people in the Old Testament and Gospels to being born “in” people on and after the Day of Pentecost. The spirit is sent by the Father (John 14:16-17) and Jesus (John 16:7). It does not speak on its own, but it speaks only what it hears (John 16:13). Thus, the gift of the holy spirit is directed by God and Jesus, which is what we would expect since it's God’s nature born in us. The gift of the holy spirit is the nature of God, and when it's born in us it becomes part of our very nature (2 Peter 1:4).

God does not change, but the gift of God’s holy spirit that believers have today is different from the spirit that God gave in the Old Testament, and so the gift of God’s spirit has changed. The simple and straightforward reading of the Scripture is that there is one God, who is sometimes referred to as “the Holy Spirit” and one Lord who is the man Jesus Christ, and one gift of the holy spirit that is the nature of God that He gives to people.

Appendix  F
Another Teaching On Faith
Faith in the New Testament means Trust

In the New Testament “faith” is most often translated from the Greek noun pistis (#4102 πίστις), which like many other Greek words has several meanings including “trust” Romans 3:38, 1 Corintians 15:14, “faithfulness and reliability” (Proverbs 12:22, Matthew 23:23, Romans 3:3, Galatians 5:22, and “proof and pledge” (Acts 17:31). Also we find pistis in the New Testament and later Christian writings being used as a designation for the entire scope of religious practices and beliefs of the followers of Jesus as in “the Christian Faith” (Galatians 1:23). “Faithfulness” and “trust” were both very common meanings of pistis and that is why it was also used in the everyday Greek-speaking world. However, pistis in the New Testament means “trust” much more than it does “faithfulness” and when pistis is translated “faith” in phrases like “faith in God” or “faith in Christ” or “have faith” it means “trust” or “confidence” or “assurance.” The early Christians would have readily perceived the meaning of pistis as “trust” or “confidence” and that meaning can be easily confirmed by checking any good biblical lexicon or Bible dictionary such as the following...

  • “With the predominant idea of trust (or confidence)” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).
  • “Firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
  • “Firm persuasion” (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament by E.W. Bullinger).
  • “State of believing on the basis of the reliability of the one trusted; trust, confidence” (A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, W. Arndt and Wilber Gingrich, 2000; usually abbreviated “BDAG”).
  • “It is the attitude of complete trust in Christ...” (The New Bible Dictionary).
  • “In the New Testament, ‘faith’ is used in a number of ways, but primarily with the meaning ‘trust’ or ‘confidence’ in God” (Hollman Bible Dictionary).

We read in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith [pistis] is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV). The NASB uses slightly different vocabulary but gives the same message which is “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So the Bible itself defines pistis as assurance or confidence in something and a good way to express that in English is by the word “trust.” Faith has been defined and explained so many different ways that it's a difficult concept to grasp, but “trust” is simple to understand. The lexical sources listed above defined it when they defined pistis as a confidence, a firm persuasion, a conviction based on the reliability, or trustworthiness... of the person or thing that is trusted. Trust also has to have an object and by that I mean something that is trusted. The human mind cannot “just trust” because we have to trust something. It can be God, our spouse, our friend, or even that the sun will come up tomorrow, but trust requires an object because we have to trust some trustworthy thing.

And our trust does not make or force anything to happen. We trust the sun will come up, but that does not make it come up. We trust that our so-far-always-reliable-car will start when we turn the key, but that does not make it start. We trust our friend will help us in a pinch, but that does not force them to help. We trust God loves us, but that does not make Him help us in any given situation. Pistis (trust... faith) is not a force because it does not make things happen. It's easy to see why pistis, which means “trust” or “confidence” came to be translated “faith” in our English Bibles. The Latin word fides (pronounced feeˈ-dace), which means “trust” was often used to translate the Greek word pistis when the New Testament was translated into Latin and fides was a good translation because just as the Greek word pistis meant “trust or confidence” so did the Latin word fides. The Latin word fides became the root of the English word “faith” as the English language developed many centuries later as also did the word “fidelity."

The English word “trust” has Indo-European roots and came into our language via the Old Norse which is very different from the Latin root “fidelity." The English language was built over time from many different word-roots, which is a major reason why modern English has so many different words that seem to mean the same thing. The statement “take it by faith” has echoed throughout Christianity for centuries, but it never occurs in the Bible and is not a biblical concept. We cannot make ourselves trust something that is untrustworthy or that we do not understand. This concept is not well understood. It's often said “I don’t understand electricity but I trust it.” That statement is not actually correct. What most people trust about electricity is that it works because the light always comes on when we flip the switch and we always get shocked if we touch the “hot” wire. That's not “trusting electricity” as much as it's trusting that electricity reliably does certain things—and we do understand and thus trust that part.

Translating pistis as “faith” instead of “trust” has obscured the simple truth that we don’t trust what we don’t understand. Most people are not really sure of what “faith” is and so they accept the Church teaching that they can have faith in something they don’t understand. We can “accept” something and not argue about it even if we don’t understand it, but “accepting” something is not “trust.” Once we realize pistis means “trust” is when we can understand that the phrase “take it by faith” is equivalent to “just trust me.” We become suspicious and are inclined not to trust a salesperson when they say “just trust me” and so we should also think twice when someone is talking about a biblical subject and says “just take it by faith.” It should be a signal to us when a person teaching cannot explain the doctrine they are teaching and or that the doctrine is untrustworthy when we are told to “take it by faith.” The biblical meaning of the Greek word pistis is “trust” but that is not its primary meaning “on the street” today. Many Christians and most non-Christians think “faith” means “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, 2004).

Often that definition has been used to ridicule Christians and admittedly “believing in something for which there is no proof” and that seems like a questionable practice. So how did that non-biblical definition of “faith” develop? Doctrines were brought into Christianity over the centuries that were not biblically sound and some were not even logical. When those doctrines were questioned because there was no proper biblical answer is why the answer often given by the church authorities was simply “take it by faith.” The history of the Christian Church has many examples of wonderful Christians who were pressured or tortured into taking things “by faith” that did not make sense to them. Thus, over time “faith” came to mean a belief in something for which there is no proof, and the average Christian is not enough of a linguist to know that the commonly accepted definition of faith is not the actual biblical definition of the Greek and Latin text, and so they wrongly think that “belief in something for which there is no proof” is a biblical definition of “faith.” The meaning of faith changed again for many Christians in the 20th century although the meaning of “belief in something for which there is no proof” has remained alongside the newer meaning.

In what is now called “the Word of Faith Movement” is how the word “faith” has come to denote a power or force of the mind that can appropriate things that can force God or “the universe” to bring things to pass. Many denominations reject the teaching of the Word of Faith Movement because they believe biblically that “faith” is not a force or a power of the mind. However, millions of Christians believe the biblical word “faith” means a power of the mind that can bring material things into one’s life, move mountains, produce healing and bring financial wealth. Let’s say you have a friend whose car is being fixed and so you offer to give them a ride to work. They trust you will actually show up and give them the ride and so they accept. Then because you are trustworthy is why you keep your promise and give them the ride. But did their trust in you somehow force you to give them the ride? Their trust gave them the confidence to be ready to be picked up at an appointed time, but it was your power that supplied the ride. Furthermore, you did not have to offer them the ride in the first place even though they were a trusting friend. At no point did the fact that they trusted you force you to act on their behalf.

Biblical trust works the same way and this is why we trust that God can heal, but that does not force Him to heal, and our trust does not give us the power to heal without God. The fact that our trust in God does not “make” things happen explains why “faith” seems to fail so often. The Word of Faith Christian ministers and power of the mind unbelievers both believe in a "law" based on the power of the mind that allows people to get what they want by somehow affecting the physical world. One of the problems with the doctrine of the Word of Faith Movement and non-Christian groups that teach about the power of the mind is that it puts the emphasis on the individual—you. Since most of these groups teach that it's a “law” that if you have faith you can bring into your life whatever you want is how it puts the pressure on “you.” Kenneth Hagin, a Word of Faith minister once wrote “That’s what you’ve got to learn to do to get things from God... have faith in your faith” (Having Faith in Your Faith, p. 5).

E. W. Kenyon is one of the founders of the Faith Movement who wrote in his book "The Two Kinds of Faith" that “faith in your own faith is the law of success in the realm of the spirit” (p. 36). Kenneth Copeland wrote “faith is a power force. It's a tangible force. It's a conductive force. It will move things. Faith is a spiritual force” (The Force of Faith p. 13). The Word of Faith ministers say the problem is “you” when this “law” is not working in your life. We need to become clear that “having faith in your faith” is nothing more than having faith in yourself and that is not what Jesus said to do to accomplish God’s will in your life. Word of Faith ministers teach you can make things happen in the physical world by your faith and so it's common to hear them use the phrase “have faith for” or “believe for." Many Christians are surprised to learn that no phrase like “have faith for” occurs in the Bible. The reason is simple because we don’t have the power to make things happen. God has the power. This is why we read in the Scriptures to “pray for” because we can’t “believe for” things and make them happen, but we can “pray for” things and let God make them happen.

The wrong doctrine in the Word of Faith Movement about “faith” has obscured the right doctrine about “trust.” The teaching of the Word of Faith Movement has infiltrated so much of Christian thinking that for many Christians “trust” is not a good translation of pistis. Many Christians think “faith is much bigger than trust” and this is a serious problem since pistis is not “bigger than trust” because pistis is “trust.” No ancient Greek speaker would have thought pistis referred to a power or force of the mind, and they would not have thought that their own mind could tap into a spiritual “law” in such a way that they could just have pistis and then the universe would have to respond to them. Could it be possible God created us in such a way that we too are not happy when people do not trust us— and similarly could it be possible that He is not happy when people don’t trust Him? I might add just a side note here that it's impossible to have a relationship with someone if we do not believe they are there. Or to receive something from them if we do not believe they could give it to us mostly because we are not sure if they are there.

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