How the Trinity is God’s Tool for Mercy Throughout the Christian Bible

Lucas D. Elliott

Department of Communications, Liberty University

Theo 104: Introduction to Theology Survey

Dr. Jeffrey Mayfield

July 12, 2020

DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.12697877

How the Trinity is God’s Tool for Mercy Throughout the Bible

The Trinity is an awe-inspiring aspect of God. The fact that God is composed of the Father, son, and the Holy Spirit all in one person yet each also a full person, is something that is impossible to fully grasp. That does not stop one from trying to understand at least some of this strange nature of God, as attempting to understand everything is part of the curious human nature the creator gave his people. The purpose of this article is to analyze the Trinity, how it relates to God’s mercy, and how both God’s mercy and the nature of the Trinity unfold throughout the complex story of the Bible.

Etymology of Trinity

The actual word “trinity” is never used in the Bible, and was in fact first used to describe the nature of the three-persons of God until about 170 AD when Theophilus of Antioch coined the term (Fulton, The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 2016). Since then, it quickly became the word of choice to describe the three-persons of God. The term became officially attached to Christianity with the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD (Carroll, 1987).

The Trinity in the Bible

However, the Bible does reference the Bible. Biblically, the three persons of the Trinity can be seen in many passages such as Mathew 3:16-17 which reads, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” However, this passage does not show the three-in-one nature of God as it is often described, only that the three persons exist.

Indeed, while the three persons of God are shown in the Bible again and again, the actual nature of the trinity is not directly told more than once or twice. Instead, readers must pay close attention to catch little aspects of the bible that indicate something more than three individuals. God reveals himself to his people in many ways. There’s General Revelation, which is available to all, such as the complexity of the world and the design of mankind. At the start of Gabriel Etzel and Ben Gutierrez’s book Theology Applied: A Living Faith, they said “It has been said that everyone is a theologian, because everyone has thoughts about God. At its core, that statement is true of everyone who has ever lived, because we all have thoughts and ideas about God.” (Etzel & Gutierrez, 2016, pg. 3). God also reveals himself in Special Revelation, a more personal display of who God is through the Bible (Etzel & Small, 2016).

Sometimes the revelations of the Trinity are rather subtle, but the least subtle passage would likely be John 10:30 where Jesus says, “I and my father are one”. The Jewish leaders, fully aware of what Jesus is saying, stoned Jesus in response to the “blasphemy” of his claim since they did not believe Jesus to be the promised Messiah, fully man, and fully God. In Acts, Peter, one of the 12 apostles, also references the trinity showing his people that the Holy Spirit is God. “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”” (Acts 5:3-4, NIV). In this passage, Paul states that lying to the Spirit is lying to God, implying they are the same person.

The Trinity Unfolding

All in all, it is not this paper’s purpose to prove the Trinity’s existence, but to analyze how it unfolds in the Bible and how it relates to God’s Mercy. Readers of the Bible first see the persons of the Trinity in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NIV). Notice the “us” in the beginning of this passage. When God is saying that he is not referring to himself and the Angels. In fact, the Bible states that Angels do not look like God or humans (Stewart, D. 2007). In this passage God the father is referring to himself, the Holy Spirit, and the son Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Old Testament, Jesus, one of the three-persons of God, is promised repeatedly. There’s the class passage “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” found in Isaiah 7:14. A deeper example would be the Story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, where God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac for him, but gives a lamb at the last second instead to take Isaac’s place. Sound familiar? It should, as Jesus was the lamb of God that took everyone’s place.

God’s Mercy and its Relation to the Trinity

But how does this relate to God’s Mercy? What is God’s Mercy? God’s Mercy can be defined as God’s nature to not give us what we deserve, specifically eternal punishment for our sin. God’s Mercy works in parallel with his Grace, which is his nature to give us what we don’t deserve, such as a sacrifice so we may have forgiveness and eternal life. These natures of God work in parallel. The Bible teaches its followers that God is perfectly just, which means he cannot let sin go unpunished. Yet God wanted his followers to have forgiveness. God used his three-person nature to accomplish this. Jesus lived as man, but perfectly, not deserving death, yet he still allowed himself to face death. Being infinitely perfect, he was able to take the place for everyone and rise from death as proof of his victory. All anyone must do to accept the sacrifice of God is believe and trust in him.

A Complex Story

The Entire story of the Bible leads its readers to the wonderful gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus. God’s plan from the start was to show his people Mercy. God used his three-personed nature to do this by taking the place of his people and paying the debts of sin. Jesus also promised that he is still with his followers today after he returned to heaven. He gave us the Holy Spirit of God, the third aspect of the Trinity, God in our hearts, personal and pure. It is amazing how complex the Holy Bible is. The bible is like a well-written fiction, with complex characters and subtle yet powerful foreshadowing. What is wonderful about this story compared to others, is that this one is true.


The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics: (2016). The Expository Times.

Carroll, Warren (1 March 1987), The Building of Christendom, Front Royal: Christendom College Press, ISBN 978-0-931888-24-3, retrieved 24 February 2014.

Gabriel Etzel (2015). (p. 3). Theology Applied: A Living Faith, Revised Ed.. B&H Academic. Retrieved from

Etzel & Small, Everyday Series: Theology (2016). Ch. 2.

Stewart, D. (24 Apr, 2007). What Do Angels Look Like?. Retrieved from

10.6084/m9.figshare.12697877 Registered & Protected

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *