Christian Living

Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?

Which Part of the Godhead Do You Focus On?

Though the Bible doesn’t use the word trinity, most followers understand God as a three-in-one deity, made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is three persons in one. Though implicitly equal, most adherents more readily embrace one form over the other. But which is it, Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?

God the Father

Some traditions focus on God the Father as their primary view of God. Yes, they value Jesus, his son, and acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s existence, but in their practice, they venerate God the Father as their primary view of God.

Father God dominates the Old Testament and forms their understanding of him. Though the Old Testament alludes to the coming Savior and the Spirit does some work, the focus is on God the Father.

God the Son

Jesus arrives in person in the New Testament, with four biographies devoted to him: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He’s central in the Bible, central in faith, and even central in world history.

Therefore, other churches and their adherents place their focus on Jesus the Christ (the Messiah). They give him their attention, making him their priority. In the process, they downplay the other two parts of the trinity: Father and Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit

When Jesus returns to heaven, his followers receive the Holy Spirit to guide them, teach them, and remind them of everything he said. The Holy Spirit stars in the book of Acts, leading Jesus’s church.

As a result, other faith practices place their primary emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Yes, Jesus is important because he makes the Holy Spirit’s arrival possible and Father God is the point of salvation, but these believers elevate the Holy Spirit.

Which Is It?

I’ve been to churches that fit all three camps. I understand where each comes from. But who is right? Should our focus rightly be on the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?

Jesus provides the way to the Father; he is not the destination. Does that make the Father more important? Also consider that after his victory over death, Jesus must leave before the Holy Spirit can arrive. Does that make the Holy Spirit—who guides Jesus’s church today—more important?

If Jesus is the way to the Father and must leave before the Holy Spirit can arrive, does that make him less important than the other two?

Or is it the opposite, with Jesus as preeminent? After all, without Jesus to make the way to the Father or open the door for the Holy Spirit nothing else matters.

We Need Balance

Though our various faith practices elevate one part of the godhead over the other two, we need not concern ourselves with the question of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?

Instead, we must equally embrace all three, pursuing a holistic, trinitarian understanding of God.

The correct perspective is that we must balance our view of God, equally esteeming Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

May it be so.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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