It is taught, and believed, by most Christians, that the word “elohim,” when referring to the only true God, describes a God who is the Trinity, or one God (singularity) who is three persons in nature (plurality). This is the prevailing belief among Christians today. The one God is Himself the three persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The website “Hebrew for Christians” explains this very thing:
“The word Elohim is the plural of El (or possibly Eloah) and is the first name for God given in the Tanakh: “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1)…
The name Elohim is unique to Hebraic thinking: it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language. The masculine plural ending does not mean “gods” when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular (e.g., see Gen. 1:26). However, considering the Hashalush HaKadosh (Trinity), the form indeed allows for the plurality within the Godhead.”
And the website “Got Questions” explains:
What about Trinitarianism? Does the fact that Elohim is plural suggest the triune nature of God? It is best to understand the word construction as a plural of majesty; that is, writing “Elohim” is a stylistic way of emphasizing greatness, power, and prestige. With that said, and in light of the overall teaching of the Bible, the plural form of Elohim certainly allows for the further revelation of God’s triune nature; the Old Testament hints at the Trinity in order to prepare people for the Messiah who would be much more than a human prophet. When Jesus appeared, He more fully revealed mysteries hinted at in the Old Testament. At Jesus’ baptism we have all three Persons of Elohim present: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16–17).
But there is strong scriptural proof that refutes this theory. Using the Bible as its own expositor, Jeremiah 10:10 tells us exactly how we should be applying the word “Elohim” when referring to God:
“But the LORD (Jehovah) is the true God, he is the living God…”
The word “God” is here, and throughout the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew word “elohim.” So, Jeremiah 10:10 uses the Hebrew word Elohim to specify the true God, the living God. The name of the true God (Elohim), and the living God (Elohim) is Jehovah.
The New Testament expands our knowledge of this true and living God, known as Elohim in the Old Testament:
So who is the the true God, or the true Elohim?
In John 17:3, Christ prays to His Father, and He names His Father the “only true God.” Praying to His Father, Jesus says,
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
According to Jesus, the Father is the only true God. There is “only” one true God, and it is the Father. And Christ is someone other than the only true God. In other words, Christ is not the only true God but the Son of the only true God. This is emphasized by the use of the word “and” – “the only true God and Jesus Christ…”
This is the same as saying “the Father and His Son.” The Father (the only true God) is not a plurality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is One, not three. In fact, the Father is the “only” true God, because it is the Father who is given the name of the only true God. The Father is “the true Elohim,” or “the true God” of Jeremiah 10:10. The true Elohim is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God (2Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; 1Peter 1:3; John 17:3; Jeremiah 10:10).
But please don’t jump to conclusions. Because I said Jesus is not the true God does not mean that I’m saying that Christ is not divine. Christ is God’s divine Son. Christ is God’s only begotten Son. This is what makes Him divine.
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:18
Notice that God is one person, and Christ is another. Christ could not be equal with God if He were God. He could only be equal with God if He were someone other than God. Christ is equal with God. And what makes Him equal with God is the fact that He is God’s Son. God is the Father of Christ. Christ is the Son of God.
Elohim is the true God, the only true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who is the living God?
In Matthew 16:16, Peter answers a question asked by Jesus Christ. His answer tells us who the living God is. Jesus asks His disciples,
“But whom say ye that I am?”
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Again, we learn that Christ is not the living God, but the Son of the living God. If Christ is the Son of the living God, then the living God is the Father of Jesus Christ. The living God is not all three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The living God is the Father, one person. He is
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” 2Corinthians 11:31
“… the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:3
“… the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” 1Peter 1:3
“One God and Father of all…” Ephesians 4:6
Going back to Jeremiah 10:10, we can read it this way:
“But Jehovah is the true Elohim (- the only true God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, John 17:3 -) he is the living Elohim (- the living God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:16 -).
And here is some more confirmation. In 1Thessalonians 1:9, 10 the same distinction is made :
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
The Thessalonians turned from their idol worship to worship God, also named here “the living and true God.” And they were waiting for His Son. The living and true God has a Son. This means the living and true God is the Father of His Son. God is one person, not three. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Christ is not the true and living God but the Son of the true and living God.
Reader, we don’t have to be scholars of Hebrew in order to know how to use the word Elohim. We don’t have to accept what scholars teach just because they apparently know more about Hebrew than we do, especially when what they teach goes against what the Bible reveals. We only have to search for the Bible’s counsel ourselves, and listen to what it says. The Bible is the very word of God speaking to us, and God tells us exactly who He is. Jehovah is not the Trinity. Jehovah is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only true God. He is the living God. This is Elohim.
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1Corinthians 8:6