Making Sense of the Trinity: Should Preachers Even Bother?

Photo by  Matthew Cabret  on  Unsplash
I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.
— Anne Lamott

As another Trinity Sunday arises, what will you preach?

Faithful followers of the God of Abraham and Sarah have long grappled with Jesus’ identity and its implications for the trinity.

Was Jesus the Messiah?

If he was, this Messiah was acting unexpectedly.

Jesus wasn’t acting as a Messiah would act separate from God, but as a Messiah might act within God—as God—pouring out God’s own self on all who believed Jesus the long-sought Christ.

If the Messiah and God and some preternatural, lingering force were One, how would this jibe with strict monotheism?

Fascinating as this question may still be to many of us, as preachers we need to ask a more basic question: 

Does a clear understanding of the Trinity still matter to today’s believers, questioners, pew warmers, and Church ignorers? Or is the Trinity a doctrinal question of a bygone era, interesting only to us professionals?

Karl Barth said, “Trinity is the Christian name for God.”

Trinity is the Christian name for God.
— Karl Barth

When referring to the Trinity, we call God:

  • “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Some add the epithet “One God, Mother of us all.”
  • “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier”
  • “Love, Lover, and Beloved”
  • “Source, Wellspring, and Living Water.”

Do God’s names-in-trinity even matter today to anyone other than professional theologians?

We've assembled this series of quotation—from Genesis to John and from Karen Armstrong to Rowan Williams—to help you reconsider the importance, relevance of, and beliefs about the Triune God, and what, if anything, you might preach on the subject.

How do you make sense of the Trinity?

Will you even bother?


Download your free collection of quotes about the Trinity here.



P.S. Launch pricing for The Collective ends Monday at 11:59 p.m.

Read what one new member recently wrote about joining The Collective.


Lisa -

I just have to say WOW. I'm so grateful that I made the investment and joined the Collective. These Thursday calls are a game-changer for me. 

I stepped into [Thursday's weekly sermon prep workshop] without any clear sense of what my message would be. I was dealing with the added pressure of knowing I'll be attending our synod assembly all day Friday and Saturday. In other words, getting a sermon done by tonight was essential. 

Thanks to the conversation, feedback, and structured time to think, I've done it. I stepped out of the call with a plan. Despite some interruptions and distractions this afternoon, it's 7:45 and I have a full draft written. It still needs polishing, but it's all there. Praise God!

The Collective is the right thing at the right time for me, and I'm deeply grateful for whatever work the Spirit has done to bring all of this together through you and your fellow-stewards of BsP!!


Andrea M.