When I was in college, I worked a side job at an auto parts store. One of my coworkers was a very committed Jehovah’s Witness. We had quite a few dialogues! He denied the doctrine of the Trinity for several reasons. One reason for his denial was that he couldn’t find a good proof text that teaches it. That might be a debatable point, but when we think about the historic doctrine of our Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – it’s a “whole Bible” reality. It’s not like there are four proof texts for the doctrine of the Trinity, and that’s it. One deeper aspect is to think about it from the perspective of God revealing himself progressively. Here’s how Charles Hodge explained this:
1. The progressive character of divine revelation is recognized in relation to all the great doctrines of the Bible. One of the strongest arguments for the divine origin of the Scriptures is the organic relation of its several parts. They comprise more than sixty books written by different men in different ages, and yet they form one whole; not by mere external historical relations, nor in virtue of the general identity of the subjects of which they treat, but by their internal organic development. All that is in a full-grown tree was potentially in the seed. All that we find unfolded in the fulness of the gospel lies in a rudimental form in the earliest books of the Bible. What at first is only obscurely intimated is gradually unfolded in subsequent parts of the sacred volume, until the truth is revealed in its fulness. This is true of the doctrines of redemption; of the person and work of the Messiah, the promised seed of the woman; of the nature and office of the Holy Spirit; and of a future state beyond the grave. And this is specially true of the doctrine of the Trinity. Even in the book of Genesis there are intimations of the doctrine which receive their true interpretation in later revelations. That the names of God are in the plural form; that the personal pronouns are often in the first person plural (“Let us make man in our image”); that the form of benediction is threefold, and other facts of like nature, may be explained in different ways. But when it becomes plain, from the progress of the revelation, that there are three persons in the Godhead, then such forms of expression can hardly fail to be recognized as having their foundation in that great truth.
2. Much more important, however, is the fact, that not only in Genesis, but also in all the early books of Scripture, we find a distinction made between Jehovah and the angel of Jehovah, who himself is God, to whom all divine titles are given, and divine worship is rendered. As the revelation is unfolded, such distinction becomes more and more manifest. This messenger of God is called the word, the wisdom, the Son of God. His personality and divinity are clearly revealed. He is of old, even from everlasting, the Mighty God, the Adonai, the Lord of David, Jehovah our Righteousness, who was to be born of a virgin, and bear the sins of many.
3. In like manner, even in the first chapter of Genesis, the Spirit of God is represented as the source of all intelligence, order, and life in the created universe; and in the following books of the Old Testament He is represented as inspiring the prophets, giving wisdom, strength, and goodness to statesmen and warriors, and to the people of God. This Spirit is not an agency, but an agent, who teaches and selects; who can be sinned against and grieved; and who, in the New Testament, is unmistakably revealed as a distinct person. When John the Baptist appeared, we find him speaking of the Holy Spirit as of a person with whom his countrymen were familiar, as an object of divine worship and the giver of saving blessings. Our divine Lord also takes this truth for granted, and promised to send the Spirit, as a Paraclete, to take his place; to instruct, comfort, and strengthen them; whom they were to receive and obey.
Thus, without any violent transition, the earliest revelations of this mystery were gradually unfolded, until the Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, appears in the New Testament as the universally recognized God of all believers.
Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print. (volume 1, page 446).
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015