The Attributes of the Triune God - Pt1 & 2 | Bible Study

This Bible study examines God’s attributes and the implications for believers.

by Mike Prah on June 07, 2023

The Attributes of the Triune God - Pt 1&2 | Bible Study | Mike Prah

God possesses numerous attributes or essential characteristics that are inherent to His essence. This is true of each member of the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—as these attributes are eternally possessed by the Triune God.

This Bible study examines God’s attributes as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because each member of the Trinity possesses these characteristics, the study includes verses that speak to all three Persons rather than listing each member of the Trinity separately.

 1. The Transcendence of God (God’s Supreme Being)

God exists before, above, and completely separate from his creation. God is unique and one-of-a-kind. There is nothing or no one to compare God to because there is nothing or no one to compare him to (Is 6:1; 40:18; 55:8-9).

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1, NIV)

“To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? 22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to Him. 28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:18, 22, 28, NLT) 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”( Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)

  • God's transcendent nature strives to keep Him distant and remote from His creation, while His immanent nature strives to draw Him near to His creation. God's love for His creation is so great that His immanence overshadows His transcendence. 
  • This is evident in Jesus Christ, who breaks down the barrier of sin and separation to bring all of humanity into a close, personal relationship with God. We see God not only choosing to draw near to His creation, but also personally entering His people's hearts and minds through the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit. This is the miracle of God's transcendence.

 2. The Infinity of God

God is eternal, with no limitations other than those imposed by His own nature. He is not constrained by life’s events. (Ps 90:2; John 8:56–58; Heb 9:14).

“Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” (Psalm 90:2, NLT)

“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”  The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM” (John 8:56-58, NLT) 

“Since this is true, how much more is accomplished by the blood of Christ! Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God.” Hebrews 9:14 (GNT) 

  • Because God is infinite, He is exceedingly far above creation and is both greater than creation and independent of it. What this means is that God is so infinitely above and beyond us and our ability to fully comprehend that, had He not revealed Himself, we would not know or understand what He is like.
  • But, thankfully, God has not left us ignorant about Himself. Instead, He has revealed Himself to us through both general revelation (creation and our conscience) and special revelation (the written Word of God, the Bible, and the living Word of God, Jesus Christ).
  • Therefore, we can know God, and we can know how to be reconciled to Him and how to live according to His will. Despite the fact that we are finite and God is infinite, we can know and understand God as He has revealed Himself to us.

 3. The Self-Existence of God

God does not depend on anyone or anything outside of Himself for his life. He has the ground of existence in Himself. God is independent in his Being and in everything else—His virtues, decrees, and works. He also causes everything in creation to depend on Him (Ps 50:12; Jer 10:10–13).

“For all the world is mine and everything in it.” (Psalm 50:12b)

But the Lord is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at His anger. The nations cannot stand up to his wrath. Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:10-11, NLT)

 “But the Lord made the earth by His power,  and He preserves it by His wisdom. With His own understanding He stretched out the heavens. 13 When He speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from His storehouses.” (Jeremiah 10:12-13, NLT) 

  • One might wonder, Why would a self-existent, independent God, bother with our existence. We are very meaningful because God created us and by His will has proclaimed that we would be meaningful to Him. God speaks of His sons and daughters from the ends of the earth as:

“I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not keep them.” Bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:6, GW)

  • God derives great pleasure in adopting us as His children (Ephesians 1:5). He freely chooses us to be recipients of His power (Luke 9:1–2), peace (John 14:27), joy (John 5:11), grace (James 4:6), and eternal life (John 10:27–28). To be significant to the Self-Existent God is to be significant in the most ultimate sense. 

    4. The Self-Sufficiency of God

Self-sufficiency is one of the key attributes of God. It is defined as needing no outside help in fulfilling one’s needs. God is defined as self-sufficient as He doesn’t need anything outside of Himself to exist. God existed before creation, He has always existed and has never relied on anything to stay alive. Instead, He is the source of all things and His creation (including us) depends on Him for life—for everything.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40;28, ESV)

  • Isn't it incredible to know that God never gets tired? He doesn't require rest. Our limitless God has no lack. God has infinite physical energy and infinite mental ability. Isn't it reassuring to know that God will never fail us?

 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24-25, ESV)

  • This passage is a reminder that God doesn’t need us! He delights in us, He cares for us, He loves us with unfathomable love, but He doesn’t need us. Instead, we rely on Him! In fact, each breath we take is because the Father wills us to take it. Isn’t that amazing? Everything we have is from God. Not the work of our own hands, not our clever plans—God alone is the source of all we have.

“God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” 2 Corinthinas 12:9, ESV)

  • As humans, we are to view our insufficiency as an opportunity to glorify God. Because when we see ourselves as we are—weak, sinful, broken, imperfect—we also see God for who He is—mighty, perfect, self-sufficient, abundant—and we worship Him as we should. He will provide the strength we need to do His will and live a life that honors Him.

Understanding the self-sufficiency of God fills us with confidence that the God we serve will never fail us, will keep His Word, and always exist. He is unchanging in His self-sufficiency, so those who place their hope in Him can rejoice—they will not be put to shame. 

  • Because God is self-sufficient, we can rely on Him fully. God is the source, the provider of all things. Often we forget this and try to rely on ourselves. We struggle and fail to be good as we foolishly try to earn our salvation—it’s futile. We were created to depend on God for everything, including eternal life. He is the abundant provider and He will never run out of anything! He is the antidote to our insecurity. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

God's holiness is the key to understanding everything else about Him. This attribute permeates all the other attributes. God's inherent and absolute purity is the righteous standard that the whole universe must meet. Jesus is called holy, and the Holy Sprit’s very name reveals his divine character (Isa 6:1–3; Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; 4:27–30; 1 Pet 1:13–19; Rev 4:8).

 5. Holiness is a foundational attribute of God

God's holiness is the key to understanding everything else about Him. This attribute permeates all the other attributes. God's inherent and absolute purity is the righteous standard that the whole universe must meet. Jesus is called holy, and the Holy Sprit’s very name reveals his divine character (Isa 6:1–3; Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; 4:27–30; 1 Pet 1:13–19; Rev 4:8).

  • Holiness is the characteristic of God’s nature that is at the very core of His being.

  • God’s holiness is the key to understanding everything else about Him; this attribute infiltrates all the other attributes. Jesus is called holy, and the Holy Sprit’s very name reveals his divine character (Isa 6:1–3; Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; 4:27–30; 1 Pet 1:13–19; Rev 4:8).

  • Only as we encounter God in His holiness is it possible for us to see ourselves as we really are.

The view of God presented in the following Scriptures reveals the importance of treating God’s holiness with proper respect and honor and leaves an individual with a deep sense of awe at the greatness of His majesty.

“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You? You are glorious because of Your holiness and awe-inspiring because of Your splendor. You perform miracles.” Exodus 15:11 (GW)

“I will reveal the holiness of my great name, which has been dishonored by the nations—the name— that you have dishonored among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, because I will reveal my holiness among you as they watch, declares the Almighty Lord.” Ezekiel 36:23 (GW)

“For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” Isaiah 29:23 (NLT)

“Give to the Lord the glory He deserves!  Bring your offering and come into His presence. Worship the Lord in all His holy splendor.” 1 Chronicles 16:29 (NLT) (see Psalm 29:2; Psalm 96:9)

 II. Examining the Holiness of God

A. God’s Holiness Is His Separateness

“For I am God and not a mere human being. I, the Holy One, am with you.” Hosea 11:9 (GN)

B. God’s Holiness Is His Sinlessness

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.” 1 John 1:5 (NLT) 

III. Encountering the Holiness of God

A. Moses’ Encounter with the Holy God

“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:4-5 (NIV)

“Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.”  The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock.  As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” Exodus: 33:18-23 (NLT)

 B. Job’s Encounter with the Holy God

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Job 38:4 (NIV)

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?  I put my hand over my mouth.” Job 40:4 (NIV)

“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:2, 6 (NLT)

 C. Isaiah’s Encounter with the Holy God

 Isaiah 6:1-8

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a very high throne. His long robe filled the Temple. Heavenly creatures of fire stood above Him. Each creature had six wings: It used two wings to cover its face, two wings to cover its feet, and two wings for flying. Each creature was calling to the others: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord All-Powerful. His glory fills the whole earth.”

 4 Their calling caused the frame around the door to shake, as the Temple filled with smoke. 5 I said, “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure, but I have seen the King, the Lord All-Powerful.”

6 One of the heavenly creatures used a pair of tongs to take a hot coal from the altar. Then he flew to me with the hot coal in his hand. 7 The creature touched my mouth with the hot coal and said, “Look, your guilt is taken away, because this hot coal has touched your lips. Your sin is taken away.”

8 Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom can I send? Who will go for us?” So I said, “Here I am. Send me!” Isaiah 6:1-8 (NCV)

 D. John’s Encounter with the Holy God

“When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man. Then he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last” Revelation 1:17 (GW)

 IV. Application - Cultivating Habits of Holiness in My Life

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,  and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)

“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas … Instead, train yourself to be godly” 1 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

  • The holiness of God reminds us of how much God hates sin.

  • Holiness is of profound importance to fruitful Christian living.

  • We must pursue personal holiness in our daily lives.

1. The Transcendence of God (God’s Supreme Being)

 2. The Infinity of God

 3. The Self-Existence of God

4. The Self-Sufficiency of God

5. The Holiness of God


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