I am funny this way I suppose. Perhaps nobody else has asked the question of how smart Jesus was.
It’ll be tough if not impossible for me to give an unbiased answer. After all I am a fan.
Still I came up with a list of 15 indicators of Jesus’ intelligence.
Blame it on the Gospel of Peter
I am teaching through the Gospel of Peter as recorded by Mark. Between chapters 6 and 7, there seems to be a transition from knowing Jesus by his power – miracles, to knowing him by his intelligence – confrontation with some Pharisees and scribes.
This confrontation was what led me to ask the question – How Smart Was Jesus? As in … I wonder if the Pharisees and the scribes knew what they were getting into.
15 Indications of How Smart Jesus Was
1. Changed the minds of many learned people of his time and as a result he ultimately helped define our modern civilization
2. Argued with the learned men of his day and silenced them with his rhetoric
3. Offered unique and ground breaking applications.
4. Attracted a large following during and after his life and after his life.
5. Drew the attention and fear of the powerful men of the day.
These first 5 could be said of men like Edison, Ford, Newton, Jobs …
6. Wrestled with Talmudic scholars, who were no dummies, at the age of 12.
7. Quoted Scripture from memory even during a month-long fast when He might have been near-delirious = incredible memory
8. Spoke at least four languages:
- Aramaic (his mother tongue)
- Hebrew (the language of the Scriptures)
- Greek (the language of the civilization)
- Latin (the language of the administration)
This language capability would not have been downloaded into him. He would have had to study like the rest of us mortals.
9. Introduced a new teaching method – metaphors/parables.
10. Expressed his thoughts clearly and verbally – explained spiritual concepts in physical terms
11. Got out of traps into which his enemies attempted to snare him.
12. Eagerly and effectively debated experts in the oral traditions as well.
This next one might be my favorite.
14. Managed to irritate everyone:
- Pharisees because of their hypocrisy
- Sadducees because of their doctrines
- Hellenized Jews because of his demeanor
- Zealots because of his willingness to collaborate with the Romans
- Romans because of his popularity
15. An astute psychologist
Lots of folks can do a lot from this list. But who else do we know that could do all of them?
I suppose there is someone/s somewhere. But they’d be consider quite smart as well.
What was Jesus’ IQ?
IQ is modern method of measuring the ability of someone to visual spacial relationships. Jesus created space.
IQ measures a person’s facility with words. Jesus created words and was the first to use them.
IQ measures a person’s grasp of physics. Jesus designed the body, decided how chemicals would interact. He decided on why things did what they do, not what they do (that, too).
IQ measures a person’s ability to make relational connections. Jesus created the neural networks we use to think.
Jesus’ IQ = infinity.
But then, Jesus was fully man, too. We are left to wonder how much of that infinite ability he set aside while he lived among us.
As for the Pharisees and scribes … they clearly did NOT know what they were getting into.