Question: If God is really a Trinity, then why is the word “trinity” not found in the Bible?
Answer: A common argument against the doctrine of the Trinity is that the very word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. This is often used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet they are not alone. You hear this line of reasoning quite often from various sources.
Now we admit that the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. It is a post-biblical word coined by Christian writers. However, the concept of the Trinity is definitely found in Scripture. In fact, a careful study of both Old and New Testaments reveals a wealth of Bible passages that present the Trinity to us. It is a solidly biblical concept.
Using a term such as “Trinity” for describing the Godhead came about because as the early followers of Christ examined the Scriptures, they were confronted with the reality that God is both One and Three. For centuries they struggled with how to understand this truth. In their attempts to discuss and explain the nature of the Deity, they developed a vocabulary that while not found in the Bible is still firmly rooted in the Sacred Writings.
During the same period they were also developing statements of faith to present and defend the Christian faith. These statements were called creeds, from the Latin credo, meaning “I believe.” One of these statements of faith is called “The Athanasian Creed.” It is named after the fourth century defender of the faith Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. Although not written by Athanasius, this creed presents the kind of powerful statement about the Trinity that he was known for. In a brief exposition, this creed presents a classic understanding of the nature of God as both Three and One.
The Athanasian Creed itself often comes under attack. For example, some time ago I read a post online in which a person challenged anyone to find Scripture that presented statements about the Trinity as seen in this creed. This challenge came from someone who utterly rejects the doctrine of the Trinity and does not believe it to be biblical at all. This challenge intrigued me. So I have attempted to answer it. Attached to this post you find a chart that takes the Athanasian Creed point by point and offers biblical substantiation for each point. By doing this, we not only see that the statements of this Creed are biblical, but we also see ample and cogent reasons for believing that the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed both solidly grounded and clearly presented in the Bible.
Please click on this link to view the chart: Athanasian Creed – Trinity section
(Please note: We have only used the first section of this creed, which deals with the Trinity.)