I was a Trinitarian for twenty-two years. Then I read myself out of it in the Bible. I began to see that the Bible does not teach a Triune God as the post-apostolic, institutional, mostly Gentile church eventually declared and condemned those who differed. That is, there is no express teaching in the Bible about God being three in one, or God being three co-equal and co-eternal persons as I had been taught. In fact, the word “trinity” is not even in the Bible. This scared me when I thought of Paul saying, “agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim 6.3). Through much study of the Bible, Bible commentaries, and hundreds of books written by Christian scholars on the identity of Jesus, I came to the conclusion that neither does the Bible say Jesus is God. And I wrote a 600-page book on entitled The Restitution of Jesus Christ, citing over 400 scholars.
I first discovered with a red letter Bible that Jesus never said he was God. That was such a shocker to me. There is no “I am God” or anything resembling it in the New Testament gospel sayings of Jesus. Those gospels are full of discourse about who Jesus is. Yet in the synoptics (Matt., Mark, Luke), there is no concept stated in them about whether or not Jesus is God. The only time that subject arises is twice in the Gospel of John. But it was not Jesus teaching such a thing, or his disciples discussing it, but Jesus’ Jewish opponents accusing him.
The first time it occurred, these Jews believed about Jesus, “he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God” (John 5.18). But in Jesus’ lengthy response, he thoroughly denied it (vv. 19-47). Twice he said, “I can doing nothing of my own self” (vv. 19, 30). He meant that he could do no miracles such as he had just done, and they had just witnessed, in which he healed a paralyzed man (vv. 1-17).
The second time it happened, they misunderstood Jesus saying, “I and the Father are one” (John 10.30). He only meant that he and the one God, whom he constantly called “Father, were one in purpose and work (vv. 25-29).
Jesus soon explained that he had power to do such miracles because, “the Father is in Me and I am in the Father” (v. 38; cf. 14.10-11; 17.21). Scholars call this The Mutual Indwelling. It is answers the question of how Jesus could do all of his miracles. It was not because he was God but because, as Paul says, “God was in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5.19).
But what did the Apostle Peter say about this matter. That Catholic Church calls him the first “pope,” to which I object, but at least Peter was the supreme leader and spokesman for the apostles during Jesus’ public ministry and the early years of the Jesus Movement.
When Jesus asked his disciples, “whom do people say that the Son of man is?” (Matt. 16.13 NRSV), and he followed it with, “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 15), Matthew reports, “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'” (v. 16). By this, Matthew indicates two things that do not appear in the reports of the other tow synoptists. Jesus obviously meant he was that Son of man. And since Luke and Mark record this, but only have Peter answering, “(You are) the Messiah (of God)” (Mark 8.29), their omission about Peter saying Jesus was “the Son of God,” as Matthew records, indicates that Jesus being the Messiah was synonymous with him being the Son of God. Thus, Peter did not mean that Jesus was God because he was the Son of God, as I and almost all Christians have been falsely taught.
After Jesus died, arose from the dead, and ascended to heaven forty days later, Jesus apostles and other disciples gathered together at Jerusalem ten days later on the Feast of Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came upon them in great power, so that they magnified God in languages they did not know that others did, Peter then gave his first sermon to thousands of Jews. He said, “You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know, this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him from the death” (Acts 2.22-24).
So, what did Peter say about Jesus here in this important statement? He identified Jesus as “a man,” and thus not God or a God-man as the church now wrongly teaches and has done so for over 1,600 years. Peter also said that Jesus’ miracles were what “God did through him,” so that Jesus did not accomplish them by some inherent power belonging to himself, as if he is deity. And finally, Peter says “God raised him up … from death,” so that Jesus did not resurrect himself (despite John 10). All this testifies strongly against the idea that Jesus was God.
So, exactly how did God do these things through Jesus of Nazareth as his agent? Peter answered sometime later while preaching the gospel to the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household of relatives and guests, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10.38). And Peter equates this with, “God was with him.”
So, the Apostle Peter, the leader and spokesman for Jesus select group of apostles whom he chose to spread his message of salvation and eternal life throughout the world, this great apostle of Jesus never said Jesus was God or a God-man. Quite the contrary, he proclaimed that Jesus so acted because God anointed him with the Holy Spirit. This realization of all that Peter said in identifying Jesus and the source of his power should cause all Christians to realize that Jesus was a man who conquered sin and death on our behalf by the power of God only. IMO, this is a far greater story than the erroneous, unbiblical teaching that Jesus is God.
To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book, with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.