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Products>The Trinity: An Introduction (Short Studies in Systematic Theology)

The Trinity: An Introduction (Short Studies in Systematic Theology)

, 2020
ISBN: 9781433561214
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The Trinity is one of the most essential doctrines of the Christian faith, as it reveals a magnificent truth about God—that he is one God eternally existing as three distinct persons. While Christians often struggle to find the right words to describe the union of Father, Son, and Spirit, the Bible gives clarity concerning the triune God’s activity in nature (creation), grace (redemption), and glory (reward). In the second installment of the Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, theologian Scott Swain examines the Trinity, presenting its biblical foundations, systematic–theological structure, and practical relevance for the church today.

Resource Experts
  • Presents the biblical foundations of the Trinity
  • Explores the practical relevance for the church today
  • Examines the triune God’s activity in nature, grace, and glory

Top Highlights

“What distinguishes the persons of the Trinity from each other are their relations to each other, not their relations to us.” (Pages 32–33)

“Common predications are patterns of speech that refer to what the three persons of the Trinity hold in common with each other as the one God. They are ‘the Lord.’ They are the author and end of all creatures. And so forth. Proper predications are patterns of speech that refer to that which distinguishes the three persons of the Trinity from each other within the one God.” (Pages 34–35)

“Note, then, a third pattern: the Bible’s Trinitarian discourse consistently distinguishes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by their mutual relations, which are ‘relations of origin.’” (Page 32)

“Because of divine simplicity, the external works of the triune God are not parceled out among the persons, with each person perhaps doing his share to contribute to a larger whole. The external works of the triune God are indivisible. All of God’s works, from creation to consummation, are works of the three persons enacting one divine power, ordered by one divine wisdom, expressing one divine goodness, and manifesting one divine glory.” (Page 59)

“Appropriation, more precisely defined, then, is the special association of certain works of the Trinity with certain persons of the Trinity based on the way certain works specially manifest personal properties of the Trinity (paternity, filiation, and spiration).” (Page 113)

Dr. Swain joined the faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary in 2006. Before coming to RTS, he taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. His main research interests include the doctrine of God and the relationship between biblical interpretation and Christian doctrine. Dr. Swain is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.


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  1. Floyd  Johnson

    Floyd Johnson


    I am not a theologian, but I sometimes play one on Sunday mornings. Nevertheless, it was a privilege to read and review this 160-page monograph. Dr. Swain (PhD., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) presents a classic reformed doctrine of the Trinity. With the exception of those who followed the Trinitarian Controversy of 2016, there will be little to argue within this small book. The book reads as if it were taken from the chapters of a systematic theology text discussing the Trinity. As stated in the introduction, the author desired to address the issues raised by Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware surrounding the relationship of the Father to Son, and the Father and the Son to Holy Spirit. Though these issues are addressed, they are done so in a manner that elevates three members of the Godhead, not diminishing the role or relationship between the three persons of the Trinity. He addresses the issues addressed in 2016 in the same way he addresses Arianism and Subordination addressed in the first millennium of the church’s history. This reviewer was encouraged to reread Grudem’s Trinitarian theology as he read Swain’s work. Because the Trinity is wrapped in the mystery that is God, I am not as bothered by the teaching of Grudem as long as it is balanced against the classical teaching of the church. Standing alone, Grudem, et al., could raise red flags in our understanding of our Triune God. Note, Grudem is republishing his systematic theology even as I am writing this - I will be looking forward to his thoughts in 2020 following the discussions of 2016. With a fifty-year-old seminary education, the book was a great refresher on an important doctrine. The book is well documented, both from the scriptures and from writers representing the church’s thought and teaching during its 2000-year history. Though the ARC which I was provided for the review, did not contain them, the completed volume will contain both a general index and a scripture index which will add value to the finished book. For the reader wishing to review their basic theology or as an ancillary text for a theology class in Bible College or seminary, this book will have a key place. _____________ This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.