Old & New Testament Harmony on the Doctrine of the Trinity

Matthew 3:16,17

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): It would be almost unpardonable, not to take notice of the testimony here given to the doctrine of the Trinity; since a voice was heard from the “Father” in heaven, bearing witness to “the Son” in human nature on earth, on whom “the Spirit” had descended and now abode. The ancients looked upon this as so clear and full a proof of this truth, that they were wont to say, “Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity.”

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all, 2 Corinthians 13:14. This text, as well as that, strongly marks the doctrine of the holy Trinity. And had not the apostle been convinced that there was a personality in this ever-blessed and undivided Trinity, he could not have expressed himself thus.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Now you would not expect to find the doctrine of the Trinity expounded as clearly in the Old Testament as in the New―but it is there in the Old Testament. In the very first chapter of Genesis you will find the doctrine of the Trinity quite plainly, if you will look for it. Take that name of God―Elohim. It is a plural term. God speaks of Himself in the plural.

JOHN GILL: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, Genesis 1:1. The original Hebrew word אלהים Elohim, God, is certainly the plural form of אל El, or אלה Eloah, and has long been supposed, by the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature…He must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in the above words. The verb ברא bara, He created, being joined in the singular number with this plural noun, has been considered as pointing out, and not obscurely, the unity of the Divine Persons in this work of creation.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Do you remember what He says about the creation of man in Genesis 1:26? “Let us make man in our image.” Why is that? There is only one adequate explanation; it is because of the blessed Holy Trinity. It is stated of man in Genesis 3:22: “Behold, the man is become as one of us.” And then in connection with the Tower of Babel, in Genesis 11:7, we read: “Let us go down, and there confound their language.”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him,” Psalm 149:2. Let Israel “rejoice in his Makers”―so it is in the original Hebrew―for God said, “Let us make man;” and in this, some think, is the mystery of the Trinity.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out,” Isaiah 42:5. In Hebrew, it is “and they that stretched them out;” noting the Trinity in unity…The prophets and patriarchs of old did well understand the mystery of the sacred Trinity. Elihu speaks of the Almighty his “makers,” Job 35:10. Solomon does the same, Eccelesiates 12:1, “Remember thy Creators.

MATTHEW HENRY: “Thy Creators.” The Hebrew word is plural, as it is in Job 35:10, Where is God my Makers?

JOHN GILL: But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God,” Jeremiah 10:10 . The words are in the plural number, “He is the living Gods;” as denoting a trinity of Persons in the unity of the divine essence: for though the words אלהים חיים, “living Gods,” that is, living divine Ones, or Persons, are in the plural number, yet הוא, “He,” is in the singular; which is worthy of observation.

ANDREW BONAR (1810-1892): The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken,” Psalm 50:1.―“El, Elohim, Jehovah has spoken!” So reads the Hebrew.

JOHN GILL: Some have observed that these three names, El, Elohim, Jehovah, here mentioned, have three very distinct accents set to them, and which being joined to a verb singular דּבּד, hath spoken, contains the mystery of the trinity of Persons in the unity of the divine Essence.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): While He proclaims His unity, He distinctly sets it before us as existing in three persons.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And then you find it in Isaiah chapter 6:8: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” You see, these very terms suggest the Trinity.

JOHN TRAPP: So, Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD,” when Moses begins to rehearse the law, and to explain it, the first thing he teaches them is the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity.

JOHN GILL: There is an entire harmony and agreement between the writings of Moses, and the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New, in all the doctrines of the Gospel revelation; in the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence, and of the proper deity of each person.

B. B. WARFIELD (1851-1921): Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation which follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged―and it is important that the continuity of the revelation of God contained in the two Testaments should not be overlooked or obscured…

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matthew 28:19. It does not say, “In the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” as if we had to deal with three separate Beings…With stately impressiveness it asserts the unity of the three by combining them all within the bounds of the single Name; and then throws up into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” These three, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each stand in some clear sense over against the others in distinct personality.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): As the Father is mentioned, and as the Son is mentioned, so is the Holy Ghost; and the whole is summed up as being a Trinity in unity, by its being said, not the names, but the “name” the glorious name, the Jehovah name, “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

ADAM CLARKE: And had not our Lord intended to be understood in this way, He would not have given such a commission to His apostles, to baptize the nations “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The doctrine is the teaching of God, let men make of it what they please.


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