What Questions Do That Answers Don’t

Leave a comment

intense-listening

“If there is a God who knows everything,” Collette Gary asked, “why does he ask questions?” Since God knows everything, they certainly are not for his own knowledge. What is it God knows questions do, that answers often don’t? 

In the Bible God asks a lot of questions. There are over 3,000 questions in the Bible and the majority of them are asked by God.

  • The first four things God said to Adam and Eve, after they disobeyed, were all questions. (Genesis 3:9-13)
  • The longest list of questions in the Bible was God’s response to the suffering of Job. (Job 38-39)
  • Jonah is the only book in the Bible that ends with a question. (Jonah 4:11) Any guesses who asked it?

So what is it that God knows questions do, that stating facts, or just explaining steps a person must take, doesn’t?

Questions make us think. They engage the mind. God wants to create engagement with what matters most. Questions invite us to get involved.

The better we get at engaging ourselves and others with profound questions and awakening the imagination to get involved, the more similar we are to approaching situations like God.

Question:
What is a situation where you can insert a question instead of an answer?

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015

What Questions Do That Answers Don’t

Leave a comment

asking-the-right-question

“If there is God who knows everything,” Collette Gary asked, “why does he ask questions?” They are certainly not for himself. So what is it that God knows questions do that answers don’t. He certainly used them often. There are over 3,000 questions in the Bible and the majority of them are asked by God.

If someone had just ruined something you worked really hard to make or spoiled plans you spent a lot of time preparing, how would you respond? That’s what God faced after Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden. But did you know the first four things God said were all questions? (Genesis 3:9-13)

If someone you knew had been going through terrible pain and loss, for no fault of his own, and was looking for answers to his experience, how would you respond? God responded in this kind of situation with Job by asking questions. The longest list of questions in the Bible was God’s response to the suffering of Job. (Job 38-39)

Jonah was an awful missionary. The man had deep anger issues. He had no respect for his calling. He openly hated the people God asked him to minister to. He had no passion for his work. His main concern was his own comfort. His story is the only book in the Bible that ends with a question. It is a question that God asked. We know the question worked because the only reason we have the account of Jonah is because God broke through to Jonah and he was willing to disclose his self-condemning story.

So what is it that God knows questions do that doesn’t happen by simply unfolding the facts and necessary steps that a person must take?

Questions make us think. They engage the mind. In contrast, imperative statements are embedded conclusions. The next step has already been decided. The subject really isn’t involved, or at least given a choice. But God wants us involved. Questions invite us to get involved.

The better we get at engaging others and awakening the imagination to get involved, the closer we are to relating to others the way God relates to us.

Title Signature

When an Answer May Not Be the Best Answer

Leave a comment

ask-the-right-question

Of the 183 questions that Jesus was asked in the Gospels, He only answered three of them directly. The others, according to Dr. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, Jesus answered by asking another question or telling a story or parable. Jesus understood the power of questions to get people thinking in new ways. Sometimes it’s a victory just to get people to think.

But no one asked more questions than Jesus. By one account, He asked 307! Someone has said if ever there was a person who had all the answers it was Jesus. Yet he rarely gave them at first. Jesus knew the power of a question to force a person to think, look at truth (i.e. reality) in a fresh way, and often themselves for the first time.

And he knew when to keep asking questions. I think of the episode with Peter in John 21. Jesus asked Peter the same question three times. This is ninja questioning. I would not recommend trying this with your boss or wife. Jesus understood the power of that question to help Peter surface what was really happening in his heart.

It is so tempting to give people the answer. Especially when we know the answer! Not knowing the answer usually doesn’t stop us either. We are helpless tellers. Sometimes an answer may not be the best answer. Energy may be better spent, figuring out how to ask the right question.

Title Signature