Can I Ask a Question?
I am truly thankful that we have a God who engages our questions. How do I know he engages our questions? The Bible tells me so. Consider books like Job, Psalms, and the Old Testament prophets - there is certainly no lack of questioning within their pages. Throughout scripture, we see God’s people cry out with questions and we see a God that answers.
Now think about the gospels specifically. How many times does Jesus addresses questions in his ministry?
- Jesus’ disciples repeatedly ask for explanations of the parables he tells, particularly the parables about God’s kingdom. Read Matthew 13:36 or Mark 4:10 for examples.
- The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus why his disciples do not fast like the other religious leaders in Matthew 9:14.
- Each time the religious leaders wanted to test Jesus, they asked questions designed to trap him. Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 or the Sadducees’ question about marriage in Mark 12:18-27.
- The rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life in Matthew 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-31. And the disciples even follow-up the young man’s question with another one of their own!
And these are just a few examples of the questions posed to Jesus in his ministry!
Why Questions Matter
Through every example of biblical questioning we have benefited because God engaged the question. We can study many parts of the Scripture to explore the role of questions, but studying examples from Jesus’ ministry are particularly helpful. Jesus may not have always given direct, black-and-white answers like we (and the original askers) might prefer, but every answer helps us learn more about the heart and will of God.
When we study Jesus’ ministry, we also learn that the motivation behind our questions matters. Some of the questions Jesus engaged were meant to be traps, some were speculative and some were life changing. The stories about religious leaders and their questions show us that God cannot be trapped. The disciples’ questions show us that God is eager to teach and have us know about him, his plan for salvation, and his kingdom. The story of the rich young man shows us that we need to be prepared for God’s answers with willing and open hearts -- because his answers may not be what we want or expect.
So ask God your questions. He has already demonstrated his willingness to engage and answer us. But at the same time, reflect and evaluate your motivation. By doing so, you have the opportunity to set aside your expectations and prepare your heart for an authentic conversation with God.
By Courtney Jacob