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Jesus Learned God’s Word

J. Dan Gill

Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not my own. It is his who sent me” ( John 7:16).

God receives his word from no one. It is the expression of his own mind. Jesus, on the other hand, receives his word from God. If we are to believe Jesus, he did not of himself have great knowledge and understanding. Rather, his wisdom was derived. As a true human being, he was taught the word directly by God. Luke picks up on this when he writes about Jesus growing in wisdom as a young man:

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).

Jesus never says that before he was born, he had been a person called the “Word.” Neither Jesus nor John ever says that an ancient or eternal being known as the “Word” somehow came into Mary’s womb and became a human being. Rather, Jesus received the word after he was born. He was taught by God from his youth.[1]

Jesus is called “The Word of God” because God’s word was supremely made known to him — and then to all of humanity by him. He himself makes that clear when he speaks of his relationship to God’s word. Even his teachings were not his own. They were the Father’s:

  • I do nothing on my own, but I speak only what the Father has taught me ( John 8:28).
  • I have not spoken on my own. The Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it ( John 12:49).
  • The word you hear is not my own, but the Father’s who sent me ( John 14:24).
  • Father … the words which you gave to me I have given to them ( John 17:8).

Jesus had to be taught by God. What kind of a “person” who is in and of himself the “Word” has to be taught “what to say and how to say it”? It eluded post-biblical Gentile Christians that their supposed ancient or eternal “person” called the “Word” was of “himself ” totally lacking in any unique understanding and wisdom. If Jesus is fully divine, and as such omniscient, he would speak for himself. It would be pointless for the Father to try to teach an essentially all-knowing being.

By his own testimony, Jesus’ life and experiences do not correspond to the idea that he was an ancient or eternal person who had extraordinary knowledge and was wise enough to create the world. By Jesus’ own testimony, God’s word and wisdom came to him as God taught him. Again, he states:

I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will ( John 5:30, NLT).

What kind of a “person” who is in and of
“himself ” the “Word” has to be taught “what
to say and how to say it”? ( John 12:49).

Gill, J. Dan (2016). Let Jesus Decide. In, The One: In Defense of God (pp. 136-138). Nashville, TN: 21st Century Reformation Publishing.


[1] Nor is the young Jesus portrayed as regaining knowledge that he supposedly had in eternity before an incarnation. (That is the bizarre notion of some Trinitarian kenosis theorists.) The reader of Luke rightly infers that Jesus is learning all of these things for the first time.

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