Read This If:

  •       You’re interested in the basis for and authority behind Trinitarian doctrine
  •       You desire a more holistic understanding of God’s nature and revelation
  •       You don’t mind academic prose

Publisher’s Summary

Published by B&H Publishing

Is the Trinity biblical? Must we affirm God as three persons in one being? Despite a renewed interest in the Trinity in recent years, many Christians, including most evangelicals, relegate the Son of God to creaturely status or repudiate the personhood of the Holy Spirit. In addition, many scholars affirm the Trinity is derived from but not directly revealed in Scripture, with some arguing it is thus unnecessary. Drawing on hermeneutics and biblical and historical theology, Malcolm Yarnell crafts a careful response to these issues through exegesis of pivotal texts from both testaments. He meticulously examines the foundational Hebrew confession known as the Schema, Matthew’s great commission, the divine relations in the Gospel of John, Paul’s Corinthian benediction, the opening hymn of Ephesians, and the throne room vision of the Apocalypse. Also considered are the relationships of language to revelation and history to metaphysics, along with recent appeals to recover patristic exegesis and the Christian imagination. The author amicably yet steadfastly challenges us to discern the implications of the Trinity for personal salvation as well as corporate worship.

Review

by Alaina Stevens @alainamarie87

The doctrine of the Trinity is a doctrine that  I have always tiptoed around. In Bible college, I remember this subject matter being held in highest regard – especially where its theological nuances were concerned. I took care not to misspeak phrases like “equal in substance but distinct in subsistence.” I felt as if I were walking on eggshells when it came to this abstract but extremely momentous topic. And yet, I’ve always been captivated by the beauty of Trinitarian theology. I approached this read eager to understand and marvel at God’s unity, diversity, and majesty.

 

In this volume, Yarnell takes us on a journey of exploration into the doctrine of the Trinity using Biblical exegesis and insights from ancient and modern Biblical scholars. The main thrust of this work seeks to champion not only the presence but also the relevance of the Trinity on the pages of the entirety of Scripture. He considers the ways in which history has shaped our perception of monotheism, evidences the presence and integrity of Trinitarian themes in the Old and New Testaments, and draws for us helpful distinctions in our perspective and approach to the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

This book will stretch you, especially if you are accustomed to a conservative evangelical approach to hermeneutics as I have been. While Yarnell’s work is unflinching in respect to sound exegesis and Biblical interpretation, it will cause readers to examine the manner in which they mine doctrine from God’s revelation on the pages of His Word. Yarnell wants them to charter into territories beyond the borders of their evangelical affinity for formal propositionalism. “I would argue that there are more ways to reveal a doctrine than through formal proposition, even if formal propositions are our preferred doctrinal idiom,” he states.

 

The remainder of the book functions as a guided tour where Yarnell expands on that very concept. Drawing from a diverse spectrum of Biblical narrative, namely Old Testament Israelite creeds, Matthew’s Great Commission, Paul’s epistles, and apocalyptic literature, Yarnell offers us glimpses of God’s metanarrative through the lens of Trinitarian complexities.

 

In order to accomplish this, Yarnell helps his readers to understand deep concepts like the Imminent and Economic trinity, monotheism, and revelation. He enters the discussion of proper hermeneutics and exegesis. Finally, Yarnell illustrates the study of the Trinity from various perspectives including God’s revealed Word, the presence of Biblical metaphor, and His active working within the economy of humanity. Yarnell concludes with the powerful statement, “God reveals himself as God the Trinity because he really is God the Trinity.” Any degree of understanding we possess in regard to this doctrine is owing to God’s revelation of it.

God reveals himself as God the Trinity because he really is God the Trinity

I walked away from this read with a more profound respect and adoration for God’s revelation. He is gracious in allowing us to perceive Him. No doubt, this read is no walk in the park. Those who possess a basic working understanding of Biblical Greek will most likely profit from this work most. Yarnell assumes that his readers understand terms like “Patristic doctrine, modalism, and Arianism as well as ontological and economical perspectives. This work is academic in nature, and heavily academic.

 

The only red flag for me in Yarnell’s work has to do with his perspective toward the historical-grammatical method of Biblical interpretation. His comments concerning this method almost depicted it as insufficient to convey the metaphysical aspects of Trinitarian doctrine. As a proponent of this style of interpretation, I would have appreciated a bit more clarity in regard to whether the author believes this style to be incompatible with the subject matter at hand.

 

When all is said and done, my experience with this volume has left me feeling like I’ve just completed a mental workout. But it’s also left me feeling like I’ve just witnessed something glorious and beautiful. Malcolm has showcased the Trinity with a comprehensiveness that stirs affection within His readers for the matchless and transcendent God that has revealed Himself.

“This is the God whose symmetrical beauty is simple in his perfect unity and dynamic in his perfect diversity.”

 

 

“God provides humanity with the gift of perceiving Him in sundry ways.” @myarnell via @jvalenti

 

“Grace is God moving toward humanity with blessing.” @myarnell via @jvalenti

 

“In the process of bringing redemption to humanity, God has attached humanity to Himself in the Word.” @myarnell via @jvalenti

 

“Those who argue the Trinity is different from how the Trinity reveals himself in Scripture place systematic theology before Biblical theology.” @myarnell via @jvalenti

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