Imagine little boyJesus, seven or eight years old, running off to school. What was it like? Did he have to study hard or did he have a photographic memory? Did he have to learn everything or did he just know because he was God? Theologian Bruce Ware explores this question in his book The Man Christ Jesus. Ware asks the question like this: "Was his knowledge of the Bible automatic? Did he 'just know' all of it due to his being fully God?" His interest (and ours) in the question of Jesus' learning abilities isn't merely academic. There is an important truth for us and our lives. While we can't satisfy every curiosity, Scripture does tell us a little. The answer is in Luke 2:52 which says that Jesus "increased in wisdom." In his human nature he had to learn about nature, and biology, and yes, even Scripture. Here is Ware's answer to his question:
"Again, Luke's affirmations that Jesus increased in wisdom lead us to think this is not the right answer. Yes, he surely was God, and in his divine nature he knows the Scripture perfectly, since he knows all things perfectly. But if Jesus 'increased in wisdom,' then his knowledge was not out of his divine nature per se. Rather, his human nature had to acquire the knowledge and wisdom that he later evidenced, whether at the age of twelve or thirty.
"So again, how did Jesus acquire such knowledge and wisdom that even at the age of twelve he could converse with the most learned men of Israel? Here is what must be the core of our answer: Jesus was what might be thought of as the Psalm 1 prototype. He truly loved the love of the Lord and meditated upon it day and night. Because of this, he was like a tree planted by rivers of that that yields its fruit in season; its leaf did not wither, and in whatever he did he prospered. Out of his love for the law, he learned and mastered that law, and the Spirit within him illumined his mind and enflamed his heart to long to know it better and better as he grew.
"There is a reason why Psalm 1 is the first psalm of the Psalter. It not only describes the wise and the wicked as general categories of human beings; it describes in particular the Wise One, whose wisdom surpassed all others as we all others as he grew in wisdom through the power of the Spirit. The Spirit, then worked in the mind and the heart of the young boy Jesus to grant him a hunger for the Word of God and insight into that Word as he was taught and as he meditated upon it in quiet study and reflection" (pages 52-53).
Bruce Ware's point, which was also Luke's point, is that in his humanity Jesus had to learn the same way we did. That should encourage us to follow the example of Christ in our own meditation on Scripture. That means we have every tool available for us that Jesus had to become a Psalm 1 man.