Home > Content Index > Theology > Theology of the Trinity > Perichoresis

What is perichoresis?

Question: "What is perichoresis?"

The word perichoresis comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around,” and chorein, which means “to give way” or “to make room.” It could be translated “rotation” or “a going around.” Perichoresis is not found in the Greek New Testament but is a theological term used in three different contexts. In the first, perichoresis refers to the two natures of Christ in perfect union within the same Person. In the second context, perichoresis refers to the omnipresence of God as He “intersects” with all creation (see Acts 17:28). In the third context, it refers to the mutual intersecting or “interpenetration” of the three Persons of the Godhead and may help clarify the concept of the Trinity. It is a term that expresses intimacy and reciprocity among the Persons of the Godhead. A synonym for perichoresis is circumincession.

Perichoresis is seen in Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” We compare this with John 16:14, in which Jesus says that the Holy Spirit “will glorify me.” So, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Father, and the Father glorifies the Son. The loving relationships within the Trinity result in the Persons of the Godhead giving glory to one another.

Perichoresis is the fellowship of three co-equal Persons perfectly embraced in love and harmony and expressing an intimacy that no one can humanly comprehend. The Father sends the Son (John 3:16), and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and was sent by the Son (John 15:26)—another example of perichoresis, with the result that God’s people are blessed.

There is nothing that separates the Persons of the Trinity or interrupts the mysterious interchange of perichoresis. It can be imagined as a Venn diagram showing three circles intersecting in the center with each circle intersecting the others perfectly and multi-dimensionally, as they rotate about a common center of divine love.

Recommended Resource: Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions by Millard Erickson and The Forgotten Trinity by James White

More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!

Related Topics:

What is theosis?

What is the Godhead?

Will we be able to see all three members of the Trinity in Heaven?

What is the filioque clause / filioque controversy?

What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?

Return to:

Questions about Theology

What is perichoresis?

Share this page on:

Find Out How to...

Statement of Faith
The Gospel
Crucial Questions
Content Index
Top 20 Questions

Question of the Week

Preferred Bible Version:


Subscribe to our Question of the Week

Get our Questions of the Week delivered right to your inbox!