Hebrews 2:10—If Jesus was already perfect, how could He be made perfect through suffering?

Problem: The Bible declares that Jesus was absolutely perfect and without sin, even in His human nature (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 3:18; 1 John 3:3). But according to this verse, Jesus was made “perfect through sufferings.” But to be made perfect implies that He was not perfect to begin with, which is a contradiction.

Solution: Jesus was absolutely and unchangeably perfect in His divine nature. God is perfect (Matt. 5:48), and He cannot change (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:18). But Jesus was also human, and as such was subject to change, though without sin. For example, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52). If his knowledge as a man increased, then his experience also did. Thus, He “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8). In this sense He was “made perfect” in that He experienced the perfecting work of suffering in His own sinless life (cf. Job 23:10; Heb. 12:11; James 1:2–4). That is, He gained all the experiential benefits of suffering without sinning (Heb. 4:15). In this way He can be of real comfort and encouragement to those who suffer.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.