'Oneness' Favorite Verses

Byzantine Medallion

Return to Answering 'Oneness' Pentecostalism...

John 14:9

  • “Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, "Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”
  • (John 14:9-10).

Be careful not to slam the book shut at verse 9, forcing the conclusion that those who have seen Jesus have seen the Father because Jesus is the Father. Not only does that contradict other clear scripture, it also contradicts Jesus' own explanation, to Philip, of what He means, in the very next line: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." (John 14:10).  This is called 'circumincession': the Biblical fact that the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father: "...that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21) - likewise, the Holy Spirit in the Son: "Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness..." (Luke 4:1); likewise, Christ and the Father in the Holy Spirit: "...in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:21-22).

LogoThe 'Oneness' Pentecostals want to understand the Bible truth that the Father is in the Son to mean that 'the Spirit' is in 'the flesh' — leaving the correlative Bible truth, that the Son is in the Father, oddly stranded: "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." (John 14:20).  Or is 'the flesh' in 'the Spirit'?

Jesus Christ is the Image of God the Father: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  Jesus said that if you'd seen Him, you'd also seen the One who sent Him: "And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me." (John 12:45).  He is the image of the invisible God: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Colossians 1:15). It's long before the incarnation that Christ is called "the image of the invisible God"; it's this "image", the "firstborn", who is said to have created "all things."

He is the "express image" of God the Father, a more perfect copy than any ever traced by human skill: "...who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,..." (Hebrews 1:3). Since the author of Hebrews is speaking of "his Son" as the One "by whom also he made the worlds", certainly this is not a reference restricted to the incarnation! It's as the image of the invisible God that the glory even of God the Father shines forth in Him: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Thus the Bible speaks of our seeing and knowing the Father through the Son:

"The Express Image of His Person (Heb. 1:3): The word translated 'express image' means 'to engrave, or cut into,' and is used especially of the impression made by a die, as in the stamping of coins. The impression reproduces exactly the features on the face of the die. To see the one is to see the other. Then the term  'person' refers to that which 'lies under,' not to outward appearance, but to inward reality. The Son is the express image of God's Person, the perfect display of all that is essential to the being of God.
"Here, then, He is seen as of one substance with the Father, yet personally distinct from Him. In the Son is set forth every quality, every resource, every power, that dwells in God. Therefore to behold the Son is to behold the Father.
"This precious truth we have from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself. We recall the words which He spoke in the upper room: 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father' (John 14:9). Knowing the Son, we know the Father; not vaguely but in truth. Beholding the face wet with tears by the tomb of Lazarus, we see that the Father is compassionate; beholding the unsullied purity of that life, we learn that the Father is holy; beholding the sufferings of the Cross, we learn that the Father is loving." (H. C. Hewlett, The Glories of Our Lord, p. 37).

In a word, "We can't love God without knowing God. And Jesus is the fullest revelation of God. If we know him truly, we know God." (John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, Kindle location 976).


Isaiah 9:6

  • “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
  • (Isaiah 9:6).

Some commentators prefer to translate "Everlasting Father" literally, as 'Father of eternity.' Jesus as the Logos created time. In accordance with common Old Testament idiom, the owner or possessor of a given thing is named 'father of' it: 'Abiathar' (1 Samuel 22:22) means 'father of abundance', 'Abiezar' (1 Chronicles 11:28) means 'father of help;' thus, 'Father of eternity' might mean 'he who lives forever.' There is some suggestion of this meaning in the Targum of Jonathan, an ancient Aramaic paraphrase: "'The prophet,' says the Targum of Jonathan, 'speaketh of the house of David, because a child is born to us, a son is given to us. . . his name is called of old Wonderful in counsel, God the mighty, He who abideth forever, the Messiah whose peace shall be abundant upon us in His days.'" (quoted from Paton J. Gloag, Knowing the Truth about Jesus the Messiah, John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Kindle location 449). As the creator of the aeons (Hebrews 1:2; 11:3), Jesus is the father of eternity, but He is not His own Father: "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:31).

To what extent are names shared and to what extent are they personal? As seen here, even the designation 'father' can under some circumstances belong to the Son. It is interesting to reflect that Jesus already bore the name of God the Father during His pilgrimage with the children of Israel through the wilderness: "Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.  Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him." (Exodus 23:20-21).  This is the Angel of His presence, "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them All the days of old." (Isaiah 63:9).  This Angel of His presence was Christ, who disciplined the children in the wilderness: "...nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;..." (1 Corinthians 10:9).

LogoWhat name is "My name is in Him"? A similar verse is John 17:11-12, which in some versions reads, "Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me; that they may be one, even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them..." (NASB). One suggestion is 'I AM':

"...he says that the Father has given him His name (John xvii 11, 12)...What is this divine name that has been given to Jesus and that he glorifies through His death, resurrection, and ascension?...While John too uses the title kyrios for Jesus, it is quite possible that John thinks of ego eimi as the divine name given to Jesus. If this name is to be glorified through the hour of the death and resurrection, John viii 28 says, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that 'I AM.'' (Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John, I-XII, Anchor Bible, p. 537).

'Oneness' Pentecostals say that 'Jesus' is the name of the Father which He gave to the Son. As evidence they advance Isaiah 12:2: "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." 'Jesus' means 'Jehovah is Salvation.' But no one in the gospels reacts to 'Jesus,' a common name of the day, as to a divine name. Here is how folks react to ego eimi: "As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he [ego eimi], they went backward, and fell to the ground." (John 18:6). And when do we ever see Jesus address His Father as 'Jesus?' Rather, 'Jesus' is consistently used as a personal name of the Son. One does not read, 'How Jesus anointed Jesus with Jesus and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for Jesus was with him.' (Not Acts 10:38).

'I AM' was understood by the Septuagint translators as a divine name: "In Isa. lii. 6 the parallelism suggests a similar interpretation: 'My people shall know my name; in that day (they shall know) that I am He who speaks. LXX can be read, that ego eimi is the one who speaks'; and thus ego eimi becomes the divine name to be known in the day of the Lord." (Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John, I-XII, Anchor Bible, p. 536).

God has many names, some not known to man: "He had a name written that no one knew except Himself." (Revelation 19:12). One we do know: 'I AM',— Jehovah,— belongs to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Colossians 2:9

  • “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
  • (Colossians 2:9).

The suffix 'head' is an archaic form of 'hood', so that 'Godhead' = 'Godhood'.  Just as 'widowhood' is the state, nature or condition of being a widow, so 'Godhead' is the state or nature of being God - i.e., the essential nature of Deity. Oddly, 'Oneness' Pentecostals think this passage contradicts the doctrine of the Trinity, even though this is just exactly what Christians have always confessed about Jesus: that He is very God of very God, participating fully and completely in the essential nature of Deity. "'Theotes': 1) deity; 1a) the state of being God, Godhead" (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).

'Godhead' is sometimes used as shorthand for 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit'. Even under this usage, though, the passage is still true of Jesus, because both Father and Spirit indwelt Him: "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.'" (John 10:37-38); "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure." (John 3:34) — and He Himself is the Word incarnate: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).

It's even true that Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwell within the believer, though not beyond measure: "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'" (John 14:23); "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

How 'Godhead', a word which originally means the essential nature of Deity, came to serve as shorthand for 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit,' can be traced: "Hence it is quite clear that in God's essence reside three persons in whom one God is known." (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter XIII, 16).  For Calvin's "God's essence" one may substitute 'Godhead', because that's what the word means. This phraseology can be overheard as if the 'Godhead' is a sort of a bin with three marbles rattling around within; sometimes language which is not by intent spatial or topographical is heard as if it were. The word's literal meaning should not be lost sight of: the singular, undivided essential nature of Deity.

We are partakers in God's nature on a small scale, not of the "fullness" as is Christ: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord...by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:2-4). His is the 'fullness' - He is fully and completely God. Christians have always believed this.

Acts 2:38

"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

"A woman went into her kitchen to find a burglar loaded down with a bunch of stuff he was stealing from her kitchen.  Not having any kind of weapon to scare him off, she raised her hand and said 'Acts 2:38,' and proceeded to quote scripture.
"The burglar froze in place and didn't move.  The woman called 911, the police arrived and were amazed to find the burglar still frozen where he stood. 'What did you say to him that kept him from moving?' they asked the woman.  She told them that she had simply said Acts 2:38 and quoted scripture.
"The police chuckled and escorted the burglar out to the patrol car. 'Why did the woman's quoting scripture scare you so much?' they asked.
"'Scripture?' said the burglar, 'I thought she said she had an axe and two 38's!'"

'Oneness' Pentecostals build Acts 2:38 into a three-step 'Salvation Plan.' It is their proof-text not only for baptismal regeneration, but also that speaking in tongues is mandatory for salvation. Is this interpretation credible?

LogoRefrain from 'correcting' the question asked by the crowd from, "what shall we do?", to 'what shall we do to be saved?'  What did the hearers on the Day of Pentecost have in mind?  Were the questioners already trusting Jesus for salvation? Did the audience already understand that the Messiah's mission was to save souls? Many Jews of the day had a corporate and political understanding of the Messiah's mission not focused upon individual, personal salvation.  Not understanding the two advents, even Jesus' disciples were bewildered when events seemed to go contrary to plan: "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.  Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened." (Luke 24:21).  That the Messiah came into the world to save souls was not as obvious to the audience on the Day of Pentecost as it would be to an audience habituated to Christian preaching.

Hearing that they had crucified the Messiah, Peter's hearers must have felt panic-stricken, thinking the Kingdom had passed Israel by.  Peter reassured them that this was in the plan, that it was God's intent to call out a salvation community in the church.  It's only as 'corrected' by adding 'to be saved' to the crowd's question, that Acts 2:38 can be wrested into a 'salvation plan' at all!  Otherwise picking this one verse out of a hat to be a 'salvation plan' yields no more plausible results than the 'Acts 28:1 See Malta and Die Salvation Plan': "Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta." — or the '1 Timothy 5:23 Skid Row Salvation Plan': "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

Holy, Holy, Holy

Genesis 1:26

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:26-27).

This verse is often quoted against 'Oneness' Pentecostalism. God here addresses Himself as "Us," an intimation of His triunity. So it's surprising to realize some perceive this verse as helpful to 'Oneness':

"Though we humans (created in God's image) have body, soul and spirit we are not each 'three separate persons'. Though God manifested Himself as 'Father, Son, and Holy Ghost' he is not 'three separate persons'." (Steve Winter, PRIME.org)

There are natural analogies to the trinity in man's makeup. The two most commonly noted are that man is body, soul and spirit, and that he has memory, will and understanding. Yet man is not triune in the same way in which God is triune. Man is made in the "image of God," as the Bible testifies:

"Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Genesis 9:6).

So if man is made in the "image of God," as the Bible testifies, why is man not triune?

Who is the Image? Jesus Christ is the image:

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4).

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:..." (Colossians 1:15).

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;..." (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus Christ, who is the image of God the Father, is not Himself triune, no more than is the Father whose image He is.

We, in turn, are made after the same image, in Christ. If you strike one coin in the image of another, a third coin made after the same image would not reflect two coins but one. It's the same image, declining in perfection and detail as the exemplar fades into the distance.

Acts 2:36

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36).

Scriptures purported to show subordination are popular with 'Oneness' Pentecostals, as they are with Jehovah's Witnesses. But it is not the case that these verses show the Son to be a creature as claimed, nor that they show inequality of nature; rather they show difference of position:

  • “If someone asks a king about his son, and says, 'What is he to you?' the king will tell him, 'He is my son.'
  • "'Is he your legitimate or your illegitimate son?' The king will say, 'He is my legitimate son.'
  • "'Then what did you make him?'
  • "'I made him king.' Plainly, the son's rank is no different from his father's. And because he has said, 'I made him king,' this surely does not mean that the king is saying, 'I created him.' In saying, 'I made him,' he certainly did not deny begetting--which he had acknowledged--but made that plain; 'I made him,' however, was a statement of his rank.”
  • (Epiphanius, Panarion, Section V, 49 [69], 39,2).

Mark 15:34

"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34).

This verse, along with Matthew 27:46, is a great favorite of all Unitarians. What does it mean? Is it really just the same as if the Speaker were saying, "I am not God?":

Darkness Too Pure
Psalm 22 Suffering Servant
Say It and Mean It Quest for the Historical Jesus
Ends of the Earth

1 Timothy 3:16

  • “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
  • (1 Timothy 3:16).

It is in this popular Bible verse that many 'Oneness' teachers find laid out their paradigm that 'the Son=the flesh' and 'the Father=the Spirit.' However this seems to be a case of finding something that isn't actually there:

One Throne in Heaven
Play the Race Card