Erickson on the Trinity

C.S. Lewis once famously said:

‘For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand’.

That was my experience this morning. I was reading Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology and read through his section on the Trinity.  It was soo good for my heart, mind, and soul. No, I didn’t have a pipe in my teeth (I had an iced coffee instead) or a pencil in hand, but I did have my computer on, and I typed up these notes for you/me.

Erickson, 346-367 (21 pages): God’s Three-in-Oneness: The Trinity

1)      The Biblical Teaching

  1. The Oneness of God[1]
    1. 10 Commandments: rest on the uniqueness of Jehovah.
    2. Shema (Dt. 6)
    3. James 2:19; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; 1 Tim. 2:5-6;
  2. The Deity of Three[2]
    1. Father as deity: Mt. 6:26; 19:23-26; 27:46; Mk 12:17, 24-27.
    2. Jesus as deity: (developed in Christology section)[3]
      1. In NT Thought
        1. Philippians 2:5-11;
        2. Hebrews 1
        3. in his own thought:
          1. God’s angels (Luke 12:8-9; 15:10) are his angels (Mt. 13:41)
          2. God’s kingdom (Mt. 12:28; 19:14,24; 21:31,43) and God’s elect (Mk 13:20) are his.
          3. Forgave sins (Mk. 2:8-10), judge the world (Mt. 25:31), reign over the world (Mt. 24:30; Mk 14:62)
          4. Response to accusations he claimed deity
            1. At trial. (John 19:7; Mt. 26:63-65)
            2. Thomas (John 20:28)
    3. Holy Spirit as God[4]
      1. Acts 5:3-4: Lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God.
      2. Convicts people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11).
      3. Regenerates and gives new life (John 3:8).
      4. Also receives honor and glory (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
      5. God dwells in believers (1 Cor. 3:16-17), and Spirit dwells in believers (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
      6. Holy Spirit put on equal footing with God (Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2)
  3. Three-in-Oneness[5]
    1. 1 John 5:7 – weak textual tradition
    2. Elohim: G.A.F. Knight, A Biblical Approach to the Doctrine of the Trinity, 1953
    3. Gen. 1:27 – “our image”
    4. Mt. 28:19-20: singular “name” with three persons listed.
    5. 2 Cor. 13:14
    6. Implicit: Luke 1:35 – conception of Christ by Spirit; Mt. 3:16-17 – Christ’s baptism; Luke 24:49; Acts 2:33,38; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; Gal. 4:6; Rm. 15:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph 3:14-19; 1 Peter 1:1-2,20-21)
    7. Organization of Paul’s books, esp. Romans and Galatians.[6]
    8. Evidence from John.[7]
    9. Although the doctrine of the Trinity is not expressly asserted, Scripture, particularly the New Testament, contains so many suggestions of the deity and unity of the three persons that we can understand why the church formulated the doctrine, and conclude that they were right in so doing.”[8]

[1] 348

[2] 350

[3] 350

[4] 352

[5] 352

[6] 356

[7] numerous references, 357

[8] 357

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