Helping Those Who Question
Regard the curious as thirsty for living water.
Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.
Have you ever asked a question, only to get another question as an answer? It’s not that uncommon, and it doesn’t mean the other person is avoiding your question. Here’s an example:
“So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’” (Acts 8:30-31)
People ask questions for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they aren’t really asking for information—they either already think they know the answer or are raising a question as a cover for something. Here’s an example:
“But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:25–29)
Jesus answered this question with one of the greatest parables in the Bible: the story we call the “Good Samaritan.” Even though the young man’s goal was to “justify himself,” Jesus worked creatively to reach him.
It’s a good test of our walk with Jesus when we’re gracious with those who ask questions like he was. What are some ways we can do that?
Are all questions… even the not-so honest ones… opportunities?
The only way to avoid uncomfortable questions is to only associate with those who are certain they know all the answers. And this shows the value of questions. They imply the questioner is teachable. Both Peter (see 1 Peter 3:15, above) and Paul assumed believers would live lives that created opportunities to answer questions: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:5–6)
Will they come whether you’re ready or not?
Jesus actually made it clear that people would question us--and that it’s a good thing, a way for God to be glorified. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16) A believer’s nature is meant to be an invitation for questions. We can’t be hidden, even if we try. God meant it to be like that as a way for His purposes to be worked out. (See Philippians 2:12-16)
How did Jesus use questions?
Did Jesus Himself get tough questions? You bet. Did He always answer them directly? No; in fact, He often answered questions with questions his critics couldn’t answer. “Then some of the scribes answered, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’ For they no longer dared to ask him any question.” (Luke 20:39-40). Very often, Jesus’ challenging questions were for the benefit of the surrounding listeners as well as the questioner. Every time I read these exchanges it makes me want to grow in my ability to answer and ask good questions.
Helping others who question, then, is Christ-like, isn’t it? It’s an opportunity to help the teachable, a way to fulfill God’s purposes for us, and a chance to embrace conformity to the image of Jesus. The next time you are questioned, how will you make it an opportunity to bring truth and love to the questioner?
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You. Show me where fear and pride make me defensive and keep me from helping others who question.
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