Was Jesus Literate?

Sure, Jesus was literate! How do we know?

It was on a Sabbath day; Jesus was in the synagogue and he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. We know that Jesus knew how to read because in Luke 4:16-19, he “found the place where it is written” and he read that passage out. He would not have been able to find that passage in the scroll if he did not know how to read and of course, he could not have read it aloud either if he could not read!

We also see that Jesus knew how to write because in Jn 8:6b, 8 Jesus wrote on the ground. We do not know what he wrote but the accusers melted away leaving only the accused woman.

Thus, from passages such as these, and other passages where Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, we infer that Jesus was literate.

The point I’m trying to make here though, isn’t only about whether Jesus was literate or not. The point is that we should exercise inference skills when we read or study the Bible. So, rather than merely looking for clear-cut religious rules, we should look for implied information and observable clues, so that we draw logical conclusions that help us know God better. In other words, we connect the dots to see a clearer picture! As an upside, the more we become familiar with the Bible, the more dots there are to connect and the clearer pictures become!

Inference can be tricky though. In the past, some inferred that slavery was biblically justified! But just because some got it wrong, doesn’t mean that we should never ever infer. It only means that we hone the skill, be humble to learn and lean on God for wisdom as we do so.


This message is prepared by Pastor Mok Kok Hoong on 20 Jan 2021.


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