We would all agree that God knows everything about everyone, so why does He ask so many questions? It would make more sense that He would just tell us what we need to know and that we would just listen. After all, He is the creator of the universe. However, from the beginning of time God asked intentional questions that caused our hearts to better know and love Him. In Genesis 3, God is walking through the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had just committed the first sin, and He walks up to them and begins to ask them a series of questions: “Where are you?” (v.9), “Who told you that you were naked?” (v.11), and “What have you done? “(v.13). I believe there’s great significance for God consistently asking questions to things for which He already knows the answer.
Job went before God to question why all these terrible things kept happening to him and God responded to him with a series of questions and answers. God asks over 70 questions in His response to Job. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding, who determined its measurements—surely you know!” (Job 38:4-5 [ESV]). The questions were meant to point Job to the realization that God is God. All of the questions asked were not for the sake of a “yes or no” answer, but for the much greater purpose of discovering Who God is.
Jesus asked 159 questions during the time of His earthly ministry. He sometimes came out and answered these questions, but the majority of the time He waited for a response. Robby Gallaty wrote, “Jesus often answered questions with further questions. He didn’t do this to avoid the question or to be a jerk; it was a way that he, as a trained rabbi, could better gauge the understanding and intention of his audience.” Frankly put, our minds are activated when we are asked questions. Intentional questions evoke critical thinking and discovery. It’s the way we are wired. Robby goes on to say that “This practice requires a deep grasp of not just the question asked, but the answer and its implications.”
Throughout the New Testament you find Jesus using questions when connecting with the crowds, challenging the Pharisees, or caring for the hurting, but what I find most interesting is the way He communicated with the disciples through intentional questions. Jesus was not solely interested in imparting knowledge so that the disciples would know what He knows; He wanted to equip His disciples to become disciple makers. We quickly become numb and stagnant to critical thinking when we are simply given the answers to everything and never expected to work to discover the answers for ourselves. Ed Stetzer writes, “Participants learn not by teachers presenting to them so much as by discovery. Bob Logan says, ‘The great teachers of the past—Jesus as the best example—have always used discovery learning principles.’”
A question I believe every pastor or church leader needs to ask is “Am I equipping and empowering those I shepherd to ask the right questions or am I always giving the answers?” Equipping the church to ask the right questions is not to make them lazy, but to instill confidence and to give them the tools they need to be disciple makers. When ordinary people are empowered with simple questions that cultivate community and accountability, and are focused on the study and obedience of God’s Word, then you will begin to see a radical move of God.
Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:
• REACT. Do something.
• RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
• REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.