6. What do Jewish people believe about the Trinity and how can we help them understand this concept?
It’s safe to say that unsaved Jewish people across the board reject the teaching of a Triune Godhead. They believe that it is idolatry, because they think we are worshipping three Gods. Monotheism, (the belief in one God) is the hallmark of Judaism. They look to their favorite verse which is found in Deuteronomy.
Deut. 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
In their thinking, this verse does away with any kind of teaching on the Trinity. Well, where do we begin?
FIRST, show them that the New Testament also teaches that there is only one God.
I Tim. 2:5 – “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man the Messiah Jesus.”
Gal. 3:20 – “Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.”
I Cor. 8:4- -“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.”
Most Jewish people will be surprised to see the emphasis in the New Testament concerning God being one. We must emphasis that we do not worship nor do we believe in three Gods.
SECOND, we must show them that the Old Testament also teaches the concept of a Trinity. An excellent verse is found in Isaiah.
Isaiah 48:16 – “Come near to Me, listen to this: from the first (beginning) I have not spoken in secret, from the time that it took place I was there. And now the LORD GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
This verse is truly amazing when analyzed. Here we see the three persons of the Triune Godhead mentioned in one verse. We do need to be clear with them concerning the three. We must tell them that the Bible does speak of three persons referred to as God, yet He is one. The “Me” in this verse is said to have been there from the beginning, but now, is being sent by the LORD GOD and the Spirit. The “Me” is a referring to the Son, the second person of the Triune Godhead.
THIRD, we need to explain to our Jewish friends that there are different Hebrew words for the word “one.”
In Deut. 6:4, the Hebrew word for “one” is “echad.” By looking at other verses in the O.T. where this same word is used, it is clear that this word “echad” refers to a compound one and not an absolute one. Note Gen. 2:24 where a man and a woman becomes one when they are married. There are two of them, but they are said to be one. Also see Ezek. 37:17 where he takes two sticks and holds them together and they become one stick. Echad could be used to refer to one cluster of grapes, several grapes, but one cluster. “Echad” is the Hebrew word used in referring to the Godhead. A compound oneness, not an absolute oneness. The Hebrew word for absolute oneness is “Yachid.” Deuteronomy 6:4 does not use this word for one, but rather the word for compound oneness is used. The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God, but He has revealed Himself in three persons who are equal in Deity. They are all referred to as God. Do we understand all of the ramifications of this teaching? No. But, we believe it because it is clearly taught in the Word of God. It is something we take by faith and thank God for, because it reveals His greatness.