Godhead: Persons and functions


And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth. (Gen 1:26)

God referred to himself in the plural using the word “us” which denotes more than one.

And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. (Gen 1:27). 

God created two people and said that, together, they were created in his image which implies that He is more than one.

And Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. And lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mat 3:16).  

Here we see all three Persons of the divine Godhead acting together: God, the Son, being baptized, God, the Holy Spirit, performing the baptism and God, the Father, speaking from heaven.

Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Mat 28:19).

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are All to be acknowledged as God by the baptism of believers in their Names.

And I will make prayer to the Father and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of true knowledge, … (Joh 14:16, 17).

Again, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned as Persons of the Godhead.

How can three separate Person’s be one? As in the previous paragraph, we again face a supernatural fact which we must accept by faith because we cannot fully comprehend it. We must also keep in mind that God is a spiritual being and we are in the flesh; He can exist in a way that we cannot.

Let us try to draw a picture in all humility and respect towards God. We could compare the Trinity with a cup of tea which has in it, tea, sugar and milk. When enjoying it, I will not say I am having tea, sugar and milk, but that I am having a cup of tea. I will think of it as a unity although, should I take it to a laboratory, the technician will be able to analyze the contents and find that it consists of tea, sugar and milk.

Likewise God the Father, the Son and the Spirit are  three clearly distinguishable Persons, yet they are one God and if He speaks to us in our hearts, we will not be able to say whether it was the Father, the Son or the Spirit that spoke, or that healed us or provided in our needs; we will just know and say that God did this or that.


In a human household the father, mother and children, normally each have a different function or role to fulfill to make the home run smoothly. Likewise, the three Persons in the Godhead, Each has a different function making the universe to be an enjoyable home for God and his people.

1. God The Father

a. From God the Father proceeded the power to create the universe and by His power it is maintained. He is the source of all the gifts that flow to the earth.

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. (Jam 1:17).

b. God the Father decides what, where, when, how and by whom all should be done.

He has the first and last say in all pertaining to the universe. All must happen according to His will and line of thought.

He was the architect and engineer that planned in the finest detail what the universe was to look like and how it was to function. He had to decide all regarding the stars and planets, there sizes, mass, composition and courses.

The earth He even planned more precisely: the oceans, mountains, plants, the beings in the oceans in the sky and on dry land and of course mankind consisting of spirit soul and body. The put it in human terms: His studio is filled with countless blueprints of what He created and of the new heavens and earth He has in mind for the future. No, let us catch up: His workplace contains ultra modern super computers by means of which you can, with a voice command, call up all the information pertaining the past, present and future of every micro organism. No, let us put it as it really is: He carries all of that information within his mind; He is not dependent on any appliance to assist Him.

c. He appoints whoever He pleases, be it his Son, people, and angels for the specific tasks that are to be performed. Jesus was appointed by his Father as Saviour of this world and as the ruler thereof:

Yea, I have set My king on My holy hill, on Zion. I will declare the decree of Jehovah. He has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession. (Psa 2:6-8). 

When the mother of James and John requested the Lord Jesus to allow her two sons to sit at his right and left hand in his Kingdom, He replied:

But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but to those for whom it is prepared. (Mar 10:40)  

Before appointing his twelve disciples, Jesus prayed the whole night to get their names from the Father.

d. He is the One that determines the exact date and time when his plans are to be executed and when the Lord Jesus will be returning to earth:

But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father. (Mat 24:36)  

e. Personally, He is not involved with the end product

The Father is not involved with the execution of any of his planned tasks (Like the owner of a farm that is not personally involved with the shearing of the sheep or the planting of the maize.) He depends on the Son and the Holy Spirit to do this.

Only on two occasions, in the New testament, does He leave heaven, visit the earth and address people in his own voice and on both occasions,  it was to confirm to them that Jesus was his beloved Son in whom He had full confidence and that they were to listen to him – so He was glorifying his Son. That was at Jesus’ baptism and glorification on the mountain (Mat 3:17 en 17:5).

Father, glorify Your name! Then there came a voice from the heaven saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. Then the crowd who stood by and heard said that it thundered. Others said, An angel spoke to Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sakes. (Joh 12:28-30)

2. God The Son; the Mediator

a. The function of mediation

Mediation, in Scripture, entails bringing about God the Father’s plans in the universe by hearing what He says and seeing what He does and doing and saying likewise.

An example of how the Father goes about to have his plans carried out is in the construction of the tabernacle. It was as if the Father constructed a model of it in heaven which he then showed to Moses complete with a description of each component and then Moses had to build an exact replica down below.

“…, as Moses was warned of God when he was about to make the tabernacle. For, He says “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mountain.” (Heb 8:5).  

b. The Son, the perfect mediator

The Son is the mediator, the in between Person and He carries out the Father’s thoughts and plans  in the universe; that is why Scripture teaches that the universe was created by the Son (Joh 1:3; Col 1:16).

The Son never ever did anything which did not come from the Father. During his walk on earth He said:

… , Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise. (Joh 5:19).  

c. The Son, mediator in creation

Exactly how this happens is not revealed to us. In regard to the creation of this world, for instance, it is as if the Father uttered certain words in heaven to bring about light; the Son then walked out onto the upper story balcony, looked in the direction of the world wrapped in darkness and shouted, “Let there be light,” and at once the globe was shrouded in light, brought about by the Holy Spirit Who had been hovering over the waters.

d. The Son, mediator In the cleansing of the temple. Here we have another example of this principle.

I can do nothing of My own self. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me. (Joh 5:30). 

The picture we get is as follows: When the pigeon dealers and money changers were to be driven from the temple, the Father would, in heaven enact the whole episode of  the plaiting of a whip, overthrowing of tables and driving of people from the place and speak certain accompanying words and his Son, the Lord Jesus, would, in the Spirit, see what He does and hear what He speaks and do exactly the same down in the temple at Jerusalem.

e. The Son’s ministry on earth was a mirror image of what his Father did in heaven.

There was no room for self, though He was God the Son. What a challenge to everyone who ministers in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

To summarize: the Son and Holy Spirit do exactly what They see and hear from the Father and He depends altogether on the Son and the Spirit for the execution of his plans.

e. The price of mediation

The Lord Jesus also was the mediator when God planned to save mankind (1 Tim 2:5). God the Father had in mind the saving of every human being from sin and death, but who would be willing to stand in the gap and die and suffer the terrible pain to bear the punishment for man’s sin? It was Jesus, the Son, that offered to die on the cross for this purpose. He therefore became the pipeline through which the Father’s blessing of salvation could flow from heaven to earth. He acquired all the riches that would be bestowed on mankind (Heb 10:4-10).

For God is one, and there is one Mediator of God and of men, the Man Christ Jesus, (1 Tim 2:5).

Having accomplished this great work, the Son ascended to heaven to the right hand of the Father where He is now furthering the work of salvation by praying to His Father that the blessing He acquired be carried through to God’s garden (mankind).

f. Mediation fulfilled.

At the consummation of all things, the Father will take complete control:

… then is the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power, for it is right for Him to reign until He has put all the enemies under His feet. (1Cor 15:24, 25)  

3. God The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is that Person in the Godhead that applies to creation, the blessings of the Father and the acquirements of Jesus.

We read in Genesis chapter 1:2 that when the earth was dark and void, the Spirit hovered over the waters. He was like a hen hatching eggs to bring forth living chickens, desiring to bring the Father’s blessings of plant-, animal- and human life to this world.

He now desires to bring new spiritual life into this dark world. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, his first prayer was for his Father to send the Holy Spirit into this world, to deliver to mankind, the salvation which He, the Son had paid for. The Father granted his prayer and the Holy Spirit was poured out into this world on the day of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit now conveys the message of this great blessing which we call the Gospel, to mankind, opens their minds to understand it and enters the hearts and lives of those that open up to him.

Just like Jesus, the Holy Spirit can do nothing of himself:

However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. (Joh 16:13). 

Once the Holy Spirit has completed His work of salvation in the garden of God, the Son will return to reap the harvest and return it to the Father.

So, each Person in the Godhead has a distinctive function but All work together towards a common goal.


 Let us briefly repeat what was said above. When the Son and the Holy Spirit, under direction of the Father, have destroyed all rebellion against God within creation, the Son hands over the authority over the new heavens and earth to the Father from Whom everything originally emanated.

then is the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor 15:24).

In this Kingdom will Jesus and his Bride, (born-again mankind that had in the meantime, at the marriage feast of the Lamb become his wife), live together forever.

O what a glorious, sweet, loving, atmosphere prevails in heaven. It fills one’s heart with longing and let’s you call out, “Amen, yes come Lord Jesus, come soon.”

(P.S. To write about the Lord’s commandments, promises, deeds and dealings with mankind, already is a holy task, but to write about HIM, is awesome. You feel as if you are walking on holy ground, as if the air around you is filled with his presence and you wish you had wings like the seraphim of Isaih 6:2 with which to cover yourself.)



Something on your heart regarding this studyguide ?

Please share it with us.

SHARE WITH OTHERS: Have you enjoyed this study guide? Then please share it with your friends by way of social media such as Facebook, etc. In so doing we join hands in bearing out the Good News.

COPYING OF OUR DOCUMENTS: This study guide may be copied or printed free of charge for personal use.

    PoorFairGoodVery goodStricking