In some churches the concept is believed of a triune God. The concept states that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all one mass: Not totally separate beings.
Hundreds of years after the death of the original apostles the Roman Emperors decided to take over control of the church. They set themselves up as the decider of doctrine on God's behalf. However a power struggle existed with the old authority and them taking over with their priests. To cement their authority their priests and doctrines had to be victorious.
A man named Arian presented a doctrine (we don't know the doctrine totally because we only have the Roman's version of it, and a person's version of their opponent's doctrine is often exaggerated and distorted. But we can establish some things). Arian had many others who agreed with him. His belief was that the Father and the Son were separate beings, and that the Father was superior to the Son. He stated that while on earth Jesus was just a man like any other, and that by obedience to God He earned His place in Heaven, just as any of us must.
The trinity doctrine was put forward to combat Arian, so that he wouldn't have control. Also a new word was invented for God which meant "of the same substance", to replace the word that had been used, which meant "of similar substance".
A creed was made to explain God (which ultimately concluded that He couldn't be explained). But looking at the trinity it says there's one omnipotent but three omnipotents, one omnipresent but three omnipresent etc. So basically we have one being with three identities in it. The question comes as to whether the Scriptures, or even just the Bible preaches or even supports such a being.
The question as to whether the Bible preaches such a being is the easiest part to answer. Even those who preach the trinity admit, verbally and in books, that the Bible doesn't clearly state the trinity concept anywhere: There is no statement saying anything like, "God is one God, but three Gods." So does the Bible actually, at least support the concept? We'll look at those statements which are used by those people believing in the trinity and those that oppose it.
Supporting the Trinity Concept
Deuteronomy 6:4 _ "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!"
This doesn't exactly state anything about a trinity, of course, but is used to establish that in some way The LORD is one. This "LORD" of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ (the name "Jehovah", as used here, is Jesus Christ). And He is one. No one disputes that. This is merely stating that Jesus Christ is the God of Israel, and the only God that they got.
John 10:30 here Jesus says _ "I and My Father are one."
Again this says nothing of a trinity, but states that in some way the Father and Son are one. He doesn't explain in this verse what He means by the statement, but a look around this chapter gives us some clues that He wasn't saying that He was the actual Father Himself. The Jews accused Jesus of saying that He was God (verse 33). However He denies this implication in verses 34 - 36, "Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods''? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?"
1 John 5:7 _ "For there are three who bear witness in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one."
For those with more modern versions this probably won't be what you're reading. The oldest Greek manuscript of the book of 1st John that has been found, doesn't include this statement at all. In other words it appears some priest added it to a later manuscript to give some scriptural support for the trinity concept. The NIV version (which is quite popular these days) doesn't include this. Nor do many others. This means that they accept that this wasn't originally there.
1 Corinthians 8:6 _ "Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live."
This is fairly straightforward. It's stating that there is one God: whom it even qualifies to be the Father. And then it's stating that there is one Lord: whom it qualifies as Jesus Christ. No one is scripturally disputing the existence of both beings. But, again, this says nothing of any trinity. Nor does this particular Scripture even give a hint of a possibility of a trinity. Yet these Scripture references being given are those used.
John 14:8 - 9 _ "Philip said to Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father''?"
This can appear as if Jesus is stating that He is actually the Father Himself. However a bit of a look at the verses around reveal that this isn't the case. You can't just take bits out of the Scriptures that you like and ignore the rest. The very next verse (verse 10) states, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." In other words He's stating that the reason He's calling Himself the Father is because He's doing the works the Father wants Him to do. Also if the Father were there in that situation, that is exactly what the Father would be doing. And therefore in seeing Him you're seeing the Father. Three verses later (verse 12) He states, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." If He meant that He was literally the Father why would He then state that He was going TO the Father? Clearly His talk of the Father being actually in Him, or Him being the Father in a sense, doesn't relate to a physical joint-being concept any more than Jesus Christ or God being in us does. But we will come to more on this.
1 Timothy 3:16 _ "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory."
The statement about God being manifest in the flesh doesn't mean that the Father became flesh Himself. It would refer to the same sense as when Jesus was talking to Philip (as explained above). Either that or this is using the term "God" to define Jesus Christ Himself, in this case. Whichever it is, the Scripture states nothing of a triune God. No one is scripturally disputing that Jesus Christ was received up in glory to sit with God in His throne. Jesus Christ is the God of Israel. But He isn't the Father, as He made clear Himself (we will come to those Scriptures which oppose the concept of a trinity - though some we've mentioned seem to do so on their own).
John 1:1 _ "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Yet what does the text actually say in Greek? This is the Greek _
"In beginning was the word, and the word was forward to [ie. toward] the God, and a God was the word."
Unfortunately for the trinitarians this is very interpretable. Plainly the reference to "the word" has symbolic reference only (ie. Christ was not a word). So the verse has to be read with this in mind. Also a literal translation renders it that "a God" was the word. Other people are also refered to as becoming Gods (Jn 10:34-35). So this of itself is too ambiguous. This could imply, for example, that by the word being toward the god, became a god himself. Also the verse could imply that god was the word in the sense that the word spoken by Christ [ie. the gospel] was god's word.
Again, however, there is no trinity stated.
As can be seen from above, the Bible itself (from which the trinity concept supposedly derived) is rather devoid of any substantial support for the trinitarian concept. In fact it's rather short on even vague connection with the concept. There is no Scripture which states that the three beings (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) are one in substance and mass, as is presented in the trinity concept.
Opposing the Trinity Concept
Matthew 19:16 - 17 _ concerning Jesus it says, "Now behold, one came and said to Him, 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments'."
Here we have Jesus saying that He isn't to be considered as "Good" but only God is. So if He were God literally then this statement would be a lie.
Acts 4:32 _ "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common."
This Scripture gives us some understanding as to how many can be "one" in Scriptural thinking. It says the "multitude" were of "one heart" and "one soul". If this were a Scripture about God people could get it confused and think it supported the trinity idea. So looking at the whole doctrine presented in Scripture is important to a proper understanding.
Romans 12:5 _ "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."
Again we have reference to the concept of many being one. In fact here we have a statement of many being "one body". Also it's stating that these people were "members of one another". This would be very confusing stuff if it were being said of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We know that these members were all individuals, and not many in one mass. So it must be remembered that this manner of speaking was common.
1 Cor 6:16 - 17 _ "Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two' He says, 'shall become one flesh'. But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him."
It talks (as in Genesis) of husbands and wives being "one flesh". We know this doesn't mean so in a literal sense. Also it speaks here of believers being one Spirit with the Lord. Should we believe that this means literally? Of course the answer is, "no".
John 12:50 _ "And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told me, so I speak."
So Jesus Christ is stating here that it isn't His own ideas that He speaks, but the Father's ideas. If He were the Father, as some confuse certain verses to presume, this wouldn't make any sense, as Jesus' opinion would be His (the Father's) own opinion.
Acts 2:33 _ It says of Jesus, "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear."
Well this presents a fairly clear message of separate beings, not one. We have Jesus Christ being on God's right-hand side, as opposed to being His right hand (a bit of humour there). We also have the Father promising the Son that the Holy Ghost would be poured out. This latter part seems an even stranger statement in that the trinitarian translation would have the Father promising Himself that He'd pour Himself out. No wonder there is so much talk of God being "incomprehensible". I'd be very confused with that. I hope anyone who was uncertain about the trinity concept has come to see by this point that it isn't supported in the Scriptures. But just in case more convincing is required, or would be appreciated, I'll go on.
John Chapter 17
Verse 1 _ "Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: 'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You."
Jesus has "lifted up His eyes to heaven" and talked to the Father. Jesus is making a request of the Father. Jesus is saying that He'd like the Father to Glorify Him (Jesus), so that He can glorify the Father. Would this conversation make any sense at all if He (Jesus) was the Father? Jesus is praying! He's actually praying to God! If He were the Father would He be praying to Himself? Surely this would be madness. Jesus is coming to the time of the atonement, and He is asking for His God's support.
Verse 2 _ "As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him."
So God (the Father) has given Jesus authority. Didn't Jesus just have it, being the Father Himself? Jesus didn't seem to think so, and that will do me. Next we have Jesus only being able to give eternal life to those whom the Father chooses. Jesus is speaking to the Father as a man to His God, not as equals or parts of the same being. Verse 3 informs us that we have to come to know both the Father and the Son, it doesn't say we just have to know one being or three beings, but two beings.
Verse 4 _ "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."
The Father has given the Son this work to do. The Son hasn't given Himself the work. Also the Son hasn't glorified Himself, but the Father. If He were the Father, literally, He would have given Himself the work and be glorifying Himself. But this doesn't present this here. So again we have a separate Father and Son. We have the Father directing a Son as to what to do and when.
Verses 6 - 10 continue with this same concept with Jesus saying to the Father things like "You gave them to Me" and "They were Yours" and "I have manifested Your name" and "all things which You have given Me are from You" and "You have given Me" and "You sent Me" and "I pray for them".
Verse 11 _ "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are."
Here Jesus speaks of this oneness between Him and the Father. But note that He's asking that the Apostles (which are the people He's talking about) can be one as He and the Father are one. Is He asking that the Apostles become one mass or substance? _ A twelve in one? If He was the Father didn't seem to grant this request. I think it's rather obvious, again, that this isn't a oneness of being, but of doctrine and love.
Verse 20 - 21 _ "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
So Jesus is asking that not only He and the Father and twelve Apostles be one, but that everybody else who believes in their word (Acts talks of 500 people being present at His ascension) being one "AS" they are one. So in the same way the Father and Son are one, all these others are to be one with them also _ hundreds in one.
Verse 23 says "I in them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You loved Me."
This refers to Jesus being "in" His Apostles and the Father being "in" Him. It talks of being made perfect in one. Over and over we see that the oneness referred to isn't one mass. Jesus and the Father and the Holy Ghost being in us doesn't make us really all one substance, as the trinity doctrine claims.
Matthew 20:23 _ "So He said to them, 'You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father."
The Son is stating that He has no authority to decide who is going to sit on His right and left in the Kingdom of God. He's saying this is something only the Father has worked out. So how does this fit with the idea that He is the Father? Obviously He wasn't meaning to take the concept of Him being the Father literally.
Matthew 26:39 _ "He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'
In this verse Jesus is asking that He not have to do the atonement. He, of Himself found it an enormously difficult thing to perform. But in spite of this He said to the Father that He was willing to suffer it (in obedience to the Father) if the Father really wanted Him to. Does this portray that Jesus is the Father? This totally opposes the trinity concept.
Luke 22:43 _ "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him."
This was at the time of the atonement in the garden, and He needed an angel to help Him. So let's get this straight in our minds: We have the God of the universe, who's holding everything together, needing an angel to give Him extra strength. Does this sound right to you? Is God a little short on strength? Yet clearly this is what we have here if we are to believe that Jesus and the Father are the one being. This presents a VERY human Jesus Christ, not a God. At the same time we must realise that by His obedience in the pre-existence and this earth life He is the God of Israel etc. But He went through an earth life to gain a body and experience just like everybody else. He, however, didn't sin, and thus could perform the atonement. He also made the resurrection possible.
Luke 23:46 _ "And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit'. Having said this, He breathed His last."
Jesus has told the Father that He's committing His SPIRIT to the Father. How can He do that if He and the Father are the same spirit? Didn't the Father already have His own Spirit? Should we believe that Jesus Christ had just temporarily borrowed the Father's spirit? This is telling us that Jesus' spirit is separate to the Father's spirit. How untrinitarian a statement can you get.
Matthew 27:46 _ "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' That is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'"
Jesus has stated that the Father has left Him. How could that be unless they are separate to be able to be away from each other? If they were one being and mass how could He leave Himself? And why even ask why, considering you would know why you were doing something, wouldn't you?
Luke 3:1 _ "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."
To believe Jesus is God the Father we would have to believe that he grew in favor with himself. Additionally, considering that he is supposed to be complete and ultimate already, how does he grow in favor with himself?
Summation on the Trinity
There are many Scriptures showing that the concept of the trinity is a man made, not God inspired, doctrine. The Bible clearly demonstrates that Jesus Christ and God the Father are separate individuals. Again I should point out that even many people supporting the trinity idea admit that there is no Biblical statement that actually states it: Nothing says anything about there being three in the one mass, or that there is three Gods in one actual God. There are statements that mention that God is one. But as we have seen, there are also statements about large groups of people being one, too.