Indwelling of the Trinity

Indwelling, Not Mingling

It is crucial to both understand the intimacy of the relationship between Jesus and the Father and between them and us. For each statement, there are specific meanings 4 , and limitations on meaning D . Italicized verses give examples, Tilde "~" verses indicate but do not prove, and the other verses prove the points.

1. As Jesus is In the Father, We Are In Jesus, and Jesus Is In Us

ü There is a connection between these relationships: Father-Jesus, Jesus-Us, Us-Jesus. Jn 14:20; 17:23; 6:57

D There is more to the Trinity than just this analogous relationship. Mt 28:19; Jn 1:1,18; Php 2:6-7; Col 1:15

ü 4 The Father, Jesus, and us all share some things, like eternal life. Jn 16:13-15

The Father & Jesus "own" all in common. Jn 16:15; 17:10. The H.S. reveals this to us. Jn 16:14-5

D The Father does not have some things we share with Jesus after His human birth. Heb 1:6-10; 2:14; 7:3

2. As the Father and Jesus are One, We are to Be One

ü We are to be one with each other in some ways similar to the Father and Jesus. Jn 17:11,21-22

D They are One in some ways we cannot be one. Jn 5:23

3. The Father lives in Jesus

ü On earth the Father lived in Jesus. Jn 10:38; 14:10-11. Jesus was filled with the Spirit. Lk4:1,18

ü If you really know Jesus, then you know the Father and have seen the Father. Jn14:7-9

D The Father did not become, progress, or turn into Jesus. Heb 13:8; 1:9; Jn 14:10,24,26; 15:1; 16:27-8,32; 17:5

4. Jesus lives in the Father

ü On earth Jesus was in the Father. Jn 10:38; 14:11

D They are distinct; Jesus was not a ventriloquist. Mt 3:16; Jn 8:18. Jesus was forsaken at Calvary. Mk 15:34; Mt 27:46

ü No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Jn 14:6; 6:45; ~8:24; Acts 3:12

D As close as they were on earth, Jesus still would be going to the Father. Jn 14:12; Mk 16:19; Jn 20:11

ü Jesus is called Everlasting Father, which may refer to being the source of everlasting life. Is9:6

D Jesus did not become, progress, or turn into the Father. Heb 13:8; ~Rev 5:13; Jn 20:17; 14:10,24,26; 15:1

5. God/Father/Christ/the Spirit is in Us

ü People see God through us and in us.

D God does not live solely in us, any more than stars exist solely in telescopes. 1 Tim 6:16; Jer 23:24; Rev 19:11

ü Father/Jesus/the Spirit also actually dwells/makes their home in every believer. Jn 14:17,23; 17:26; Rom 8:9-11; Gal 3:6; 1 Cor 6:19; 1 Jn 4:15-16; 2 Tim 1:14

D God/Father/Christ/Spirit did not become us, or turn into sinful man. Jms 1:13; Heb 4:15: 1 Pet 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5

ü God works and acts in us and through us. Php2:13;1 Cor 15:10; Rom 15:18-19

ü God's people, the church, are together Christ's body. 1 Cor 6:15; 10:17; 12:27; Eph 4:12; Co1:24.

D We are not Christ's physical body. Co1:22. God is not limited to acting though us. Gen 1; Acts 9:1-6; Rev

ü Helping/Not helping us is the same as to Jesus Christ. Mt 25:35-45; Jn 13:20; Acts 9:4-5; 22:7-8; 26:14-15

D People can praise or revile God directly without doing things to believers. Rom 1:18-32; Rev 9:20-21

6. We Live in God/Father/Christ/the Spirit

ü We are in Jesus and the Father. Jn 17:21; Col 2:6,12; 3:3-4; 1 Jn 4:12,15-16; 5:20.

ü We must remain in Jesus Christ and in His love. Jn 15:1-9; 1 Jn 2:27

D We are not fully with God now; we still need to go and be with God. 2 Cor 5:8; 1 Cor 13:12; Php 1:23

ü Because Jesus lives, we will live. Jn 14:19; Col 3:4; 1 Cor 15:12-22; ~1 Th 4:13-17

D We do not become, progress, evolve, or turn into God or Christ; rather we become godly and Christ-like. Isa 42:8; 43:10; ~Rev 7:13; Rom 8:29; 1 Jn 3:2; Php3:21

ü We're new creations in Christ. 2 Cor 5:17; ~Rom 7:1-6. We've the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:16; ~Rom 12:2

D We do not become zombies; we are still to have our own (renewed) minds & personalities.1 Cor 6:2-6; 11:13; 13:11+14:20; Rom 14:5-6

Early Church Teaching on the Trinity

The following church leaders of the early and post-Nicene church taught the doctrines of the Trinity. It is interesting to note that the Jehovah Witness Watchtower publication Can You Believe the Trinity? quotes most of these church fathers to attempt to show they did not believe in the Trinity.



Statements and Beliefs

Ignatius: disciple of John the Apostle died 107/116

17 places: Letter to Polycarp chapter 3 Ephesians 7

" Jesus is God"

" God Incarnate"

Diognetus (130)

To Mathetes

Christ sent as King, God, man, and savior

Justin Martyr: died 110/114-165

Dialogue with Trypho ch. 55-56,59,61-64,66,74-78

" Deserving to be worshipped as God and Christ." Erred in thinking a time before Christ existed.

Theophilus of Antioch (115-181)

To Autolycus 2:22

what else is this voice [in the Garden of Eden] but the Word of God, who is also His Son?

Tertullian died 200-220/240

Entire book Against Praxeus

First to use the term Trinity.

Irenaeus: disciple of John the Apos-tle. 120-202

Against Heresies 3:19:2

" Jesus is Himself in His own right, ...God, & Lord, ..."

Clement of Alexan-dria 153-220

Stromata 5:14,

The Instructor

" the Holy Trinity"

Hymn in praise of Jesus: " Lord of all time and space; Jesus Savior of our race; "

Hippolytus disciple of Irenaeus 170-236

Against the Heresy of One Noetus

" Son of God who, being God became man."

Origen of Alexan-dria 184-254

de Principis 1.3.8

Origen was very contro-versial in his time, but his views on the Trinity were not questioned.

" the power of the Trinity is one and the same." Origin erred on pre-existence of souls and eventual human universalism

Novatian 210-280

Treatise on the Trinity

enough said.

Athanasius died 296-373

Sermon on Luke 10:22

United without confusion, distinguished without separation, Indivisible without degrees

Basil of Cappadocia 329-379

Letter 8 to the Caesareans, On the Spirit

The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. Discusses Arian controversy

Gregory of Nyssa 335-394

On Not Three Gods, Against Eunomius

nature of the Father & Son is the same

Hilary 353-368

Wrote a book on The Trinity

Enough said

Ambrose of Milan 340-397

On the Christian Faith

Holy, Holy, Holy in Rev 4:8 referred to the Trinity.

John Chrysostom 370-407

Homily 3 on John 1:1

Word's eternity as a person; uncreated

Augustine of Hippo 354-430

Book: On the Trinity

Did not accept any difference in rank

Nestorius: Council of Ephesus 431

Started Nestorianism

His belief that Jesus was God was never criticized

Cyril of Alexandria 431-444

Nestorius' main opponent at the Council of Ephesus

Started emphasis on Mary the mother of God. (unfortunately)

Patrick of Ireland 389-461

did not write much

famous cloverleaf analogy

Please read the quotes on the reverse side to see the good teaching they have for us.

The Church Fathers on the Trinity

Ignatius (died 107/116)

About the Lord's second coming " Look for Him that is above the times, Him who has not times, Him who is invisible, Him who for our sakes became visible, Him who is impalpable [beyond touch], Him who is impassable [beyond passion], Him who for our sakes suffered, Him who endured everything in every for our sakes." Letter to Polycarp chapter 3.

Diognetus to Mathetes (written 130)

" As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God(1) He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Saviour He sent Him,..." ch.7 The footnote (1) says " God" here refers to the person sent.

Justin Martyr (110/114-165)

" for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abcission, so as to lessen the word [which remains] in us, when we give it out; and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; ... The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter, will bear evidence to me..."Dialogue with Trypho ch. 61.

Theophilus bishop of Antioch (115-181)

" For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice. But what else is this voice but the Word of God, who is also His Son? To Autolycus 2:22

Tertullian (200-220/240)

" The Word, therefore, is both always in the Father, as He says, 'I am in the Father; ' and is always with God, according to what is written, 'And the Word was with God; ' and never separate from the Father, or other than the Father, since 'I and the Father are one.'"Against Praxeus chapter 8.

Irenaeus (120-202)

" But that He [Jesus] is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have obtained to even a small portion of the truth." (Irenaeus Against Heresies 3:19:2).

" Know thou that every man is either empty or full. For if he has not the Holy Spirit, he has no knowledge of the Creator; he has not received Jesus Christ the life; he knows not the Father who is in heaven; ..." (Against Heresies 3:16)

" She [the church] also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul.... For the churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different nor do those in Spain nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East nor those in Egypt nor those in Libya, nor ..."

Hippolytus (170-236) after quoting part of John 1:1

" If, then the Word was with God and was also God what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods? I shall not indeed speak of two Gods but of one; of two Persons however and of a third economy (disposition), viz., the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father indeed is One but there are two Persons because there is also the Son; and then there is the third the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes and the Son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of the harmony is led back to one God; for God is One. It is the Father who commands and the Son who obeys and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding; the Father is above all, and the Son who is through all and the Holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot otherwise think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit."Against the Heresy of One Noetus chapter 14.

Athanasius (296-373)

" United without confusion, distinguished without separation. Indivisible and without degrees."Sermon on Luke 10:22

" For it is only on the cross that a man dies with his hands spread out. Whence it was fitting for the Lord to bear this also and to spread out His hands that with the one He might draw the ancient people, and with the other those from the Gentiles and unite both in Himself."Incarnation 25:3

Basil of Cappadocia (329-379)

" when all the while they ought to confess that the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, as they have been taught by the divine words,..."Letter 7 to Caesareans (p.116)

Hilary (353-368)

" The deeds of God therefore are beyond the understanding of our human nature and do not fit in with our rational process of thought because the operation of a limitless eternity demands an infinite comprehension of measuring things. So it is not a conclusion of reason but a limitation of power when God became man, when the Immortal dies, when the Eternal is buried. Again, on the other hand it does not depend on our manner of thinking but on omnipotence that He appears as God from a man, as immortal from one who is dead, and as eternal from one who is buried. Hence we are revivified by God in Christ through his death."Trinity 1:14

" Since unless things are of the same nature they are never accorded equal honor, and equality of honor does not bring about a separation in those who are being honored. But the mystery of the birth demands equality of honor." (on John 5:23)

Gregory of Nyssa (335-394)

" When we say that the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is one, and yet forbid men to say 'there are three Gods'?"On " Not Three Gods"

Ambrose of Milan (340-397)

" These words, then, are written with regard to God, of which Name the dignity and truth are common to [both the Father and] the Son."Of the Christian Faith 3:3:17.


The church did not have non-Trinitarians. Gnostics, Arians, and other heretics were excluded from the church. The doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and others are modern inventions.

Watchtower Statements on the Trinity

Watchtower magazine 2/1/1977 p.95 in Rom 10:12, the identity of " Lord" cannot be established with certainty from the context. In other words JW's cannot say who their Lord is. (See 1 Cor 12:4-6).

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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.