The Trinity: An Introduction. Scott R. Swain. Edited by Graham A Cole and Oren R Martin. 2020. October. 161 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Trinity is a book that is part of a new series by Crossway. About the series, "While the specific focus will vary, each volume will (1) introduce the doctrine, (2) set it in context, (3) develop it from Scripture, (4) draw the various threads together, and (5) bring it to bear on the Christian life."
The author states the purpose of The Trinity is to recatechize the evangelical mind after the Trinitarian controversy of 2016 revealed the need for clarity among evangelicals.
I have mixed feelings on The Trinity--the book not the doctrine. On the one hand, it's overly complicated and complex. I feel the author would rather use a string of long syllable words that few actual laymen know the definition of instead of more straight forward language that anyone and everyone could appreciate and understand. This book almost needs an interpreter. Someone to translate the scholar-ese into English. On the other hand, it is comprehensive and saturated in Scripture rather than conjecture. Each chapter does develop the doctrine of the Trinity drawing largely if not exclusively from Scripture itself. (A few creeds and church fathers are also mentioned, though their contribution to the argument the author is making is supplemental and supportive rather than foundational and fundamental.)
Here--for better or worse--is my interpretation of what the book is about. It's entirely possible that I missed key points because as I said earlier this book is overly complicated and complex--a bit full of itself.
What does the Bible have to say about the Trinity? Which passages shed light on the doctrine of the Trinity? What can we learn by reading and studying passages on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit? How are these three as being the same one true God? How does Scripture distinguish between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit? How does the Trinity work together for our salvation? What is the role of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in relation to our creation, redemption, salvation, etc. Why is important for Christians to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? Why is it important for Christians to understand the persons and works of each member of the Trinity? What effect does this knowledge have on our worship?
Here's some sample sentences:
- "The purpose of the present chapter is to honor the Father’s name by considering the manifold ways in which the Bible’s Trinitarian discourse manifests the Father’s fecundity."
- "First, we will consider “innerTrinitarian conversation texts,” where we overhear the persons of the Trinity speaking to and of each other. Second, we will consider “cosmic framework texts,” which frame the entire cosmos, as well as the entirety of God’s work in the cosmos, in relation to the Trinity. Third, we will consider “redemptive mission texts,” which display the sending or “mission” of the Son (and, sometimes, the sending of the Spirit) as the great divine acts whereby God fulfills his redemptive purpose, establishing his dwelling among us, for the praise of his name."
- "In previous chapters we had opportunity to consider a distinction fundamental to the Bible’s basic Trinitarian grammar, the distinction between “common predication” and “proper predication.” Common predication refers to what the three persons hold in common as the one and simple God: they share the one God’s holy name, YHWH, one divine being, one divine wisdom, one divine goodness, and one divine power. In contrast to common predication, proper predication refers to what each person of the Trinity holds in distinction from the other two persons. The “personal properties” of paternity, filiation, and spiration identify that which foundationally and fundamentally distinguishes the persons of the Trinity: the Father eternally begets the Son (paternity), the Son is eternally begotten of the Father (filiation), and the Father and the Son eternally breathe forth the Spirit (spiration)."
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible