Is the concept or doctrine of the trinity found in the Old and New Testaments, even though the word “trinity” isn’t mentioned?
By “trinity” is meant that within the one God, there are three distinct personalities/persons; one Being or essence, but tri-personal. God is a plurality.
The name “Elohim” is a plural noun having the masculine plural Hebrew ending “im”. It is used of the true God in Gen. 1:1, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth…” It is also used of false gods (plural) as in Ex. 20:3, “You shall have no gods (Elohim) before Me…” or as in Deut. 13:2, “Let us go after other gods (Elohim)…” While the use of the plural Elohim doesn’t prove the trinity, it shows the possibility of the plurality in the Godhead. It is often called the “plurality of majesty” in a singular sense of the one true God. For this reason, singular verbs are usually used with this plural noun (Elohim) to show God’s singular Being as in Gen. 1:1, “God created” (a singular verb in Hebrew). But Elohim is also used with plural verbs, emphasizing the plurality of this one God, as in Gen. 20:13, “when God caused” (literally, “They caused”, a Hebrew plural verb is used). Or, as in Gen. 37:7, “God appeared” (literally, “They appeared”, a Hebrew plural verb is used). The writers of the Old Testament could have used the singular form of “Elohim”, which is “Eloah”, if they wanted to communicate God as only singular (e.g., Deut. 32:15, 17). Yet, this singular noun for God is used only 250 times while “Elohim” (plural) is used 2,500 times.
Also, when God speaks of Himself, He often uses a plural pronoun, as in Gen. 1:26, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. ’” Or, as in Gen. 3:22 and Gen. 11:7. In Isaiah 6:8 it says, “the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’” Both the singular “I” and the plural “Us” are used, thereby, showing God as a plurality in a unity (plurality of persons in the one Being/God).
Also, Hebrew nouns and adjectives used in speaking of God are plural. Eccles. 12:1 says, “Remember now your Creator (literally, “Creators”, in Hebrew); Psa. 149:2 says, “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker” (literally, “Makers”, in Hebrew); and Isa. 54:5 says, “For your husband is your Maker” (literally, “husbands and Makers”, in Hebrew).
While Deut. 6:4, “The LORD is our God, the LORD is one” shows that God is one (Heb. “echad”), this oneness is a compound “one” and not an absolute “one”. It’s the same Hebrew word used in Gen. 2:24, where a man and a woman become one (echad) flesh in marriage. Or, in Ezra 2:64, where the whole assembly was as one (echad), though it was composed of numerous people. Or, in Ezek. 37:17, where two sticks are combined to become one (echad), showing this word to mean a compound and not an absolute unity. There is a Hebrew word, “yachid”, which means an absolute unity or oneness or the only one. This is seen in Judges 11:34, “she was his one (yachid) and only child”. If Moses wanted to teach God’s absolute oneness as opposed to His compound unity, he would have used “yachid” instead of “echad”.
God is at least two different personalities/persons. In Psa. 45:6-7 “Elohim” (God) is applied to two different personalities in the same verse, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows.” The first Elohim is being addressed, and the second Elohim is the God of the first Elohim. Hebrews 1:8-9 states that God the Father is addressing His Son (Jesus) in this quote from Psalm 45.
God is three different personalities/persons.
In Isa. 48:12-16, it states, “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call them, they stand together … Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.” In this passage, the speaker (God) who created the earth distinguishes Himself from the Lord God and then from God’s Spirit. Here, the trinity is seen in one verse (Isa. 48:16).
“YHVH” (“Yahweh”) is the Hebrew word for “LORD”, the name of God (“I AM”) in Ex. 3:14. In Isa. 63:7-14, the trinity is also seen.” I will make mention of the lovingkindness of the LORD (YHVH) …. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them …. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy …. Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them … As the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest…” In this passage, there are the LORD (YHVH) – Isa. 63:7, the angel of His (YHVH) presence – Isa. 63:9, and His (YHVH) Holy Spirit – Isa. 63:10-11, or the Spirit of the LORD – Isa. 63:14. Three different persons, all of whom, however, are the LORD (YHVH). The angel of His presence (Isa. 63:9) is the angel of the LORD (Ex. 33:14-15; 40:34-38; 23:20-23), and the angel of the LORD is God/the LORD (Ex. 3:2-7). That the angel of the LORD is the LORD can also be seen in Gen. 16:7, 13; 22:11-12, 15-16; and Gen. 31:11-13. Yet, the angel of the LORD is a distinct/different person from the LORD as seen in Ex. 23:20-23; Judges 13:16, 21-22; and Gen. 24:7, 40 with Gen. 24:27, 48.
Much of the above is taken from Dr. Lawrence Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 313; Dr. Merrill Unger, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 411; Dr. J. D. Douglas, The New Bible Dictionary, p. 478; and Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s “Jewishness and the Trinity”.
Further evidence for the trinity:
The prophet David calls the coming Messiah/Christ, Lord and distinguishes Him from the LORD in Psa. 110:1-4 (also seen in Matt. 22:41-45). David also calls the coming Christ/Messiah, God and distinguishes Him from God in Psa. 45:7 (also seen in Heb. 1:8-9 as God’s Son being called God). And Psa. 2:2, 6-12 shows the LORD’S Anointed/Messiah to be God’s Son, whom the throne is given to. David is also aware of the Holy Spirit as God yet distinct from God as seen in Psa. 51:10-11 and 139:1, 7.
The prophet Isaiah calls the coming son who is to be born of a virgin, God or Immanuel in Isa. 7:14, yet distinguishes Him from the Lord in the same verse. And in Isa. 9:6, Isaiah calls the coming child/son, Mighty God, yet distinguishes Him from the LORD who gave Isaiah this message (Isa. 8:11). Then in Isa. 11:1-4, Isaiah speaks about a shoot/branch from the stem of Jesse ruling the earth in the future, who is the same person referred to in Isa. 9:6 as the child/son called Mighty God who will have the government rest on His shoulders yet Isaiah distinguishes Him from the Spirit of the LORD in Isa. 11:2 and from the LORD in Isa. 11:3. So the trinity is seen in Isa. 11:1-4. The prophet Moses talks about the LORD/God in Ex. 31:1 and Ex. 35:30 as distinct from the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) in Ex. 31:3 and Ex. 35:31. And in Ex. 20:1, God is seen as distinct from God’s angel in Ex. 23:20-23 who is God (Ex. 3:2-7). Since no man has seen God (the Father – Ex. 33:20; Jn. 1:18), yet Abraham saw God in the form of an angel/man (Gen. 18:1-2, 9-22; 19:1), and Jesus said that Abraham saw Him (Jn. 8:56-58), therefore Abraham saw Jesus as an angel/man/God in Gen. 18. This makes sense since Jesus existed from eternity past (Micah 5:2 with Matt. 2:4-6; Jn. 1:1-2, 14-17; 17:5).
The prophet Jeremiah distinguishes the LORD from the coming Messiah/Christ, who is called “the LORD our righteousness” in Jer. 23:5-6. And the Psalmist in Psa. 104:24-25, 30 distinguishes God from God’s Spirit as two different persons.
The Trinity in the New Testament briefly speaking:
The Father is called God in 2 Pet. 1:17.
Jesus is called God in Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1; Col. 2:9; 1 Jn. 5:20; Jn. 1:1-2, 14-18 or viewed as God (Jn. 10:30, 33; 5:18; 14: 9-10; Heb. 1:8-9).
The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Matt. 3:16; 2 Cor. 3:3.
The three persons of the one God are seen together in Matt. 28:19 and 2 Cor. 13:14. One God (1 Tim. 2:5).
From all of the above it is rather obvious that the one God is in three distinct persons, a trinity.