October 06, 2014
By: Clay Perkins
President, Mid-Atlantic Christian University
“Why are you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
(Jesus) Luke 2:49 (NIV)
He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?”
(Jesus) Luke 24:38 (NIV)
It has always amazed me that Jesus asked a lot questions. He often answered questions with a question. Why did he not just give a straight and simple answer? Would that have been better? Certainly, a clear answer, and not a question, would have given better clarity.
The scriptures quoted above are two instances when Jesus answered a question with a question from the Gospel of Luke. In the first example, Jesus was answering his parents, who were likely quite annoyed with him since he had just caused them to be very anxious. Rather than answering their appropriate question, Jesus asked them a couple of questions. The second example occurred when Jesus’ disciples were likely speechless. They were confused, startled, scared, and were thinking, “Is this a ghost?” They were not quite sure what to think or what to ask. So, what did Jesus do? He asked them a couple of questions.
Even when Jesus was asked the age-old question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, he seems to dodge the question. Jesus responded to the wealthy man’s question by asking him a question, “Why do you call me good?” (see Luke 18:18-30). Come on, Jesus, just answer the question. Please.
It has taken me decades to understand this simple reality modeled by the Master Teacher. Maybe it will not take you as long to accept this pedagogical axiom: Questions are often better than statements. Why? Questions will cause people to think. Statements cause people to agree or disagree.
I hate to admit it, but maybe I liked statements better than questions for years because I thought I knew something. I thought I had something to say. Maybe I just liked to hear myself talk. Or maybe I thought I was helping others to learn about God with my statements. In contrast, Jesus helped people learn about His father not only with statements, but also with lots of questions.
The truth is our God wants us to think. God calls us to come and reason together (See Isaiah 1:18), to ponder, to consider life, death, and life after death. He calls us to contemplate war and peace. God welcomes questions on pain and pleasure.
So, if you want to be a more effective teacher of the Bible, shouldn’t you ask more questions? Do you want to help your employees to do their very best? Do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up to be good and to make wise choices? Why not follow the Master Teacher and ask more questions?
This article first appeared in The Daily Advance and The Daily Advance owns the copyright for this article. Contact Publisher Michael Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reprint.