The Trinity in Matthew’s Gospel

Can you show someone the Trinity from the Bible in a simple and straightforward way? Matthew’s Gospel, the first book you encounter in the New Testament, features two of my favorite references for doing so. Interestingly enough, both involve baptism. The first involves the baptism of Jesus and the second the baptism of his disciples. Let’s take a look.

The Narrative of Jesus’ Baptism

From a narrative point of view, you can turn to Matthew 3:13-17. This passage describes the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. As you read, you will notice that all three members of the Godhead were participating in this scenario simultaneously. While 1) Jesus underwent baptism, 2) the Spirit descended upon him as 3) the Father spoke audibly for all who were looking on. An example like this clearly demonstrates that God does not merely reveal himself alternately as either the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, but one at a time. He is one God and three distinct persons all at once.

The “Name” of Christian Baptism

From a grammatical point of view, you can turn to Matthew 28:19. In this verse, Matthew records instructions from Jesus for baptizing new believers. We should do this “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Normal grammar would use a plural form for the word name because three persons follow. You would expect something like “in the names of…” But Jesus used the singular form instead, followed by the threefold reference to the persons of the Godhead. This unusual grammatical arrangement indicates both unity (one God) and plurality (three divine Persons) in the Godhead. Some scholars consider this to be the clearest Trinitarian formula in the Gospels, and perhaps in the entire NT.

So there you have it. Evidence for the Trinity exists throughout the Bible, and these two references are merely a sample. But the next time you’re wondering where to go for a handy reference to the Trinity, you can turn to Matthew.

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