Philippians 2:8; KJV;

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Hebrews 5:8,9; KJV;

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Was Jesus obedient unto death, i.e: all His earthly life?, Or was He obedient because He suffered?, I.e He was disobedient, then He learnt obedience from what He suffered?

2 Answers 2


Premise 1: Jesus was (and remains) sinless.

Premise 2: Jesus took the form of a servant, ultimately becoming sin for us. (2Cor 5:21)

The mystery of the Hypostatic Union is that Jesus was very God, and at the same time (once incarnated) was truly man. Could God sin? Never! Could the sin-bearer and high priest not be truly man? No! (Heb 1:1-3; 2:16-18) We read the child Jesus "advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) Growth was needed for him as it is for any child.

Now for your question. There are two types of discipline: Corrective; and Formative. Corrective discipline is intended to improve bad behavior, redirect errant thoughts, punish intentional disobedience, etc. Formative discipline is intended to mold and improve character; to mature an individual; to secure heartfelt obedience and allegiance, even though there was no underlying sin. Earthly fathers and our heavenly Father do the same (Heb 12:6-11). There is a purpose behind this chastening: the improvement, stability, and peace of their children. In Jesus' case, the awful burden of sin-bearing had to be accepted by him, even when the temptation to have that cup pass was real. Note: being tempted is not sin by itself, but to resist temptation is to suffer! (Heb 2:18; 4:15)

During His earthly ministry, Christ knew his destiny was the cross (Matt 20:28), but he had to suffer in order to be able to give himself willingly to being punished for others' sin (Heb 5:8). In so doing he was the more loved by the Father. (John 10:17-18)

To conclude, the answer to your question is this: Formative discipline (not due to sin) and its suffering did galvanize the human will of Jesus Christ to accept the Father's will and become the sacrifice for sin.

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    – agarza
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 21:53

To best answer your question we must first recognize that Jesus never sinned: 1 Peter 2:21-22. So no, Jesus was never disobedient.

The 2 passages of Scripture you mentioned are not contradictory but complimentary:

1.) Jesus learned obedience through suffering (meaning that suffering acted as a means to learn proper obedience to His Father and the Law). Jesus came to fulfill both of those purposes in terms of obedience as a Man. {John 5:30, John 4:34}

We read that Jesus' obedience in all things lead to "many being made righteous":

"For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

2.) Jesus learned obedience unto death in that He never stopped obeying His Father and fulfilling all righteousness.

Jesus had to do certain things in the Law to fulfill them in our place:

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him." (Matthew 3:13-15)

3.) By extension, Jesus had to obey or fulfill certain tasks and prophecies in the Law and the Scriptures in order to learn such obedience:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." (Matthew 5:17-18)

Again, Jesus demonstrates obedience to His Father and to the fulfillments of the Law in our place by fulfilling prophecy:

Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

He had to learn obedience as a Man (Luke 2:52)

So to answer you plainly, He did both principles of obedience in Philippians 2:8, and Hebrews 5:8-9.

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