Trinity Proof Texts



Mark 2:5-12

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'? "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—He said to the paralytic— "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."




The irrefutable argument stated:

  1. "Who can forgive sins except one, God?" Mark 2:7
  2. Jesus forgave the sins of others in a way obviously different from the common practice of the Levitical priests and the Jews called it blasphemy.
  3. Jesus must therefore be God.


It was a common practice for the Levitical priests to pronounce forgiveness of sins based upon the law of Moses. (Lev 4:20 "So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven.") Levitical Priests pronounced forgiveness of sins quite commonly every day. It was well understood that these priests were not "absolving from sin", for absolution from sin is strictly a function of deity. (Isa 43:25) But it was clear to the Jews that Jesus was claiming a personal, direct power of absolution from sin, never seen before in any man. Jesus made the claim that no Jewish priest would ever make, that He Himself, had the power to forgive sins, hence the power of absolution. Jews and Christians never have the power to forgive sins in the mind of God. No man can, by personal grace, change a man's eternal destiny, apart from the mind of God. This is why they accused Jesus of blasphemy.

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttals:



Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal #1

The unbelieving Jews said this false statement of fact, not Jesus. The Bible also records the lie of the devil in Gen 2 that Eve would "surely not die". The Jews statement that "only God can forgive sins", is just as wrong as the Devil's statement to Eve, "you shall surely not die".

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal refuted

  1. True, but an absolutely unacceptable suggestion! The Jews would not be wrong on such a fundamental key point as forgiveness. At the very least, it proves that the current Jewish thought of the day was that only God could forgive sins.
  2. Notice that Jesus was "aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves". This proves that Jesus' answer "in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" was to reinforce the current Jewish thought that only God could forgive sin. Isa 43:25 confirms this current Jewish thought to be accurate.
  3. To correct the "alleged Jewish misunderstanding", Jesus could have simply said, "Hey guys, I am forgiving in the same way your Levitical Priests do! I am not God any more than they!" But he did not correct them, but rather reinforced their view because it was correct! Only God can forgive sin!



Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal #2

The apostles could forgive sins just like Christ, does that make the Apostles God? John 20:23 "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have [already] been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have [already] been retained."

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal refuted

  1. If Jesus was merely forgiving sins like men forgive sins, they would not have called Jesus a blasphemer, for the Old Testament commanded men to forgive each other.
  2. Jehovah's Witnesses are always deifying the creature by ascribing solely divine functions to a creature. Such is rank polytheism. Amazing that they would even suggest that any one but God can forgive sins. This is strictly a divine function! Isa 43:25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins." The very best Jehovah's Witnesses can argue is that Jesus was now performing what had previously been viewed as an exclusively divine function.
  3. The literal Greek reads: "their sins have [already] been forgiven them". In other words, when the apostles proclaim that someone is forgiven of sins, based upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which was just "breathed on them", God has already forgiven their sins before this! The verse is not saying that "God forgives sins, the moment the apostles proclaim it" but rather, when the Holy Spirit leads them to proclaim forgiveness of sins, God has already previously forgiven them. First they are forgiven in God's mind (true divine absolution) then the apostles proclaim it. Click here to see commentaries that explain this truth in more detail.
  4. Does the watchtower organization teach that it has the power of "absolution of sins"? Jehovah's Witnesses should be ashamed at making an argument they don't even believe is true! This is the identical approach that the Roman Catholics take to prove that the "church organization" can forgive personal sin independent of the mind of God. Such a view teaches a power of the "clergy over the pew-dwellers" regarding individual salvation, the exclusive right to marry, grant communion, and baptize. Click here to see Catholic position
  5. Jewish priests already had the power to grant forgiveness of sins based upon the Law of Moses. If Jesus was merely "proclaiming forgiveness based upon delegated authority" the Jews would not have charged Jesus with blasphemy! This proves that the Jews saw a difference between the common practice of the Levitical priests proclaiming forgiveness of sins based upon God's law and the ABSOLUTION from sin which Jesus proclaimed because he was God. They charged Jesus with blasphemy because Jesus was performing a divine function.
  6. Acts 5:31 proves this rebuttal wrong. The Jews correctly understood that only God forgives sin: "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." Jehovah's Witnesses must argue that they can forgive sins, just like Jesus can! Yet this is still an exclusive function of Jesus!



Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal #3

Christians are told by Christ to forgive sins of others. "forgive one another". Therefore we forgive men's sins in the identical way that Jesus was able to forgive men's sins. Jesus was merely forgiving sins in the same way we do.

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal refuted

  1. It is obvious that if Jesus was merely forgiving "as we forgive others" he would never have been called a blasphemer! They recognized Jesus was claiming the power of divine absolution!
  2. If you stop an think about this rebuttal, it is utter heresy! Jesus forgave men's sin, like the thief on the cross, and granted him eternal life. Are we as men, by virtue of our own human grace and choice, now able to grant forgiveness of sin, hence eternal life, and God must comply? Do we know the mind of God like Christ does? Can we walk up to someone and just save them by proclamation? This is the false Catholic view of absolution, like when J.F.K. was "absolved of all sin" by the Priest, after he was shot dead! Kennedy gets to Catholic heaven because a priest forgives his sins???
  3. When we forgive someone, it never changes their eternal destiny. Jesus was accused of blasphemy, because he was pronouncing divine forgiveness! In fact, we can forgive someone of sin as humans, and they are still counted as lost by God for that same sin!
  4. Taken to its logical conclusion, we are able to grant God's forgiveness of another by virtue of us merely forgiving them on a human level.



Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal #4

Jesus power to forgive sins was given to him from God proving that it was not inherent in Him and therefore not God.

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal refuted

  1. One of the biggest deceptions that anti-Trinitarians use to prove Jesus was a creature, is to say that because his authority was derived while on earth, that he is not God. But such a view completely misses the grand theme of "glory - servant - glory" that Jesus underwent by coming to earth... the incarnation. Jesus relinquished all his inherent rights, and took orders from the Father.
  2. If an army commander, with inherent power, decides to personally to take orders from a private in the army for a day by agreement, it doesn't change the rank of the private or the commander!
  3. If one man says to another, "I will not use either of my arms, until you instruct me to" does not mean that man did not previously have full personal control over the use of his arms. Rather, he has become a perfect slave. "This ain't rocket science!" JW's should be ashamed!
  4. God the Son, gave up his glory, came to earth and instead of acting like a head of state, acted like a slave saying, "I will only do what I am told".
  5. Therefore this silly rebuttal is invalid, because obedience does not determine what rights you have inherently.
  6. Jesus had many inherent divine rights before he became man, but chose to relinquish personal claim to these rights and act as a perfect slave towards the Father.
  7. John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.



Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal #5

The Jews called Jesus a blasphemer, because only Levitical priests could pronounce forgiveness. Jesus was of the tribe of Judah.

Anti-Trinitarian rebuttal refuted

If the Jews' concern was over Jesus not being a priest, they would not have taken issue with a man forgiving sin. It was obviously something never before seen, unlike even the Levitical priests would ever do. Jesus was claiming the power of absolution.




Documentation section

Correct interpretation of John 20:23:

New Bible Dictionary

The other is Jn. 20:23, 'If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven'. It is more than difficult to think of Christ as leaving in men's hands the determination of whether the sins of other men are to be forgiven or not. The important points are the plural ('any' is plural in the Gk.; it points to categories, not individuals), and the perfect tense rendered 'are forgiven' (it means 'have been forgiven', not 'will be forgiven'). The meaning of the passage then seems to be that as they are inspired by the Holy Spirit (v. 22) the followers of Jesus will be able to say with accuracy which categories of men have sins forgiven, and which not. (New Bible Dictionary, Forgiveness)

Bible Knowledge Commentary

Forgiveness of sins is one of the major benefits of the death of Jesus. It is the essence of the New Covenant (cf. Matt. 26:28; Jer. 31:31-34). Proclaiming the forgiveness of sins was the prominent feature of the apostolic preaching in the Book of Acts. Jesus was giving the apostles (and by extension, the church) the privilege of announcing heaven's terms on how a person can receive forgiveness. If one believes in Jesus, then a Christian has the right to announce his forgiveness. If a person rejects Jesus' sacrifice, then a Christian can announce that that person is not forgiven. (Bible knowledge commentary, John 20:21)

Matthew Henry

The apostles, in preaching remission, must begin at Jerusalem, though she had lately brought upon herself the guilt of Christ's blood: "Yet you may declare their sins remitted upon gospel terms.'' And Peter did so, Acts 2:38; 3:19. Christ, being risen for our justification, sends his gospel heralds to proclaim the jubilee begun, the act of indemnity now passed; and by this rule men shall be judged, ch. 12:48; Rom. 2:16; Jam. 2:12. God will never alter this rule of judgment, nor vary from it; those whom the gospel acquits shall be acquitted, and those whom the gospel condemns shall be condemned, which puts immense honour upon the ministry, and should put immense courage into ministers. Two ways the apostles and ministers of Christ remit and retain sin, and both as having authority:—[1.] By sound doctrine. They are commissioned to tell the world that salvation is to be had upon gospel terms, and no other, and they shall find God will say Amen to it; so shall their doom be. [2.] By a strict discipline, applying the general rule of the gospel to particular persons. "Whom you admit into communion with you, according to the rules of the gospel, God will admit into communion with himself; and whom you cast out of communion as impenitent, and obstinate in scandalous and infectious sins, shall be bound over to the righteous judgment of God.'' (Matthew Henry, John 20:21)

W. E. Vine

aphieµmi (ajfivhmi , (863)), to send away (akin to A, No. 1), is translated to remit in John 20:23 (twice), A.V. (R.V., to forgive). Scripture makes clear that the Lord's words could not have been intended to bestow the exercise of absolution, which Scripture declares is the prerogative of God alone. There is no instance in the N.T. of this act on the part of the Apostles. The words are to be understood in a "declarative" sense; the statement has regard to the effects of their ministry of the gospel, with its twofold effects of remission or retention. They could not, nor could anyone subsequently, forgive sins, any more than that Joseph actually restored the butler to his office and hanged the baker (Gen. 41:13), or any more than that the prophets actually accomplished things when they declared that they were about to be done (Jer. 1:10; Ezek. 43:3). (W. E. Vine, Remission)

False Catholic position on John 20:23:

Jerome Biblical Commentary

"The giving of the Spirit is here specifically related to the power given to the Church to continue the judicial character of Christ (3:19; 5:27; 9:39) in the matter of sin (cf. Mt 9:8; 16:19; 18:18; Lk 24:47). Catholic tradition (DB 920; DS 1710) has rightly seen in this act the origin of the Sacrament of Penance, even though it is equally true that the Church's power over sin is also exercised in baptism and the preaching of the redemptive word." (Jerome Biblical Commentary, Catholic, John 20:21)

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