As a junior in college, I was hit with a number of thought-provoking questions I’d never considered before as a non-Christian. On many occasions, I wished I’d been asked them earlier in my life instead of enduring the bad decisions, broken relationships, and pain I’d already experienced.
Those penetrating, life-changing questions weren’t the result of someone’s wit. No, all the questions that pierced my soul that year came directly from God’s Word after a teammate challenged me to read the Bible for the first time. Before long, I realized what a blessing it was that all Christians had the same IQ—that is, “inspired questions”—as me.
You can’t get to right answers until you have the right questions—and the greatest questions ever asked are inspired ones. The Bible alone stands as the source and storehouse of inspired questions. It asks questions we could never ask ourselves.
Indeed, a substantial portion of our Bible is questions, and asking questions was a primary teaching method of Jesus. To put this in perspective, Proverbs has approximately 930 sayings, and the New Testament contains about 980 questions.
You can’t get to the right answers until you have the right questions—and the greatest questions ever asked are inspired ones.
Of course, we find inspired questions throughout the whole Bible, not just in the New Testament. Satan approaches Eve with a question in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1). When the angel of the Lord first appears in the Bible, he asks a question (Gen. 16:8). When the witch of Endor conjures up Samuel from the dead, he immediately asks Saul questions (1 Sam. 28:15–16). When God finally speaks to Job, he addresses him with questions (Job 38–41). When the angel Gabriel appears in the Book of Daniel, he begins with a question (Dan. 8:13).
The importance of inspired questions is unquestionable.
Importance of Inspired Questions
Just as a doctor asks questions to diagnose our disease, God’s Word contains hundreds of X-ray-like questions for our soul. They can help us determine our spiritual state—urging us to change our focus, reorder our affections, and reprioritize our loves. They compel us to love God more fervently and selflessly, while weaning our hearts off the lies and lures of this world. They enable us to cope with adversity, demolish strongholds, and achieve what would otherwise be impossible—all through the gift of biblical wisdom. Inspired questions reveal our hearts in ways other methods cannot.
Through both personal experience and pastoral counseling, I can testify that meditating on inspired questions has radically changed my life and ministry. My marriage has been enhanced because of them, such as the ones posed in James 4:1. I’ve been able to handle more effectively several major issues in my church after wrestling with questions like Galatians 4:16. My counseling has benefited from questions like the one found in Luke 12:25. Indeed, there are many others: witnessing and missions via Romans 10:14; communion via 1 Corinthians 10:16; and parenting via Hebrews 12:7.
Inspired questions compel us to think through the implications ourselves. They coax us to slow down.
Granted, the questions are never just about finding answers. They’re always about advancing our understanding and strengthening our walk with the Lord and others. They draw our attention to God’s Son and to God’s work in this world. Biblical questions are designed to compel us to do more than just read them.
In other words, instead of just providing us with quick take-it-or-leave-it answers, inspired questions compel us to think through the implications ourselves. They coax us to slow down. We all too often forget how easily we can derail from the right path of life.
Ways to Engage Inspired Questions
For some of you, reading one inspired question a day as part of your time alone with God will work best. Others should consider interacting with the questions communally—discuss them as part of family worship or Bible studies with your church community. Still others may go through them with someone you’re discipling or with a person wrestling with the Christian faith—recalling that Jesus himself used many of these questions to engage others.
Whatever you decide, after you read each one, reflect. Sit there and ponder until it addresses you personally. Seek God, not the answer. For if you seek God, in accordance with his Word and by the guidance of his Spirit, you will discover the truth as it applies to you.
After you read and reflect, respond. Face the inspired questions with absolute honesty. Each one is for you, not just for the church and others.
Perhaps you might wish to journal as well. Consider one or more of these interactive ways to engage each question:
- Paraphrase your understanding of the question(s) and reflect briefly.
- Write one or two sentences on how you plan on applying it to your life.
- Describe how someone you admire has applied the truth you gleaned.
- Note what it means for your community and the body of Christ.
- Write two lines of poetry based on the question.
- Jot down what fruit of the Spirit is being displayed.
- List an attribute of God that comes to mind and what that attribute means to you.
- Summarize how it connects to your life and awakens you to the needs of others.
Amid all this, pray. Pray before, during, and after each inspired question. Spiritual growth is a spiritual matter. So pray that God makes this journey rich and that each day you will walk away from the time never quite being the same.
For the fruit of wrestling with these inspired questions will only come by living out the truths gleaned from them.
This is an adapted excerpt from Inspired Questions: A Year’s Journey Through the New Testament (Christian Focus, 2019).