Brian J. Wright on How Asking Ourselves Questions Found in the Bible Can Transform Our Spiritual Life

Have you ever been around a child who did not stop asking questions? Do you recall doing the same thing when you were young?

Even as adults, much of our day is still spent asking others for information—soliciting feedback on a project, for example, or requesting status updates on an event. We probably spend even more time each week with those closest to us enquiring about work, school, marriage, parenting, leadership, time management, and the direction of our lives. But have you ever paused to consider asking inspired questions?

What are Inspired Questions?

Inspired questions are the ones found in the inspired Word of God—the Holy Scriptures. They help us sense the presence of God in our life and empower us to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s moving. They reveal our hearts in ways other questions cannot. They help us discern God’s calling on our lives. They drive us deeper into our own reading of the Holy Scriptures. They are a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking key information in the Bible. They persuade us toward a godly direction. Indeed, they are for everyone who lives on this planet for the simple fact that God’s Word is for everyone. The fact that the Spirit inspired them means we are meant to ask and consider them as well.

Yet in the age of secular counseling, and now question-centered therapy, inspired questions have largely been set aside. Even though they are among the most effective and time-tested ways to help us diagnose our spiritual condition, strengthen our walks with God, and foster our journey with others, many Christians don’t understand what they mean for our spiritual growth. Maybe now is the time to notice and note the question-driven nature of the Bible. Perhaps we should start allowing God to lead us in the question asking.

Four Ways to Utilize Inspired Questions

A substantial portion of our Bible is questions, and asking questions was a primary teaching method of Jesus. To put this in perspective, the Book of Proverbs has approximately 930 sayings, while the New Testament alone contains about 980 questions. That means, you could ask yourself a new question from Scripture every day for the next two and a half years and never see the exact same one—even if you limited yourself to just the questions in the New Testament.

Now it is important to note upfront that we must understand each inspired question in its inspired context. Otherwise, we might mistakenly give a generic answer to what looks like a generic question. For instance, in Mark 10:3, when Jesus says, “What did Moses command you?” Jesus isn’t asking the religious leaders to think about any or all of Moses’ commands, but specifically about his command concerning divorce. Therefore, we shouldn’t ask this inspired question and then meditate on God’s law against coveting, even if that would be spiritually beneficial to do.

A second issue we might face is giving a completely wrong meaning to a text because we didn’t look at the inspired question in context. For example, in Matthew 6:25, Jesus asks, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” It would be possible for someone to get the idea that God was unconcerned about what we eat and what we wear. But just the opposite is true. Our heavenly Father is intimately concerned about these things. The point of the question is that we are often more concerned about material things than we are about the kingdom of heaven and whether we are living righteous lives. God still wants us to have food and clothing, but living in a world that preoccupies itself with them can easily rub off on us, even to the point of addiction.

For some of us, wrestling with the question in its context comes as no surprise. For others, this careful reading might require you to ask a more mature believer for prayer and guidance. You may need to reach out to a local pastor, or grab a reliable commentary or devotional, for assistance. The good news is that help is available, and learning how to study, interpret, and apply the Bible becomes easier over time as you do it both individually and communally.

With that in mind, here are four ways to utilize inspired questions for the sake of your spiritual formation and the spiritual formation of your community.

1. Start with yourself.

Pause for a moment and remember that someone in the Scriptures heard each question you read in the Scriptures. Many of the questions were ones Jesus himself heard or asked. Now you—the 21st century listener—can hear the same ones when you encounter them during your time alone with God.

Start by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and listen to the questions they heard or asked. Imagine what it was like for some people in Simon the leper’s house to hear Jesus ask them, “Why do you trouble her?” (Mark 14:6). Or think about what it would have been like for Peter, who just openly denied being one of Jesus’s disciples, to hear the resurrected Jesus ask him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” (John 21:17).

Then direct the questions to yourself like the godly saints in Scripture did. Consider this question that the Psalmist asked himself: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Ps. 42:5). Or recall how each disciple, “one after another,” asked this question after hearing that someone would betray Jesus, “Is it I?” (Mark 14:19). They did not start by looking around, pointing fingers, or questioning others. They first examined themselves with a question that you too would do well to use for your own spiritual growth.

Don’t be afraid to ask the exact same questions that the people in Scripture did. When Habakkuk was struggling with his surrounding circumstances, wondering why so much evil was going on around him, he cried out to God with questions. He spent time alone with God, asking questions that are now included in the inspired Word of God for your use and instruction (Rom 15:4).

2. Enjoy them with friends and family.

Whether it is with your parents, roommates, siblings, friends, or kids, discuss inspired questions as part of your daily conversations, mealtime fellowship, or family worship. Put a handful of them into a bowl or jar, for example, and then over the meal discuss the question someone picks.

The good news is that you don’t need to make up your own questions. You don’t need to be creative here. Simply allow God’s Word to lead in the question-asking. Let the inspired questions be the icebreakers. Let them become the launching pad into the type of conversations that leave your souls most satisfied.

Indeed, the best questions are inspired questions. Their home is already the Bible, where they are nurtured. They move us from being passive observers to being active participants. And Bible questions point us to Bible answers.

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Source: Christianity Today