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I ask this mostly in reaction to this question: What is the Biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity?

From what I've seen, the majority of Christians believe in Trinitarianism, but some believe in Unitarianism instead.

My understanding of Unitarianism is that, in this view of God, only the Father (as referenced by Christ) is called God. Christ is just a man, created by God and given certain powers/privileges that aren't afforded to most men.

What is the Biblical foundation for Unitarianism?


I am not asking for a debate on the truthfulness of this position, but I am looking for an argument that defends its soundness with Bible verses, preferably not limited to a single translation.

If a single translation is to be favored, I would like to know why (references to the original Greek/Hebrew used in translation if possible). I only ask this because it doesn't seem to be a very common position to hold, so I assume there is valid evidence to support it.

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You may want to look at… which was my answer to another question. The references there can in many cases apply here. – James Black Sep 11 '11 at 20:32
Related to: How do we know Jesus is God incarnate – Richard Sep 12 '11 at 0:57
up vote 14 down vote accepted

In John 17:3, Jesus says:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Here, Jesus is speaking of God as the only true God and Jesus as being sent by God, not being God incarnate.

Also, in Matthew 4:10, Jesus himself says to:

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

Other verses seem to emphasis this:

Mark 10:18 (NIV)
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

Also, they take the following verse (Phillippians 2:6-8) and use this to say that Jesus had the form of God (outer appearance), but took on the form of man. So, (ironically) while it's central to the concept of the Trinity, it's also used in Unitarianism to show how Jesus was not God:

Phillippians 2:6-8 (NASB) (emphasis added)
[... Christ Jesus,] 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

These concepts make people think that Jesus was not actually God and that only God the Father is actually God.

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+1 for simplicity. I like @Sotiris' answer too, but this is clear and concise. – tjameson Sep 28 '11 at 1:49
It might be good to add the 9th verse of Philippians the second chapter where it says Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name which further shows that Jesus is not God. – Saher Ahwal Nov 10 '13 at 4:55

Many scriptures are used to establish a Unitarian position, check the following:

Jesus was created

Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Revelation 1:1, 3:14 (ESV)

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John...14"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

Many Bible commentators agree, the Son is referred to as wisdom personified (Proverbs 8:22 footnote: a). According to RS, NE, and JB, the one there speaking is said to be “created.”

Jesus was/is inferior to God and Father

Matthew 20:23 (NIV)

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.

Revelation 1:1 (NIV)

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John

John 14:28 (NIV)

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV)

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

1 Corinthians 3:23 (NIV)

and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

1 Corinthians 15:24,28 (NIV)

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power...When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV)

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God.

John 6:38

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

Mark 13:32

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Philippians 2:9

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

Jesus isn't Almighty God

John 20:17 (NIV)

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Matthew 4:10 (NIV)

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Holy Spirit is not a person

Luke 1:41 (NIV)

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11 (NIV)

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Acts 10:38 (NIV)

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

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Colossians 1 sets Christ aside as the creator, not a creature. – Caleb Sep 13 '11 at 11:22
@Caleb do you refer to Colossians 1:15-16? If yes Unitarians believe that this verse indicate Jesus as a creature because a) the Father and the holy spirit nowhere are mentioned as firstborn of all creation b) the expression “the firstborn of” occurs upwards of 30 times in the Bible, and in each instance that it is applied to living creatures the same meaning applies—the firstborn is part of the group. So there is no reason to conclude that “first-born” here means prime, most excellent, most distinguished as trinitarians argue. Also the text says "through him" and not "by him". – user14 Sep 13 '11 at 12:30
The word your translation here has rendered "through" is in fact the same Greek work translated hundreds of times in the NT as "by". Further evidence of this meaning can be found in the same wording John 1:2-3 where there is an extra explanation that makes it much more clear that this wording makes him the creator. Also "first-born" can even be used of people who were not actually eldest children (Psalm 89:27), and the mirrored usage in other places in reference to Christ help us see the meaning is in fact a very distinguished thing. – Caleb Sep 13 '11 at 12:41
In short, while there are a lot of verses that are ambiguous or unclear and could be constrewn either way, that text in particular is not a credible way to LEAD an argument for Unitarianism. – Caleb Sep 13 '11 at 12:43
@tjameson the verse says "mighty God", not "almighty". – user14 Sep 28 '11 at 8:15

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