Bible Question:

How did the followers of Jesus know about His childhood and what was said at His birth? Who told them to write it in the Bible?

Bible Answer:

There has been great interest recently in the childhood of Jesus . There are some “gospels” that Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church have rejected as being false . These gospels claim to tell us about Jesus’ childhood, but the early church fathers rejected them. They are to be rejected by us today too!

Four Gospels

The four gospels of the New Testament are accepted by the vast majority of Bible scholars as being inspired by God. But they do not tell us very much about Jesus as a baby or as a youth. Jesus’ disciples focused on his adult ministry. That is what was important to them. We are given very little other information.

Jesus’ Birth and ChildhoodPassage
Jesus’ genealogyMatt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38
Birth Announced to MaryLuke 1:26-38
Birth Announced to JosephMatt. 1:18-25
Birth of JesusLuke 2:1-7
Shepherds’ VisitLuke 2:8-20
Jesus circumcisedLuke 2:21
Jesus dedicatedLuke 2:22-38
Wise Men’s VisitMatt. 2:1-12
Trip to EgyptMatt. 2:13-18
Trip to NazarethMatt. 2:21-23; Luke 2:39
Jesus’ ChildhoodLuke 2:41-52

His Birth

What do we know about His birth? What did the disciples know about Jesus’ birth? We only know what is recorded in the Bible. The apostle Luke tells us how he found out.

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus . . . (NASB) Luke 1:1-3

He asked questions of many people. He carefully collected the information. The Holy Spirit guided the apostle and directed what he recorded.

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASB) 2 Peter 1:20-21

God did not let him make a mistake. God was in control of the things he wrote.

His Childhood

We know that many people knew His mother, father, brothers, and sisters. Jesus was not unknown. They knew Him as a person in the community.

And coming to His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.” (NASB) Matthew 13:54-57

When Jesus started performing miracles as an adult, they were surprised. This implies that Jesus did not perform any public miracles as a child. They really did not know Him as a child. They did not know Him as Mary did. They knew that Jesus’ father was a carpenter. They had thought that Jesus was just like them.

Unknown Childhood

But his mother knew that He could perform miracles. We discover this at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1-11). There Jesus’ mother asks Him to make wine for the guests. What miracles, if any, did He perform as a child? The answer is, “We do not know.” Scripture never tells us anything more about His childhood. Why? Because it is not important. It is not needed for us to understand that Jesus came to earth to die for our sins or that we might know He returned to life. It is not needed for us to believe in Jesus .

First Impressions

Our first impression of a person is often the opinion that we keep about him. That happened to Jesus. Rather than change their opinion, they rejected Him. That happens to many preachers, teachers, and others who are involved in ministry. Sometimes families do not appreciate the ministry the Lord has given to an individual. It can also be true of men and women within the church who do not have formal education. The same can be true of young people in the ministry.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. (NASB) 1 Timothy 4:12

Jesus was considered a young person at thirty years of age. Yet, He started His ministry at the age a young man would begin to serve as a priest.

Conclusion:

The gospels do not record everything that Jesus did during His ministry. It would be wonderful if it did, but then we might miss the message about who Jesus was. The apostle John summarizes the information about Jesus’ life with these words,

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written. (NASB) John 21:25