Why is there 3 persons in the Godhead when God is One? 

Let’s allow the Bible to answer the question: why is there 3 persons in the Godhead when God is One?

The Godhead

Although the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, the concept of the Godhead is found there. The Old Testament presents two words in Hebrew which mean “one”:  

Echad – Strong’s Hebrew: 259. אֶחָד means one unit that consists of more than one (ex. Genesis 1:5, 9; 2:21, 24; 3:22; Deuteronomy 6:4; Numbers 13:23; Ezekiel 37:17).  

Yachid – Strong’s Hebrew: 3173. יָחִיד  means one and one only (ex. Jeremiah 6:26; Genesis 22:2,12,16; Judges 11:34; Psalm 25:16; Proverbs 4:3; Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10). 

God referred to Himself with the word “Echad.” “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Echad)” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This means He is a complex Being; He is plural. If Yahweh wanted to say I am one and only one, He would have used the word (Yachid).

References to the 3 Persons of the Godhead in the OT

1- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1, 2). Here, is a reference to God and the Holy Spirit in the work of creation.

 2- “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).  The plural “us” was considered by the early church scholars as pointing to the three Persons of the Godhead. The statements that man was to be made in “our” image leads to the understanding that those communicating must be persons of the same Godhead. 

3- “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). The word “us” necessitates the presence of at least two persons communing together.

4- “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7). Here, the use of the pronoun “us” again, indicates the participation of at least two persons of the Godhead.  

5- “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heaven” (Genesis 19:24). Here, we see two members of the Godhead acting on the Judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah.  

6- “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated… I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him” (Daniel 7:9, 13). Here, God the Father is present with the Son in a prophetic vision.

7- “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7). Here, the Father acknowledges Jesus as His Son.

8- “Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Psalm 45:7). Here, God the Father has anointed the Son as the Messiah.

9- “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Psalm 110:1). Substituting the Hebrew words for “Lord,” we have the following, “Yahweh said unto ’adoni.” According to Jesus’ words affirming His deity, the dialogue took place between God the Father and God the Son (Matthew 22:41-45).

10- “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Here, Jesus the Son is no less God than the Father. He was one with the Father from the days of eternity (Psalms 90:2; Proverbs 8:22–30; Micah 5:2).  

References to the 3 Persons of the Godhead in the NT

1- “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him. And suddenly a voice [the Father] came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16,17). 

2- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). 

3- “And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My [the Father’s] beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22). 

4- “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My [Jesus’] name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). 

5- “When the Helper comes, whom I [Jesus] will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (John 15:26). 

6- “And being assembled together with them, He [Jesus] commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4,5). 

7- “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Jesus] has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:33). 

8- “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). 

9- “Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). 

10- “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). 

11- “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). 

12- “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17). 

13- “For through Him [Jesus] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). 

14- “In whom [Jesus] you also are being built together into a dwelling of God [Father] in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). 

15- “Whom [the Holy Spirit] He [the Father] poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:6). 

16- “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God [Father], cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). 

17- “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: may grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Peter 1:2). 

18- “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord [Jesus]. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God [Father] who works all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). 

19- “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20-21). 

20- “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord [Jesus], one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). 

Conclusion

Both the Old and the New Testaments reveal the 3 persons of the Godhead working unitedly for the salvation of man. “From the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 1:4–6 ).

In His service, 

BibleAsk Team