Who do Trinitarians understand Peter's God to be?


Acts 3:13 NKJV (Peter speaking)

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

Acts 2:22

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

1Peter 1

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Matthew 16:16

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Psalm 84:2

My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of YHWH; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

  • 4
    While it's interesting to query the foundational beliefs of our T brothers, they always fall back to proof-texting and invented grammar rules to make one verse somehow superior to all the others, thereby supposedly 'proving' the theory. If one proof text is dismantled, there is always another to subvert the enquiry. Somehow, Jesus 'sitting next to God' doesn't appear to be very significant. Yet this one truth is the whole reason for Jesus existing in the first place!
    – steveowen
    Dec 6, 2022 at 3:15
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – user52135
    Jan 12 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


Peter's belief about who God is VS Him addressing one person that is God

Obviously with the verses you have cited, Peter is addressing the Father, one person that is truly God, does this mean that Peter believed that God is only one person that is the Father, and not the Son and the Holy Spirit? No.

You have not lied to men but to God

Acts 5:3-4 (NASB95)

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Did Peter believe that the Holy Spirit is God? Yes, he showed that he understood the nature of the Holy Spirit to be God, it's clear that the "God" that is in verse 4 is applied to the Holy Spirit, notice the phrase "You have not lied to men but to God" connecting it with what he stated in verse 3 "to lie to the Holy Spirit" which indicates that he could not have addressed two persons in verses 4 and 3.

Our God and Savior Jesus Christ

2 Peter 1:1 (NASB95)

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

If you are using the KJV, it's not rendered clearly.

2 Peter 1:1 (KJV)

SIMON Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

So did Peter call Jesus God? Yes he did, let's look at the context and the writing format of 2 Peter 1.

2 Peter 1:11 (NASB95)

for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Let's look at the Greek of the phrases in 2 Peter 1:1 and 2 Peter 1:11.


τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ


τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ Σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

You can see that Peter used the EXACT same format in 1:11 as 1:1 but used Κυρίου ἡμῶν (our Lord) instead of Θεοῦ ἡμῶν (our God), therefore, the rendering of "our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" is valid. This is called the Granville Sharp rule, where you have two nouns that are not general names such as John, Bob etc. and are connected by καὶ, and the first noun is supported by the definite article such as τοῦ in this case and the second noun is lacking one, which leads to the two nouns being applied to the one person that is addressed by name in the phrase.

So did Peter believe that God is one person?

No, as shown that Peter believed that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, yet he was a monotheist. Citing verses where Peter is addressing one Person that is God such as the Father is a weak argument, I'm a Trinitarian and I pray to Father who is one person that is God and end my prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus.

  • 1
    I think a broader contextual analysis of Peter's writings and statements undermine the interpretation of 2 Peter 1:1 you're giving, which is grammatically ambiguous. Note commentary at revisedenglishversion.com/2-Peter/chapter1/1 Also noted there, there's a textual variant problem here. Nov 4, 2022 at 16:42
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    The textual variant problem also significantly undermines the argument from 2 Peter 1:11, it seems to me. Nov 4, 2022 at 17:45
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    @OneGodtheFather There is no "Trinitarian assumptions" here, the Trinitarian position will come naturally if you read the NT consistently. "You can just as easily argue Holy Spirit = God = Father", not if you read the NT in a consistent way, we are taught in Jn 14 that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct from one another, so saying that the Holy Spirit = the Father in Acts 5 is nothing but a pure form of an inconsistent reading of the NT.
    – Isha
    Nov 11, 2022 at 2:49
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    @OneGodtheFather Is it your logic to completely distrust the bible in the places where it has textual variants? if that's your logic then you really can't trust the bible that you have now because of the huge number of textual variants. Textual variants in no shape or form affect God's word and that is why we have textual criticism done by professional scholars, it's for us to know what Peter really wrote.
    – Isha
    Nov 11, 2022 at 2:55
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    @OneGodtheFather "our God and Savior" is confirmed to be the earliest and original writing, it is present in Papyrus 72 which is the OLDEST manuscript we have for 1&2 Peter. If you are going to deny these facts then you are disregarding every form of valid textual criticism and therefore you can't trust the bible you have now. What you're doing as well is inconsistently applying one invalid standard to 2 Peter 1 and not to other passages in the bible, which I think will not be in the favour of anti-Trinitarians if you do.
    – Isha
    Nov 11, 2022 at 2:59

With the one answer given so far (as at November 2nd), you commented, "The word PERSON is not in the question, THEREFORE it MUST be defined in the answer." This was because the answer given dealt a lot with the Father being a person, the Son being a person, and the Holy Spirit being a person. That is the Trinitarian stance, one definition being that three persons subsist in the one being of God [or essence, or substance].

Most people who take Trinitarians to task fail to grasp the significant difference between 'person' and 'being', so that is why I am responding to your comment. Yes, the word 'person' needs to be defined (with respect to the one God the Bible speaks of.) The apostle Peter spoke of this one God, for he never spoke of 'gods' (plural) in such contexts.

The real issue here is the problem we have using English words that have been translated, first from old Latin, which, in turn, were translated from the original koine Greek. This is where misunderstanding arises. Here is how this is explained in the source below:

"Our English word 'person' comes from Latin and it has lost something in its translation from Greek. The original Greek word 'ousia' meant essence or substance. The usual Latin for that is 'substantia', meaning essence or substance.

The Greek word 'hypostasis' meant person, or a second meaning was substance. The usual Latin is 'persona', meaning person, or a second meaning of actor, or role.

The Greek word 'prosopon' meant face or mask, with a second meaning of person. The usual Latin for that is 'persona', and that is where we get our understanding of 'person' from.

But in the original Greek of the Bible New Testament, we see that 'essence' or 'substance' was the meaning, and it is that language that the Trinity doctrine is all about. [Most English speaking people today only think of it simply as an individual person.]

The Greeks described the Trinity as 'mia ousia en trisin hypostasesi' = one substance (essence) in three subsistenes [persons]." Unfortunately, that could be misunderstood as saying, "one essence in three substances", which would be 3 gods. When the Latins then said, 'una substantia in tribus personis' = one substance in three persons", they could be misunderstood as saying one 'hypostasis' (person) in three roles." [Bear in mind the link between a role and a face-mask, as with actors.]

We are 16 centuries removed from this, when Sabellianism opposed Trinitarianism. Yet the modern-day opposition and the teaching back then remains the same as today - "Three - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - are God, yet God is not three, but One." That is why I said that English translation from Latin loses something in the translation. And Latin translation from Greek lost something as well. There's nothing like sticking to the original koine Greek that the NT was written in, but few of us are linguists, and it was never going to be easy, getting a verbal handle on the awesomeness of Deity.

Source - Heresies and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church, Harold O.J. Brown pp 63, 128-130 (Hendrickson 1998)

Finally, to answer your actual question (now that I've exposed the tangle of misunderstandings we English-speaking people get into), for as long as there is not clarity with the meaning of translated words, some will insist Peter could only mean a simple God comprised of one person (or Spirit). Whereas others will insist Peter knew the one God to be a complex being, revealed in the incarnation, and through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Nobody will get anywhere asking, "What did Peter believe as to who his God was?" for what Peter said will be interpreted in light of one's theology. We all like to claim it is the other way around, with us - we discover what the Bible states and our theology is based on that. All I can say is that I stoutly and passionately believed in a simple God and that Jesus was created by this God, and the Holy Spirit was just energy, power, used by God. Then in later life, the Holy Spirit revealed to me just who this Son of God really is; that the Father and the Son share the one, divine nature, with absolute unity of the Spirit in that nature. I expect you to totally disagree, but that's not a problem here, on this site, as long as nobody starts trying to argue in comments that an answer is wrong.

  • I share that belief with you also! Dec 5, 2022 at 19:37

tl ; dr is Trinitarians can say 'God' is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, or all 3, depending on the context. This is because God is whoever shares the divine substance, and all 3 persons share this substance. You can say each one 'is' God, or all 3 'are' God.

In the contexts above, they will say the Father is being referred to in specific, who is a divine person who 'is' God.

  • So... Modalism? Jan 12 at 18:15
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    @ReadLessPrayMore No, no, no! NOT modalism! Definitely not that! That would be heresy. These are persons, you see? NOT 'modes'. Jan 12 at 18:47
  • I know you do not subscribe to modalism. What is "tl; dr"? "God is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit...depending on the context..." This sounds like modalism to me. What is the divine substance shared if not the Spirit of God the Father? Is anything defined further? Jan 12 at 22:43
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    The word 'God' is used to refer to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit as persons, or sometimes to all 3 inclusive, depending on the context. It's not that God is changing, just the way Trinitarians are speaking about God. Jan 12 at 23:19

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