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Luke 2:52; KJV;

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Increasing in stature means that Jesus was of low stature with God, then He got high stature by the time. What does this mean?. Does this make a problem with the Divinity of Jesus the christ?

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  • @NigelJ excuse me, I get the expression: ...Kick in from the dictionary.
    – salah
    Jan 4 at 13:13
  • @NigelJ It may mean 'reduce' or 'lessen'. I want the equavalent of: ييقدح في
    – salah
    Jan 4 at 13:17
  • @NigelJ يقدح في isn't a slang.
    – salah
    Jan 4 at 13:20

4 Answers 4

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The operative word in Luke 2:52 is ἡλικία (hélikia) which can mean:

  • maturity of age as per Heb 11:11, John 9:21, 23, Eph 4:13
  • Chronological age, Matt 6:27, Luke 12:25
  • physical size as per Luke 19:3, ie, bodily stature.

BDAG provides all these possibilities as do most lexicons. In the context of Luke 2:52 which meaning is appropriate?

The simplest explanation is to allow the text to say that Jesus grew in all the aspects that a healthy person normally would be expected to grow, namely:

  • wisdom = intellectual/mental growth
  • stature = physical growth
  • favor of God = spiritual growth
  • favor of man = social growth

Most commentaries agree. Meyer's NT commentary has this:

ἡλικίᾳ not age (so Vulgate, Luther, Erasmus, and most expositors), which would furnish an intimation altogether superfluous, but growth, bodily size (Beza, Vatablus, Grotius, Er. Schmid, Bengel, Ewald, Bleek, and others). See on Matthew 6:27; Luke 19:3. Comp. ηὔξανε καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο, Luke 2:40. “Justam proceritatem nactus est ac decoram,” Bengel. Luke expresses His mental (σοφίᾳ) and bodily (ἡλικίᾳ) development.[64] In favour of this explanation we have also the evidence of 1 Sam. l.c.: ἐπορεύετο μεγαλυνόμενον, which element is here given by ἡλικίᾳ.

The Pulpit commentary has this:

The word in the original, Englished by "stature" some scholars translate by "age;" either rendering is permissible, but the word used in the English Version is better fitted for the context of the passage.

Gill has this:

and stature: the word signifies age also; and so the Vulgate Latin has rendered it: but that is not the meaning of it here, since it would have been entirely unnecessary to have observed, that he increased in age, which must be unavoidable: but the sense is, that as he increased in the wisdom and knowledge of his human soul, so he likewise increased in the stature of his body: and in favour with God and man: he appeared by the grace that was in him, and the gifts bestowed on him, to be high in the love and favour of God; and had a large share in the esteem and affections of all good men, who had the honour and happiness of knowing him, and of being acquainted with him.

Ellicott has this touching remark:

(52) Jesus increased in wisdom and stature.—Here again we have nothing but a normal orderly development. With Him, as with others, wisdom widened with the years, and came into His human soul through the same channels and by the same processes as into the souls of others—instruction, e.g., in the school of Nazareth, and attendance at its synagogue—the difference being that He, in every stage, attained the perfection of moral and spiritual wisdom which belongs to that stage; there being in Him no sin or selfishness or pride, such as checks the growth of wisdom in all others.

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The process of Jesus transitioning from the early days of his ministry beginning with his baptism and the gift of God's spirit, to his final breath, was an ever increasing burden of suffering, learning and humbling. This was necessary to prove him as Saviour, for he was not yet 'completed' when he began.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Heb 5:8

And being recognized as truly human, he humbled himself and even stooped to die; yes, to die on a cross. Phil 2:8

For it was fitting for Him (God), for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. Heb 2:10

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Yes, Jesus increased in stature, with God to guide him he was made ready only by his humble obedience and willingness to suffer, that he might be tested in all things.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15

The ultimate man in God's view is one who is upright, bold and forthright, righteous and wise - yet also humble and aware of his place under God. Jesus grew to be this man - he could stand tall without needing to stoop in feigned subservience. While his will often differed from God's will for him, he always submitted his will to align with God's - we know some occasions were particularly testing! So testing, that he feared for his life - to submit to temptation would disqualify him as Saviour and his promised eternal life waiting after his righteous death.

During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Heb 5:7

Without this proving and Jesus passing the grade, he could not be the Saviour that God needed. A man, willing to forsake everything of this world, even himself to God's bidding, and together, they could defeat evil in a way that the 1st Adam had failed. This is not a defeat of Jesus' power over evil, but God's IN him by faith and complete trust. This trust was earned - his stature and approval increased with God until he was ready to endure the final task without choosing his own will over God's.

I could leave this next bit out, but as the OP requests,

Does this make a problem with the divinity of Jesus the Christ?

If Jesus was God, or divine (as in being God) then the whole temptation and learning and obedience was a complete sham and a charade. This is not how God chose to defeat evil, but by preparing His son to do the task as the second Adam - a human as Adam was , as we all are.

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Heb 2:17

Being a God/man is not like us at all. So there is no problem with Jesus' divinity in his matter, for apart from being without sin and holy, he had none.

We too will share in the divine - as Jesus also did.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2Pet 1:4

In the few verses shown, Hebrews is filled with explaining this office Jesus fills as High Priest. The closing verses of Ch7

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens v26

... a son, who has been made perfect forever. v28

A son who was required to experience the depths of humanity's shame and suffering - who was innocent the whole time, is made perfect and exalted above the heavens. None of this speaks of a God/man, but a man only who served his God, and our God, with his whole life for all of us.

This exalted man at God's right side is the man who intercedes for all creation.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 1Tm 2:5

No wonder God expressed His delight in His unique and devoted human son,

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matt 3:17

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  • Wasn't He already merciful and faithful?!
    – salah
    Jan 5 at 4:45
  • There are degrees of faith - some have little faith, some have great faith. Jesus learned to have great faith/trust through suffering and becoming obedient unto death. My first paragraph sets out this matter. When do you mean 'already'? the testing of your faith produces perseverance.... James 1:3
    – steveowen
    Jan 5 at 4:52
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The expression in [Luke 2:52] is borrowed from [1 Samuel 2:26] : "And the youth Samuel grew [in stature] and favor both with YHVH and with people." (וְהַנַּ֣עַר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל הֹלֵ֥ךְ וְגָדֵ֖ל וָט֑וֹב ֤גַּם עִם־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְגַ֖ם עִם־אֲנָשִֽׁים)

To grow in stature with YHVH means : Increased Daat דַּעַת (Knowledge) of God's Dat דָּת (Law). - Increased Stature through knowledge and fair judgement of the Law (commanded in Deuteronomy 16:18) reflects one's close understanding of God's desires for His people.

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  • You are saying that the increase of Jesus' wisdom and stature was the effect of his increased knowledge of the tree of good and evil.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 4 at 17:17
  • @Nigel J what do you mean the tree of good and evil?
    – Rajesh
    Jan 5 at 3:19
  • @Rajesh From the words through knowledge and fair judgement of the Law .
    – Nigel J
    Jan 5 at 10:52
  • Yes, but why are you equating the tree with the law?
    – Rajesh
    Jan 5 at 16:56
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  • The Greek word in Luke 2:52 is ηλικια, whose range of meaning encompasses age, size, and (physical) maturity.

  • The text reads in favor with God and man, not in stature with God and man; one could, of course, in theory, distribute the latter expression for all three previous nouns, since doing so would not technically contradict the rules of grammar, but it would make little or no logical sense, in my opinion, since growing in favor with someone or earning favor with someone are consecrated expressions, whereas growing in wisdom or stature with someone are not.

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  • what does this mean: increasing in age, size, or {physical} maturity with God?
    – salah
    Jan 4 at 14:19
  • @salah: The text reads in favor with God and man, not in stature with God and man. One could, of course, in theory, distribute the latter expression for all three previous nouns, since doing so would not technically contradict the rules of grammar, but it would make little or no logical sense, in my opinion, since growing in favor with someone or earning favor from someone are consecrated expressions, but growing in wisdom or stature with someone are not.
    – Lucian
    Jan 4 at 15:47
  • 1
    @Lucian could you include your last post in your answer?
    – salah
    Jan 4 at 16:51
  • @MikeBorden: One needn't quote the entire text to state what a certain portion of it reads.
    – Lucian
    Jan 4 at 23:04
  • I see. OP must think the verse reads like wisdom, stature, and favor. Jan 5 at 13:17

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