The word “trinity” is not in the Bible. Furthermore, the theological concept of the trinity is nowhere fully delineated in the Scriptures. Only one verse (1 John 5:7) appears in the King James Bible to contain an explicit reference to God as a triune being, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” It is almost the unanimous consensus of textual scholars today, however, that the words I have italicized were not a part of the original document.

The idea of the trinity, however, is what sets Christianity apart from other major religious traditions. The development of the doctrine is the result of a lengthy process that began with the witness of the first century Christians, proceeded through an elaborate discussion among the early church fathers, and concluded its first chapter with the so-called Cappadocian formulation. This formulation was codified into creeds produced at the ecumenical councils at Nicea and at Constantinople. We can summarize the doctrine of the trinity with four statements: (1) God is one; (2) God is three; (3) God is diversity; and (4) God is unity. In a word, the God we worship has revealed Himself to be a divine community.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together in different and yet interdependent ways. God the Father is the source of all things and has the authority over all things. God the Son has been delegated all authority by the Father (Matthew 28:18). God the Holy Spirit works together with the other members of the godhead in order to carry out God’s eternal purposes on the earth. Why has the one true God chosen to express himself in three different ways? At least one of the reasons is that the triune God is an expression of community. Community is part of the perfection of God and an integral part of everything he created.

Community, then, is rooted in the very center of God’s personhood. It existed before creation and finds its essence and definition deep within the being of God. It is grounded in his nature and reflects his true identity as a plurality of persons in oneness of being.

Our worship of this communal God is a reflection of, a participation in, and a celebration from within the community He has gone to great lengths to create here on earth.