This year, I’ve read several books about the Trinity. After some long talks with a friend, I realized my vocabulary about the Trinity was little more than canned Sunday School answers. To be honest, it scared me. I decided it might be helpful to study how the church arrived at the beliefs we hold.
Spending a significant amount of time learning about the Trinity has given me fresh eyes through which I can see my own church, my neighbors, and the rest of the world.
Below are a few reasons why you should probably consider studying the Trinity. I know reading theology books talking about creeds, councils, and confessions sounds boring, but I think the way it has shaped me might make you want to give it a shot.
Who God Is Reminds Us Who We Are Not
When I prod at peoples’ understanding of the Trinity, a lot of them give me the same answer: “It can’t be comprehended. It’s a mystery, and I can’t explain it.” Most of them follow this up with saying I shouldn’t study it so much because God will never be figured out.
They aren’t entirely wrong. God will never be fully figured out by us. The deepest parts of God are characterized by mystery. Even I’ll be the first to admit the Trinity is more mysterious than the time scientists revoked Pluto’s status as a planet.
When I go before God, I’m diving into the honest and complete mystery of His breadth, His fullness, and His glory. But the God’s mysteriousness doesn’t take away my thirst for Him—it only makes me thirstier.
Studying the Trinity forces me to admit my creatureliness. I am not Creator; I am creature. It’s a lot harder to believe the Earth orbits around you when you can never exhaust the One who spoke it into existence. My American lifestyle is always telling me I can be my own god, but Trinitarian theology reminds me of how tiny I am.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7), and nothing makes me fear the Lord more than the study of the Trinity.
Who God Is Sets The Stage For What God Does
The interesting thing about theology is that it depends on God more than it depends on us. If God were to stop revealing Himself to us, we would cease to know anything about Him.
In other words, we know God by His acts. And He not only reveals Himself—He reveals Himself in ways we understand. In the creation of the world, the inspiration of Scripture, and the birth of Christ, God speaks the vocabulary of humanity.
We cannot rightly understand what God does without first understanding who God is. Or, more pithily, who God is sets the stage for what God does.
All those times God did crazy things in the Old Testament?
All the miracles Jesus performed?
All that stuff in Revelation that makes John Hagee go crazy?
All of it amounts to quirky historical stories if we do not seek the Living God who is the cause of them. The more we understand Who does these acts, the more we understand the significance of what God has done in redemptive history. These events were God speaking our language.
Who God Is Assures Us Of Our Salvation
God is not a God of incompletes. In the Trinity, we explore both the true fullness of God and the completeness of the gospel. The Trinity is more than just Three Persons—these are Three Persons who tell a story.
Studying the Trinity reminds us of how we sinned against God, how God came down to die in the form of man, and how God now empowers us to live in obedience till He comes back again. To detach God from His acts is to live sloppily, but to detach God from His acts of redeeming us is to entirely miss the point!
Because we are creatures and not the Creator, we are reminded that we have always been incapable of saving ourselves. Because we only know God from what He does, we are forced to remember not only the history of our faith but also the way He acted in the gospel message.
In the Trinity, the whole of what God has done for us is summed up—we cannot ponder any aspect of it without considering the whole.
Trinitarian theology is hard. It’s not easy to come to the end of ourselves and admit that we can’t know God in our own strength. But if we reach out to find Him, we will find He is not far off from any of us (Acts 17:27). He has promised it.