The Trinity in Scripture: Luke 1

Before going on in my study of the Trinity in Scripture I had hoped to organize and harmonize all of the posts on the Trinity in the book of Acts. In each post I have tried to just stick with the biblical witness in that passage alone. The next step will be to systematize all of those individual observations into what the entire book of Acts teaches on the Trinity. But twenty pages and 10,000 words later, that is not something that is going to happen overnight. So while I am working on that I thought I would go ahead and start in on the next book.

In the coming weeks, while you anxiously await the Acts compilation, I will be going through the book of Luke. Perhaps it would have made more sense to begin Luke and then progress to Acts, but I am not sure the order is more important than the information. In any event, I think we will see that the abundance of Trinitarian references in Acts was no accident. Luke was not only a doctor of the body, but of the soul. His heart was captured by the love of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

From the pomp and splendor of the temple worship in Jerusalem, Luke takes us to the anonymity of Nazareth. There the normal life of an unknown maid is forever changed:

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)

Untangling the mystery of the Trinity was among the least of Mary’s worries at this moment. Yet the angel Gabriel makes it clear that the conception of Jesus was a work of the Father and the Holy Spirit. As a response to Mary’s question about how she could possibly bear a child, Gabriel’s answer seemed to allay her fears.

What would Mary have thought of this response? “Holy Spirit” does appear in the Old Testament, but it is uncommon (Ps. 51:11; Isa. 63:10-11). The idea of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon someone was much more common, so that probably helped matters. From this Mary recognized she had been chosen by the Lord for a special task and that she would receive power to accomplish his will.

What would she have thought of “the Son of God”? Again we do not know. Psalm 2:7 certainly lays groundwork for the notion of God having a son, and it was a common notion in surrounding nations that kings were sons of the gods. Mary was perplexed, but submissive. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (1:38).

At the introduction of the conception of Jesus, the Trinity is present. The simple fact is that Mary did not know the depths of what this verse contains. And frankly, neither do we. Mary heard the word of God, and submitted to it. She treasured up all these things in her heart. We should do likewise.


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