Understanding the Trinity

Many times, you hear Christians discuss the trinity using mathematical formulas or equations such as 1x1x1=1 and 1+1+1=1. There is a question of whether or not these mathematical calculations are Biblically logical when defending the doctrine of the trinity doctrine but the greatest of them is this- Should a Christian really explain the doctrine of the trinity with mathematics?

The word of God is simple and easy to understand. Today, we have different Bible versions that help personal and group Bible study sessions. So, while you choose to use 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 when explaining the Trinity, you must be aware of the fact that it could lead to confusion if you're not careful. Also, in many cases, this mathematics does not really help to explain anything. In fact, this particular type of argument is what I’ve commonly seen used by Muslims to try and ridicule Christians for their beliefs.


If I want to defend the Trinity doctrine, I turn to the Bible which is where the Trinity doctrine comes from. There are many places in the Bible where Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all identified as God - here are several of the passages I regularly use:

Matthew 3:16-17 

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

In this one scene, we see Jesus being baptised, the Spirit, descending on him like a dove, and the voice of the Father declaring Jesus to be his Son.

We also have the words of Jesus himself when talking about his followers:

John 10:29-30

    My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

Additionally we have statements made about Jesus such as Colossians 2:9

    For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily

and Galatians 4:6

    And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Verses like these are all over Gospels and the New Testament, which means we have to grapple with the reality which isn’t fully comprehensible to us humans. God exists as three persons - Father, Son and Spirit.

The problem we face is this: How can we human fully comprehend understand our God?

This difficulty is identified in the Bible where Paul explains God’s love for us:

Ephesians 3:17-19

    so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

We see here that God’s love - Jesus’ love - surpasses knowledge itself, and he prays that we would have the strength to comprehend it.

As it turns out, we do have a mathematical symbol to describe something that goes on for eternity - it’s the symbol for infinity. So if someone wanted to use the 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 as some sort of mathematical proof that the Trinity doctrine is illogical, here’s the one I’d show them:

∞ + ∞ + ∞ = ∞

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